Where do you keep your chicks as they get bigger but are not ready for outdoors?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by basmommy, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. basmommy

    basmommy In the Brooder

    May 9, 2013
    Wingate, NC
    We have three chicks that are 5 weeks tomorrow. All 7 eggs hatched (one died the day it was born) but we overheated and lost 3.
    We put them in our huge laundry sink for the first week. We then moved them into the shed with a rubbermaid tote. They are pretty big but still have enough room. At 10 weeks we will move them into a small coop outside separate from our main coop.
    We just put 7 more eggs in the incubator. I am not sure what to put them in this time around assuming we get 7 again. We have to put them in the shed until they are big enough for a coop. Something with enough floor space but high enough that they can not escape and that my dogs cannot get to them. I don't think a dog crate is large enough?
    We plan on continuing to hatch our own chicks on a regular basis for meat so I want something pretty permanent.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They are probably feathered enough to go in the coop now. They surely should be at 6 weeks. What breed are they? Have you been taking them outdoors for short periods to acclimate them? Do they still have a heat lamp on them?
  3. basmommy

    basmommy In the Brooder

    May 9, 2013
    Wingate, NC
    They are still under the heat lamp and have never been outside. It drops as low as single digits at night so I don't think I am ready to leave them outside in our small coop. It drops down to single digit temps sometimes. They are Rhode Island Reds.
  4. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    I do all of my brooding outside. My husband built me a very large hutch (out of things we already had lying around, so the price was right).
    My chicks do great. They feather out much faster and seem much hardier. Good luck!
  6. ChickCrazed

    ChickCrazed Songster

    Jan 14, 2014
    Lebanon, Indiana
    I'm getting my first 11 chicks this weekend. I have some older hens, but these will be my first raised from chicks. I am trying to figure out where to keep them in my super small house. I have been considering my spare bathroom (and will just avoid guests for a while!) I figure the dust will be easier in there and there is a built in fan for smell. Am I crazy? Also, although I may rehome a couple of them in the first couple of weeks, can anyone help me with how fast they grow - how much room they will need each week? Ideally I'd put them in the garage but it is not insulated and I've heard the eco-glow (which I purchased) isn't great in really cold temps.
  7. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Songster

    May 23, 2013
    I brooded my chicks inside this winter, and they were moved outside at 8 weeks. From about 6.5 weeks on, I started dropping the temperature in the room by opening a window for day AND night. I kept a thermometer in the room so I could see the overnight low and know how cold they got. It worked pretty well, other than making 1 room of my house unbearably cold!

    I also started taking them outside in the daytime in the enclosed run from about 7 weeks on. They had 1 week of that, then moved outside permanently at 8 weeks. I used an EcoGlow brooder even though temperatures were below 50F (nights about 32F, days about 48F) and it worked well in the coop.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Basmommy, how big is your coop? Do you have electricity out there?


    I built a permanent brooder in the coop. The top is my droppings board. That would solve your problem for something permanent.

    I’ve put chicks in this in fairly cold temperatures right out of the incubator, but not down to single digits. I’m planning on hatching some in a few weeks to go in here. I’ll cover the sides and put in a second lamp to keep it a bit warmer. You don’t have to keep the entire thing at a high temperature. Generally I just heat one end and let the rest cool down, but in really cold weather I add a second light near the food and water. Still, let the far end cool off quite a bit. They’ll acclimate that way. Plus if you keep one area warm enough and let the rest cool down, they’ll find their own comfort zone. That’s a lot less stressful for me than trying to keep it all the same temperature.

    My grow-out coop has good draft protection but it is not heated. I’ve put 5 week old chicks in it with the overnight lows in the mid 40’s. I’ve had 5-1/2 week olds go through the mid 20’s out there, but they were well-acclimated in that brooder because I allowed the far end to cool down.

    I don’t know at what age yours will be able to handle single digits. That will depend on how draft-free the coop is, how many of them there are so they can keep each other warm, what bedding they have to snuggle down in, and how well they are acclimated. But I do suggest you consider something somewhere permanent with your hatching schedule.

    Good luck!
  9. Fentress

    Fentress Songster

    Mar 22, 2012
    Chesapeake, Va.
    Being outside is not a big deal as long as they are warm. Obviously, they are better off outdoors in the fresh air than inside. I put my chicks out on pature at 2 wweeks, but the heat lamp goes with them. For the first week they prefer to stay in the coop, but then by week three they want out to run the yard. This is in March, though. I don't think brooding chicks in the winter is a good idea, but if they stay warm I guess it is OK. My understanding is that even after they feather out, say at 6-8 weeks they still don't have all of their under feathers, in other words they can't stay as warm as an older bird, so depending on the weather they could need a light for quite awhile.

  10. Cloudseeker

    Cloudseeker In the Brooder

    Nov 24, 2013
    Skagit County, WA
    I have 3 Rubbermaid tubs and an old metal horse trough that I use for my brooders. I keep them in the garage. As the chicks get bigger, they get moved from one tub to the next size up. I give them more time in the brooder during the winter than I do in nice weather

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