when to move outdoors

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EasterEggDrew, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. EasterEggDrew

    EasterEggDrew Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Purchased four pullets (one each barred rock, light brahma, buff brahma, easter egger) exactly one month ago. They're getting big, and feathering out. Too big, I think, for our large rubbermaid tub brooder in the basement.

    Watching the weather, and the evenings are starting to get cooler, now. So, the longer I wait to move them out, the more dramatic the shock of their first evening may be. Evenings are 46F to 54F, the remainder of this week.

    What to do? I could leave the coop in my shop, where I have full heating and air conditioning, and move them to the coop. That might get them used to the coop, before moving it outdoors. Unfortunately, the shop does stink of paint and solvent, and I make quite a bit of noise out there in the evenings.

    I feel like I shouldn't wait another two weeks to move them outdoors, at the normal 6-week mark, as it will be getting even cooler in the evenings then. I also have a brooder space problem to resolve, if I continue keeping them in the basement.

    Advice?
     
  2. babsi

    babsi Out Of The Brooder

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    Same here. Mine are five weeks old and need to go. 55 at night. Four chicks and one of them is a silkie. I was going to post the same question. We finished the coop today and they are expert water spillers and they seem to rumble a lot this week. I'm thinking its time to rip that bandaid off
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Not sure if you have power to your coop, but if you do, then you may find reading the "Momma Heating Pad (picture heavy)" thread. Its very informative and seems to me like a great way to raise chicks, assuming you have power. A brooding heating pad (i.e. those commercially available from the likes of Brinsea, for example) would also be another option. I also read the other day about a method requiring no heat - can't recall the precise name, but if you type "no heat brooders" in the search box, something might pop up.

    Good luck to you both

    CT

    It was bugging me, so i found it. Its called the "Wool Hen" - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...lamp-and-possibly-no-supplemental-heat-at-all

    This search may also help - https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=Brooder+to+coop
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    At four and five weeks old, chicks are usually pretty close to being able to do without heat. I would move them into the coop and let them have access to their runs. By this age, if chicks feel chilled, simply huddling together is sufficient.

    I've found that plopping a fuzzy cat napping pod into the coop in a corner is an inviting place for chicks to all huddle together to sleep. If your evenings are under 70F, you could also include a huddle box and place the pod in the box to help conserve body heat. None of this requires electricity.

    By getting on the ball and moving the chicks now, as opposed to later, you will be enabling them to acclimatize to cooling fall temps and going into winter, the chicks will be fully able to deal with cold temps by then.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I've learned that that arbitrary time-line for doing this for the chicks and that for the chicks is, well, a lot of hogwash. Yep, I said it. I start my chicks outdoors. Even those I hatched in the incubator went outside once they were dry and fluffy and I knew they understood the concept of eating, drinking, and where to find heat. Their brooder pen (a wire pen) is out in the run and they are surrounded by older birds from the start. I've had chicks out there less than a week old when temps dropped into the teens and twenties, with sideways blowing snow. I feel the same way about written-in-stone instructions for precise temperatures from week one up until they are practically laying eggs in the brooder.

    I don't use a heat lamp, either. Nasty, dangerous things. I use Mama Heating Pad, and the chicks I've raised this way have absolutely exceeded all expectations. @azygous also broods outdoors, as do many, many others. Since yours are already older, and you need to figure out how to get them acclimated to cooler surroundings, and I think to do that successfully you need to start by not worrying so much about that "normal 6 week mark". You've gotten them this far so you've obviously been doing lots of things right. If they are well feathered, they can go out, and now is as good a time as any - the days aren't going to get any longer and the temps aren't going to get much warmer. One of the other things I prefer about brooding outdoors in the run with a heating pad rather than a light is that they are acclimated to natural day/night cycles from the start, but you may experience some panic from them the first few days they are out. Tough love. They'll forgive you, I promise! @azygous gave you excellent advice and @CTKen provided some interesting links. There are also links to brooding with a heating pad (for next time- tee hee) and brooding chicks outdoors below in my signature. Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. babsi

    babsi Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for taking the time to answer! I kicked them out and they are now in the coop. They loved their first time in the dirt and I'm sure that God has provided them all they need to survive. I just had to hear it from someone else.
     
  7. aim0474

    aim0474 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for this post! I have 3 chicks and 2 of them are getting large and have most of their feathers. The 3rd is just started getting her tail feathers. I have had them almost 6 weeks and this week is the perfect weather wise. They spend the day in the run but I am worried about the little one getting cold at nightnand I wasnt sure wgat to do with them.
     
  8. aim0474

    aim0474 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hijack this post.

    I was just looking at our overnight Temps for next week and it will be in the high 20s and 30s.

    If I move the ladies outside should I put something like this in for the little one since she is still mostly fluff even at almost 6 weeks?

    I can certainly put a thick bedding in the small coop and they already know how to cuddle while roosting at night. But I am so worried about her not having much in the way of feathers.

    http://www.wayfair.com/KandH-Manufacturing-Thermo-Peep-Heated-Pad-2160-KHM1350.html
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Here's the thing about chickens and cold. As long as they have feathers covering their backs, sides and breast, they can handle cold. However, abrupt exposure to temperature changes is what gets chickens into trouble. They benefit from gradual acclimatizing.

    The most convenient way to do this with baby chicks is to take them outdoors on day trips to their run several days to a week before you move them into the coop to sleep.

    Your youngest chick sounds to be around three weeks old. That's a bit on the young side for being thrust outdoors without heat on nights that may crowd the freezing mark. Here's a nifty way to solve the heat problem as long as you have a way to get electricity to the coop.

    I've found that a cozy little cat bed is the perfect way to transition chicks from brooder to coop. Chicks really take right to the nest shaped cat bed and they will cuddle up together and probably be all the heat the youngest one needs. But I would stick a heating pad under the cat bed turned to medium. Make sure it will stay on all night and not blink off automatically after two hours. (When they make a device that over-rides my decision ability, I get pretty indignant. )

    I'm all for moving chicks into the coop as early as possible. The benefits to living outdoors while still developing are numerous, one being optimal acclimatizing to changing temperatures, handling them with ease. You can read about all the benefits in my article on the subject linked below my post.
     
  10. aim0474

    aim0474 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the suggestions. The youngest is actually 6 weeks old. It is strange that she doesn't have more of her big girl feathers. I notice since she has been spending time in the run during the day her feathers have really started growing in better.
     

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