winter chick question.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jps37033, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. jps37033

    jps37033 Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    32
    Apr 18, 2013
    West TN
    I have a bunch of new chicks I want to raise outside in my current coop. It's 3 sided and big with straw. I'm in Tennessee and average temperature is 30 to 40. I have full size hens out there but have built a safe 4x4 box with wire for chicks. If I put a lamp on constantly will chicks stay warm enough? I can hang lamp as low as 6 inches above their straw. Thanks for help. Oh and using 125 watt red bulb.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    9,896
    2,872
    421
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The best way to see if it will be warm enough is to put a thermometer in the box. It should stay around 85 - 90 degrees under the light, and cooler on the edges. Chicks need to be able to regulate their temp by moving in and out of the hot zone, to warm and cool off as they need.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    988
    124
    171
    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    x2
     
  4. FoxHead

    FoxHead Out Of The Brooder

    56
    10
    48
    Jan 26, 2015
    Greenville, MI
    Be very careful with the bulb and straw! I live in Michigan and my birds are doing great this winter. I have 6 week olds out in 15 degree temps with a heat bulb. Good luck!
     
  5. jps37033

    jps37033 Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    32
    Apr 18, 2013
    West TN
    Thanks everyone. So as long as I can keep a 90 degree zone it doesn't matter if it's 30 everywhere else.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,884
    6,291
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    As long as they are able to all get into the heat zone, and as long as that heat zone is consistent without there being any hot spots which are above 90 - 100 degrees under there.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,747
    6,877
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    4x4x how tall?

    For how many chicks?

    3 sided? They really need to be sheltered from any wind at all.
     
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    171
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I've never used a thermometer in a brooder. I listen to what the chicks tell me. If they cheep and pile up & climb all over each other they're too cold and I lower the light; if they spread out all over the place they're too hot and I raise the light. When they form a quite, peaceful, circular group under the light I know it's just right.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,747
    6,877
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    A thermometer can be a good tool for a beginner...but I agree that their behavior is the best indicator.

    Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:
    They need to be pretty warm(~85F on the brooder floor right under the lamp) for the first day or two, especially if they have been shipped, until they get to eating, drinking and moving around well. But after that it's best to keep them as cool as possible for optimal feather growth and quicker integration to outside temps. A lot of chick illnesses are attributed to too warm of a brooder. I do think it's a good idea to use a thermometer on the floor of the brooder to check the temps, especially when new at brooding, later i still use it but more out of curiosity than need.

    The best indicator of heat levels is to watch their behavior:
    If they are huddled/piled up right under the lamp and cheeping very loudly, they are too cold.
    If they are spread out on the absolute edges of the brooder as far from the lamp as possible, panting and/or cheeping very loudly, they are too hot.
    If they sleep around the edge of the lamp calmly just next to each other and spend time running all around the brooder they are juuuust right!

    The lamp is best at one end of the brooder with food/water at the other cooler end of the brooder, so they can get away from the heat or be under it as needed. Wattage of 'heat' bulb depends on size of brooder and ambient temperature of room brooder is in. Regular incandescent bulbs can be used, you might not need a 'heat bulb'. You can get red colored incandescent bulbs at a reptile supply source. A dimmer extension cord is an excellent way to adjust the output of the bulb to change the heat without changing the height of the lamp.
     
  10. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    171
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama

    Yep, you said it better than my 2 fat dumb fingers could type it. You made a good point about the feather growth.
    Beginners overthink it and make it all complicated and their birds suffer because of it. Raising chickens aint rocket science.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by