When to transition outside?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Messica, May 2, 2017.

  1. Messica

    Messica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2016
    Minnesota
    Living in Minnesota with such fluctuating temps I'm a bit confused by the normal recommended guidelines. Yesterday we had snow, today we're slated for a high of 60, low of 40. Highs in the 60's, nighttime lows in the 40's appear to be the trend for this week, next week warming into the low 70's. I don't want to jinx things by saying I think that's going to be it for the snow, but I'm not entirely sure of course.

    Coop set up is a 6x8' completely critter proof building that currently houses just our 5 chickens who free range during the day. Ducklings will have their own pen within the coop, along with a slider door that leads out to a run (hardware cloth top to bottom). I have a Cozy Legs radiant panel heater that's mounted on the wall right next to their pen inside the coop that's thermostatically controlled to kick on at 35*, off at 45* (should they get that low anymore yet this spring).

    I will never feel comfortable having a heat lamp inside the coop so putting them out there with one is off the table.

    My ducklings turned 6 weeks old today. When would you make the transition to that space set up? They flipping STINK no matter how many times a day I clean their tub out and *I'm* more than ready lol

    Also, I have access to sand, straw and pine shavings for bedding. Which would be best until they're spending most if not all day outside in the run? There's currently all shavings in the coop but I imagine that would turn into a mucky mess in no time flat.


    TIA for any advice :)
     
  2. cyriuskee

    cyriuskee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 10, 2016
    Savannah, GA
    The rule of thumb is to subtract 5f each week starting at birth. Since its so cold there still (avg 85f here!) I would say when they are feathered in. From my many days of surfing these forums, they can only safely regulate their temps when feathered. Good luck!
     
  3. Messica

    Messica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2016
    Minnesota
    I ended up asking on facebook and several of my local hobby farm friends said 6 weeks is plenty old (and teased a great deal that I had them in our makeshift tub brooder beyond week three lol). We left them out in the coop with the chickens last night and they did great! Low was about 45 so the panel heater never kicked on but it seems they didn't need it after all. My kids lifted the door so they could access the run if they wanted to once it warmed up but they immediately padded down the tiny ramp and got right to eating, drinking and swimming. They are quite obviously soooooooo much happier outside, I imagine because there's so much more for them to do.

    I'm not sure I'd have made the move any sooner but they're much hardier than I gave them credit for!
     

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