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Old 03-29-2012, 10:47 AM
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Default When can I take the heat lamp off the chicks

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The chicks are going on 5 weeks old, they passed the one month mark almost a week ago.

My wife and I got the chicks on February 25th. The rhode island reds are about 7 days younger then the rest of the chicks. When my wife and I bought the chicks we were told they were only about 2 days old.

3 - black jersey giants
2 - barred rocks
2 - australorps
4 - rhode island reds
And a couple others I do not remember what type

Day time temps are in the low 80s, nighttime temps are in the upper 60s, maybe lower 70s,, or somewhere around there.

I have been turning the light off during the day and back on after the sun goes down.

The bulb is not really a "heat lamp", its just a 75 watt light bulb.

One thing about it, with the light bulb the chicks are getting extra protein in their diet from the bugs that fly towards the bulb. Those chicks will chase a mosquito from one side of the coop to the other side.

Not only does the bulb supply a little warmth, its also supply snacks for the chicks.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:52 AM
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I do it when they are fully feathered out.If its hot enough you can do it now and if they huddle raise it up a little and keep it in there.
If nights are still little cold just keep it on at night and raise it higher each week till its not needed.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by kev View Post
When can I take the heat lamp off the chicks
Depends, on a scale from 1 to 10 how good do they look and how is their tan?

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Old 03-29-2012, 10:58 AM
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For real though we used to keep a lamp for our ducks until they were at least a few months old just to be sure. I do not think it can hurt to leave it out longer.
Old 03-29-2012, 11:00 AM
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When they aren't cuddling under it anymore, they don't need it. Follow their cues. If they are running around happily or sleeping up on a perch away from the heat of the light, then they don't need it anymore. However, even with fully grown chickens I tend to leave a heat lamp on if the temperature dips down near freezing.
Old 03-29-2012, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by DontTreadOnI View Post
Depends, on a scale from 1 to 10 how good do they look and how is their tan?

Dip them in batter and they would probably be just right.

Originally Posted by NectarNook View Post
When they aren't cuddling under it anymore, they don't need it. Follow their cues. If they are running around happily or sleeping up on a perch away from the heat of the light, then they don't need it anymore.
From watching the chicks after the sun goes down, a lot of them are not staying under the light. I check on the chicks right before I go to bed. Last nigh I probably checked on the at 10pm and maybe again at 10:30. They were more interested in chasing bugs then standing around the light.

There are a lot of them that are perching on the opposite side of the coop from the light.
Old 03-29-2012, 02:09 PM
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at 5 weeks old, my orps were outside in February w/o a heat lamp... I have 15 and figured they could keep themselves warm enough huddled together inside the coop. (last year did the same thing with only 6, in a MUCH crappier 'coop' and all survived until visit no. 1 from the weasel)

Unless it was snowing or consistently near freezing, I send them outside once their wings are almost feathered out. Is it the right time? Probably not. But by then their cuteness has worn off and the wife complains about them stinking up the garage or basement.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:13 PM
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If you can locate an independant thermostatic control switch, capable of handling the light , you can adjust it to come on any time the temps drop unexpectantly.
My temps still drop into the 40s so the light is on all the time for now on my amaricana chicks.
One thing I learned about the cold .
I have some rhode island reds and after a year bought some more , but they did not get along , so I had to isolate them with in the coop.
As it became colder here I reintroduced them removing the isolation cage,and something beautiful happened .
Because of the cold, they all had to learn to huddle up together to stay warm , thus needing one another.
Sence then they get along just as though nothing was ever wrong.
They all lay their eggs in the same box of hay every day and rarely do any get broken .
How about that !
Can't wait till the new chicks mature enough to be let in with the rest, it should be at the very least, interesting.
Old 03-29-2012, 02:19 PM
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Mine are about the same age Kev. When it's above 60 out I take it off. I put it back on if the nights drop below that. (was 21 here two nights ago!)

You will know by their behavior how warm they are....spread out they are good, huddled into a mass..... too cold.

My Barred Rocks are completely feathered out now but my Wyandotts are not yet.
Old 03-29-2012, 02:29 PM
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I am no expert - I am working on My First Brood right now - Eight Buff Orpingtons. Now just 6 weeks old. The books I read said two things: One was Measure temps at Chick Level, start at 99.5 and drop it Five degrees a week, till you get to Ambient, or 65 Degrees, whichever is Higher, and then take it away. Two - (the one I used more) mentioned above - Watch the Chicks - If they cuddle up, they are cold. If they are all around the light puddle, but not in a bunch in the middle, it is about Right. Or, if they are all separate, spread out and panting, they are Hot.

My Buffs are listed as Cold Hardy, and are Fluffy. I have taken the Lamp away, since it is about 60 degrees in my house, and the Girls all still cuddle up, but as noted above, I want them to get along, and pack in to my smallish Coop. as long as I don't see any TailFeather Picking, or too much Fighting, I will figure I have it about Right.

From the reading I have Done, it is not too good for them to leave the light on at all times. I plan on a Timer to augment the Seasonally Varying Light that is available up here in the Glorious NorthBest, so that The Ladies have about 17 Hours of Light every Day. Because of Frequent "Lights Out" Drills in My Area, I am thinking on an LED Set-up that will run off Batteries that are kept topped up with Mains Power. That way, I won't have Birds going into Moult due to power outage. Gotta Keep them Laying! I will plan for a Fast Molt in Mid-Spring, after the Cold has relented.
Old 03-29-2012, 02:52 PM
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Once they are feathered, 4-6 weeks they will be fine unless it's really cold. But they may not be used to the dark, so you may want to keep a low light on (swap the bulb for a 40-watt) to keep them from freaking out.

My last batch of peeps were about 4 weeks old and my cat somehow got the lamp unplugged. I had them in the basement and heard a SCREAMING from them. I ran down there and they were all frozen still but peeping. I turned on the light and they quieted down and went back to being peeps.

When it came time to turn the light off I switched to a 25 watt bulb and turned it out during the day so they weren't freaked and did it gradually.

But....at three weeks I get them outside as long as it's about 68 to 70-degrees and not a super windy day. From then on I keep them out during the day and bring them inside at night. At eight weeks they get the mini fenced in area to themselves during the day and they go in the big girl coop at night (I have two doors on the big coop for this). They usually stay together in the big coop until they are full grown and start to mingle with the old ladies.

I used to wait until they were older to put them together with the older hens, but if they start younger they will watch the hens and learn to lay eggs in the buckets in the coop. If not it's an Easter Egg Hunt every day of the year!!!
Old 03-29-2012, 03:00 PM
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:07 PM
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If they move away from the heat lamp then it is time for it to go away. That's always worked for me. I have 6 that we started keeping outside this past weekend. Had them 3 weeks and they looked 1 to 2 weeks old when we got them. Brought them in the night it went down to freezing because of the wife, but otherwise they have been outside and no problems. The ones hatched outside by a hen never come in cause mommy will keep them warm. They really are tough little birds.
Old 03-29-2012, 03:28 PM
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I live about 110-120 miles north of Kev, this time of year the chicks get to keep the light for 2-3 weeks, maybe 2 more weeks at night only and then only if it drops below 50. I have 4 three week old ducklings that have been outside without heat for 9 days, they're doing fine with shelter only.
Old 03-29-2012, 05:00 PM
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Once the chicks are 4 weeks old they don't supplemental heat, but you have to keep them out of drafts. They can withstand low temperatures, but a draft will kill them quickly.
Old 03-29-2012, 08:58 PM
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Once they are all feathered out they are good. Of course I cheat I have a momma hen in there. They will all huddle together around her.
Old 03-30-2012, 10:42 AM
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Let them tell youif they need the light. They will talk to you and let you know if they are miserable. On the other hand the bugs make a light worthwhile. Chicks with a lightbulb are as much fun to watch as a bug-zapper when you are sitting on the porch enjoying a cold one!


australorps, baby chicks, barred rocks, black jersey giants, chicks, heat lamp for chicks, plymouth rock, raising chickens, rhode island reds

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