Why do Baby Chicks Huddle Together?
Your baby chicks will usually huddle together when they get cold since baby chicks have no fully developed feathers to keep their bodies warm. Huddling, however, can suffocate your baby chicks.
Therefore, keep your baby chicks warm during the cold days to stop them from huddling together. The ultimate way of keeping your tiny birds warm is by using artificial lighting, making their coop warm, and feeding them energy-giving foods.
How to Tell if Baby Chicks are Warm Enough?
Baby chicks emit loud noises when they get cold. If they are silent throughout and they aren’t emitting any noises, your chicks are ultimately warm enough. If you notice your baby chicks are huddling together, especially under the heat lamp, then they are too cold.
But if the baby chicks scatter away from the lamp, these tiny birds are warm enough and don’t need artificial heating to stay warm. In addition, your chicks could be warm enough if they don’t appear swollen and puffy since cold causes swelling and puffiness in baby chicks and adult chickens.
What Happens if Baby Chicks Get Cold?
Cold is a leading killer of baby chicks since it can kill these little birds in the first weeks of their life. Baby chicks will die from cold if they don’t get supplemental heat to warm them as they grow feathers.
Excess cold temperatures below 73 degrees Fahrenheit can make your baby chicks look inactive and lifeless. Consider reviving your baby chicks before they die if they are too cold.
What is the Best Temperature for Baby Chicks?
The ideal temperature for newly hatched baby chicks is 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Baby chicks can withstand cooler temperatures in the first weeks after hatching. One-week-old baby chicks can withstand a minimum temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your baby chicks can withstand temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit two weeks after hatching. Your baby chicks will be able to tolerate cold temperatures as they grow old since the older they grow, the more the feathers your chicks will grow.
How to Keep Your Chicks Warm?
Baby chicks need to remain warm, particularly in the first couple of weeks. Furthermore, warmth is crucial for your chicks in the winter months when temperatures are remarkably low. However, keeping baby chicks warm is a challenge for many poultry owners, especially those who have never handled baby chicks below.
Fortunately, you can keep your chicks warm regardless of how cold the temperatures are. These ideas below will help keep your chicks warm.
– Use a Heat Lamp
Using a heat lamp is perhaps the easiest way to keep your chicks warm in the cold season, particularly if you have several baby chicks in your flock. Some people opt for hot-water radiators, electric heat pads, and incandescent bulbs as an alternative to heat lamps.
However, these three heating options can’t provide your chicks with reliable heat. Furthermore, they can overheat your chicks rather than keep them warm.
Get a 250-watt heat lamp and mount it off the floor of your coop to allow the heat lamp to heat your baby chicks from above rather than from the sides. For the best results, mount the heat lamp on one side of the chicken coop to help your baby chicks self-regulate their temperature.
Ensure the heat lamp is stable to prevent it from falling and injuring and possibly killing your chicks. Furthermore, ensure the lamp doesn’t come into contact with anything flammable lest you end up burning your coop.
– Cozy up The Brooder Box
Making the brooder box cozy for your baby chicks can help keep your little birds warm in the winter. You can, for instance, line the brooder box with warm, comfortable clothing to make your chicks warm and comfortable.
If you keep your baby chicks in an enclosure, you can still make it cozy by spreading warm bedding such that your chicks won’t have to roost on the cold floor, which only exposes them to the risk of freezing.
Alternatively, you can create a smaller room inside the coop and install a heat source to warm up your birds. Some chicken keepers also opt to make their coop warm and comfortable for their chicks by using heated water bottles.
However, this heating method might not be effective in the long run, especially if you have many baby chicks, since you will have to keep replacing the bottles when the water inside becomes cold. Also, you will require many heated water bottles if you have a larger coop.
– Try the Deep Litter Method
The deep litter method entails letting the chick droppings and bedding material build up either in the brooder box or in the chicken coop over time. You will have plenty of composting material in the coop or brooder box with time.
This material will produce heat, ultimately warming up your baby chicks. However, this method works well for older chicks since baby chicks don’t defecate a lot, and it will therefore take plenty of time before your chicks produce enough waste to warm up their coop.
Nonetheless, the deep litter method will still work for those with many chicks in their flock since they will produce a substantial amount of droppings to make this heating method effective.
– Feed Your Chicks With Energy-giving Foods
Your chicks need to consume plenty of energy-giving foods in winter to help them generate heat internally. The more energy-giving foods your chicks will consume, the warmer they will be and the more they can withstand cold.
Some good options of energy-giving foods for chicks include cracked corns and pellets. Your chicks’ bodies will generate more heat if you provide them with something to digest.
Do Baby Chicks Huddle Together When Sleeping?
Yes, baby chicks like huddling together when sleeping. They usually do this to keep warm at night since it is extremely cold at night. Baby chicks will, however, stop huddling together when sleeping after a few weeks because they will grow feathers over time.
Your baby chicks won’t get cold once they grow fully developed and fluffy feathers.
It is common for baby chicks to huddle together because of the cold. However, huddling isn’t something you should take lightly since it indicates that your chicks could be feeling cold. Therefore, come up with ways of heating your baby chicks if you notice they are huddling together, either during nighttime or daytime.