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#48893 - 11/04/09 07:17 PM Hatching chicks in cold season

Could you acclimate young chicks after 8 weeks or so to freezing temps outside? Or do you have to give them controlled temps for the rest of the winter months?

#48894 - 11/04/09 08:33 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
Maybe some breeds-not my bantams. Outside, their small size would make keeping their body temperature warm enough to thrive, impossible!

Chickens are native to warm climates. Some breeds have been develped for more Northern areas that can handle colder temperatures a little better, but generally winter protection is advised for all Poultry. Eggs in unprotected COLD weather? Forget it. Same for growing meat birds. Feed requirements increase to make outside chickens in winter impractical in most Northern areas with freezing or subfreezing temperatures. And protection from varmints becomes another risk.

This does not mean heated houses for most Poultry, but protection from wind, drafts, and providing a roosting area where birds can flock together to share warmth. Larger flocks do better in severe cold. After 5-6 months of age, most chickens can handle some freezing tremperatures of short duration. (but not mine!) CJR

You will hear of birds that handle COLD, but it is not the norm!

#48895 - 11/05/09 04:02 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
MT Lady Offline

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 107
Loc: Montana
My babies, that hatch during the winter months, stay inside my house until it warms up outside. It makes for more cleaning, but if the power goes off( like it dose often here) I have the fireplace for warmth & I know they won't die-- Besides, then I get my baby chick "fix" as I love these little guys . This is just one reason most people don't hatch in the winter, especially in Mt.

#48896 - 11/05/09 05:47 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
I hatch in the winter. Note my location, Canada, oooh, it doesn't get colder than that! Well, it does, further north.

My babies stay in the house under a 100 watt bulb for a week. After a week they smell too bad even with daily cleaning, out they go to the hen house to their own little chick pen. There they live under the 250 watt red lamp. This red lamp is also the heat source for the entire hen house (12x12) but it is hung over the babies to keep them especially warm.

I do not turn them out of their little pen until they are big enough to mix with the older hens. If I turned them out at 8 weeks, they'd have the stuffing beat out of them! But by 8 weeks the heat lamp has been slowly raised so they are not getting the same heat they were when they were a week old.

I have put week old chicks into my hen house in winter weather for years. They have shavings as bedding, but the floor is uninsulated. I have never lost a chick to cold. But I do give them a week in the house first. By a week, they are tougher than you think. As for going outdoors in cold weather at 8 weeks....that I have not done. But chicks in winter should not be a problem if you have a heat lamp and as someone else said, protection from drafts and wet weather (snow and rain and mud underfoot).

#48897 - 11/05/09 06:55 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
Dirt Road Offline

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 61
Loc: Idaho
Some breeds are simply not able to handle as much cold as others, but the MAJORITY of chickens are a great deal hardier and tougher than people give them credit for.

#48898 - 11/06/09 04:33 AM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
Richard in MA Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 332
Loc: Massachusetts
I, too, also hatch during the cold winter. Here in Massachusetts that is almost half the year so you really do not have much choice if you ever want to show a pullet or cockerel. I have never had any problems with cold killing chicks as long as they have heat lamps available. I know a lady in upstate New York that also hatches all winter and broods in her barn under lights. Important point- always use 2 heat sources as I did have a wipeout when one burnt out. The ceramic heat emitters are also great as they do not burn out and also produce no light. As others have stated here, these birds are far tougher than we give them credit for. I have hatched Cochins, Marans, Sebrights and Dutch bantams throughout the winter. If raised under shelter from wind, drafts and moisture and provided with heat lamps they do just fine and really give you a big jump on spring.

#48899 - 11/07/09 03:14 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
I have 5 hens and one just went broody. Now, in November. Sheesh. I was hoping one of them would go broody this past spring or summer so I could buy chicks but no.

#48900 - 11/14/09 04:59 PM Re: Hatching chicks in cold season
Marvin Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 11/23/06
Posts: 1991
Loc: Nicaragua
Originally posted by Mt.lady:
but if the power goes off( like it dose often here) I have
where do you live? in nicaragua? confused


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