when to put chicks outside?


12 Years
Oct 16, 2010
HI! I am new to urban chickens, but am learning as i go. We got a late start i think and need some advice on the best way to progress. We live in wisconsin and it is an indian summer, but the temp dips to 35-40 at nite, maybe 65 during the day. I have 3 week old wyandotte's that are getting big in the house and was wondering when and how to put them out in the coop. any suggestions or ideas?
I am in Mass and put my chicks in the coop when they were 3 weeks. We are 60's daytime and 20-30's nighttime lately. I put the red brooder lamp in the coop about 24 inches off the floor. They run around and go under the lamp when they need to. They are now 4 1/2 weeks and doing great.
I kept the Red (250 watt) lamp on until week 4. At that time, i "wean" them to a 150 watt, white heat lamp bulb. At 5-6 weeks, their feathers should be pretty substantial. I move my chicks out of their brooder, a 5 x 8 boxed utility trailer, into their new home, the coop.

They seem just fine and we've had lows around 30. They warm each other, it seems. They aren't going to have heat this winter, but as their litter gets deeper and they get larger, there will be much more heat generated and their feathers will be mature and fluffy. I only keep breeds such as Rocks, Rhode Island Red and New Hampshires, all of which do well in the cold.
I put my chickens out at three weeks and they seem to have absolutely loved it. They love being chickens. They were mostly feathered around 4 weeks. I would probably consider the heat lamp in order to wean them off the artificial heat but be careful not to let them get to it or to knock it down. I have pine shavings in my coop and the girls still nestle up together on the floor in the shavings at night. They are 8 weeks old tomorrow and are doing great. If they were brooded by their mother they would have to toughen up a lot quicker then we let them by brooding them inside. Just make sure there are no drafts, plenty of shavings and they should do fine and in a couple more weeks you will wonder where your babies went!

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