When to put them in the coop?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rdmom, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. rdmom

    rdmom Just Hatched

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    Hello all you people with more experience than me (which is, probably.....everyone) ;).

    We've got 7 sweet babies that are feathering fast and becoming excellent escape artists. They are currently 5 weeks old tomorrow and only one of them (a red sex link) is still fuzzy. most have a decent amount of feathers in. Seeing as how I live in TEXAS I wasn't too worried about this stage of the game as we finished our coop before they even arrived and its always hot here until freaking december. But of course the week I had planned to move them out to their coop is rainy and cold (for us) and hovering between 54-60's at night. So now I'm unsure. We have sand in the coop (not the warmest thing ever) and it's still kind of humid. During the day temps range anywhere from 70-88 in the forecast with lows of 54-65. Can they go out or will it be too cold at night?

    Am I over thinking this? Im as much concerned that they'l escape and get stuck somewhere at night and not be able to get to food/water (it's already happened once during the day and thankfully my son heard the racket and we rescued her).I don't really have heat lamp capacity in the coop nor a desire to add it for the 5 days a year it drops below 40 around here :) Should I wait another week until 6 weeks or will they be fine and i'm making this chicken thing too complicated newbie style? I'd rather be safe than sorry as I really don't want to loose anybody to a dumb decision right off the bat... although Im sure we'll hit that point at some time in the near future on this learning curve. Thoughts?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you been putting them out in early evening, early morning to expose them to colder temps? Been giving them day time excursions? How long have they been off heat? Or perhaps you've not had to give them any heat in Texas! My babies when I was brooding with a heat lamp went out without heat into freezing nights in a tractor at 5 weeks old. They did fine. I'm concerned that you say you've had them escape from your enclosure before. Has that been addressed? If you have any openings larger than a quarter, your coop/run is NOT predator proof. No heat needed in the coop. Enjoy getting them outside, and you might consider brooding outdoors next time. Much easier for ALL concerned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2016
  3. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No heat needed @this time 5 wks old they can handle that temps at night. They will huddle together if they need warm.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    They will be fine outside. Also, they don't need food and water at night. Chickens have terrible night vision and do not eat or drink at night. They may be stressed out for the first few nights, if they have never experienced a normal day/night cycle before.
     
  5. rdmom

    rdmom Just Hatched

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    Yes.. Our brooder is in a room that opens to the outdoors and so they are closed in at night and early morning and late evening we open the door to let the cooler air in. During the day they are outside or in an area where the temp is the same as outdoor. They are escaping from the brooder NOT the coop! :) Sorry for the miscommunication! If they were escaping from the coop we would have big issues and not be putting them out ;) I haven't had a heat lamp needed since they were 2 weeks old as our temps were high enough as it was. It's been in the 80's-90's forever and just dropped in temperature recently (Saturday to be exact). If it had been a gradual shift I would feel a lot better about it but I stuck them out in the coop for a few hours to see how they would do in daytime temps high 60's but it was rainy and wet and they were huddled together in the corner when I checked on them 10 minutes later. I felt bad and brought them back in. I don't know if that answers your questions as you were hoping...
     
  6. rdmom

    rdmom Just Hatched

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    We've had the heat lamp off since two weeks so they've had normal daylight routines for quite a while. Good to know about the food as we werent really wanting to leave it out and attract rodents.
     
  7. Jennifer74

    Jennifer74 Just Hatched

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    I have 18 chickens ranging from 5 1/2 weeks to 8 weeks - theyve all been in the coop for 2 weeks now before that they got outside time and then back in the brooder at night- Ive got a heat lamp for them in the coop - the last couple nights its gotten down to 45 degrees - I open the coop in the morning and they come and go out of the coop as they want. its been as cold as 60 during the day but they still spend long periods outside. When should I take the heat lamp away? - I want them to acclimate but Im not sure they 5 1/2 week olds are ready.
     
  8. Kim t

    Kim t Just Hatched

    "Any holes larger than a quarter" ...thanks for that. I have a Diamond Python Snake that comes in to eat mice and steal a few eggs. He is 7 feet long and fat but may have friends. Going to make a small tractor to start the chickens off inside large pen. Will make sure mesh is smaller than a quarter. Only 4 days old now but plan to put them out there in a week or so with the small dog kennel they are now in with mother hen so they can go in and out and not get taken by the snake. Also to socialize with my two other hens.

    The snake doesn't bother my hens. Any idea how old the chickens will have to be before they will be big enough to release with the others and avoid being taken by the snake?
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Kim, we don't have those snakes here. In fact, here in Maine, there are no venomous snakes, unless you count the occasional pine rattler in the southern part of the state. The biggest snake we have here is a Garter. They will take chicks and eggs, but, I've never had issue with them. As a matter of fact, I encourage the presence of snakes in my yard. Sadly, since getting chickens, I see very few snakes. When I do find one, I re-locate it to my garden where it will be safe behind the fence from chicken beaks. So as for protecting your babies from YOUR predators, I'd suggest that you check with some of your local chicken keepers.

    Jennifer74: Your chicks should be fine without any heat by 5 weeks old. If you're concerned, you might try a huddle box. Best to get them completely hardened off before colder weather hits.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  10. FarmerTony

    FarmerTony Out Of The Brooder

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    Once they start to get true feathers they can handle temps down to 50 degrees, once they are fully feathered they can handle freezing weather, and a fully grown adult can handle sub-zero weather depending on the breed. Some breeds are cold hardy, some are not. 'Cold' in this context means overnight temps below 32 degrees. Several breeds are cold hardy and heat tolerant. Ask the breeder if you have doubts.
     

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