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How to keep my baby chickens outside when it is cold

Updated November 21, 2016

Baby chickens are fuzzy and cute, but it is important to remember they are tiny, delicate babies that need proper care and attention to grow and develop. Keeping baby chickens warm in the cold winter months can sometimes be difficult, and loss of body heat can be fatal to a newly hatched chick. There are a few tips you can follow to ensure your baby chickens will be kept warm and healthy.

Select the right type of cage or chicken box. During the warmer months, you can use a wire cage without a bottom and move it around to different areas of grass, but during cold weather you will need a cage or a box with solid sides to protect the chicks against the wind and cold. These types of cages can be purchased at most farm supply stores or at chicken hatcheries. If you already have a large stationary chicken pen, you can place the smaller cage or box with the chicks inside the pen.

Hang a light above the chicks. Whether you have a small chicken box or a larger stationary pen, you can hang an overhead lamp 18 inches above the chicks to help keep them warm. You can use an extension cord to provide power to the light. If you are using a box, you can clamp the light to the side of the box. Chicken hatcheries that specialise in the care of baby chicks recommend a temperature of 32.2 to 35.0 degrees Cor the first week of life, reducing the temperature by -15 degrees C each week until it reaches 21.1 degrees C. You can use bulbs from 100 watts to 250 watts.

Provide plenty of bedding for your baby chicks to burrow into. You can use items such as saw dust, straw, hay or wood shavings. Baby chicks will usually cuddle together in the bedding to sleep when it becomes dark, and this also helps them to stay warm.

Things You'll Need

  • Chicken box
  • Sawdust
  • Overhead Lamp
  • Extension Cord
  • Light bulbs
  • Straw
  • Hay
  • Wood Shavings
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About the Author

Nicholas Nesler has worked in journalism for over 10 years as a reporter, photo editor and sports editor. Nesler has written for "The Batesville Guard" and the "Paragould Daily Press." His awards include the '07 FOI award from the APME. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro and his master's degree in education at the University of Central Arkansas.