Winterizing Fall-Born Chicks

kellarlln

In the Brooder
Oct 4, 2018
7
9
16
Cowiche, WA
I have 2 Red Sex hens that will hit 6 weeks at the end of October, in a climate (higher altitude in E. Washington Cascades) guaranteed to hit below zero (F) in late Dec/Early Jan for at least a few days to 2 weeks. Considering getting a radiant heater from Cozy Coop, will this be enough to keep them outside this winter when the cold spell strikes? I also have the heat lamp from their brooder. I have a 2-3 chicken coop in the backyard.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
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I have 2 Red Sex hens that will hit 6 weeks at the end of October, in a climate (higher altitude in E. Washington Cascades) guaranteed to hit below zero (F) in late Dec/Early Jan for at least a few days to 2 weeks. Considering getting a radiant heater from Cozy Coop, will this be enough to keep them outside this winter when the cold spell strikes? I also have the heat lamp from their brooder. I have a 2-3 chicken coop in the backyard.
Hello kellarlln. Welcome to BYC.
Do these chickens have a mum?
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
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Catalonia, Spain
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The chicks here normally have most of their 'proper' feathers at around six weeks old.
At around this time, if their mother hasn't already done so, the chicks and mum return to the tribe coop. It does freeze here,normally Janurary, and the now pullets or cockerels survive in the same conditions as the older chickens.
Chicks only really need the extra warmth from their mother until their proper feathers grow. After this they're on their own.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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They won't need heat, just a dry coop to block the wind.
By 6 weeks they should be fully feathered and able regulate their temperature.
They will go thru 2 more juvenile molts and by 6 months have their first set of 'adult' feathers.

In the meantime, don't 'over-heat' them (see my notes below).
Make sure they can access a cooler area of the brooder away from the heat source. It's good to open a window in the brooder room so they begin to acclimate to cooler outdoor ambient temps.

I have a 2-3 chicken coop in the backyard.
Hmm..pics of this coop, please?
They need good ventilation too, don't think that 'tightening' up the coop will keep them warmer.



Here's my notes on chick heat, hope something in there might help:

They need to be pretty warm(~85-90F on the brooder floor right under the lamp and 10-20 degrees cooler at the other end of brooder) 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 acclimation 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.


Or you could go with a heat plate, commercially made or DIY: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/pseudo-brooder-heater-plate
 

kellarlln

In the Brooder
Oct 4, 2018
7
9
16
Cowiche, WA
They won't need heat, just a dry coop to block the wind.
They will go thru 2 more juvenile molts and by 6 months have their first set of 'adult' feathers.
Anything special I need to do while they molt (juvenile) since it will be winter? I would really like to get them outside in their coop when they hit 6 weeks. My brooder is just a large dog cage and heat lamp indoors.
 

L1sa

Songster
Jan 25, 2017
420
952
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South Australia
Anything special I need to do while they molt (juvenile) since it will be winter? I would really like to get them outside in their coop when they hit 6 weeks. My brooder is just a large dog cage and heat lamp indoors.
If they are still inside, maybe think about turning off the heat lamp for a few days before they go outside as a kind of weaning off the heat programme. So it's not such a shock for them. Good luck
 
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