Raising Chicks in Ovenland
It is a little different raising chicks in the extreme heat of the Arizona desert.
October is the best time to raise chicks in Phoenix, it’s much easier to keep
chicks warm than it is trying to keep them cool. High temps in the day are
in the mid to high 80’s and nights in the low 60’s. My brooder area is an addition
off the house without controlled temps. Therefore, 80’s outdoors means 90+ in
the enclosed off the house structure. I use a red low wattage brooder lamp at
night about 20 inches above brooder and only natural lighting during the day.
At 3.5 weeks I move them to the outside coop. They will be confined there with
a 250 watt red brooder lamp 3ft above ground which is left on day and night. Half
of the coop is unheated. Temps in late Oct. are usually in the low 80’s and at night
At 4 weeks I open the coop doors to the chicken yard offering them the choice to
fly the coop so to speak. They will venture out briefly then run back to the coop.
After about 4 days they brave the outside world. Brooder lamp is still left on.
Every night the coop doors close and all chicks are huddled together under the
lamp. It is now the first part of November and temps. are in the mid to upper 70’s,
lows around 55.
At 5 weeks the birds are fully feathered, heat lamp off around 10AM, and turned
on around 3PM. I find this important because the brooder lamp lures them in the
coop as dusk approaches – exactly where I want them to go every night… always.
At 7 weeks the temps are high in the mid 60’s and lows in the 40’s. No heat lamp.
However, it is now that I introduce an LED light where I want them to sleep at night,
and eventually lay their eggs. The birds go the the light, even though it provides no
heat. I choose an LED source of light because the batteries last a really long time,
up to a month. My nesting area requires a ladder ( I use a sturdy tree branch) and
as long as there is light up they all adapted quite easily to the change.
Heat Tolerant Breed Favorites:
Dominiques, Ameraucana, and Orpingtons are the top egg producers on my farm, they are
consistent egg layers for approx. ten months, taking two months off in the cooler
months. Leghorns don’t seem to fair well in the heat, fatality rates have been high
and I no longer keep them. Rhode Island Reds and Ameraucanas are
with out a doubt the most hardy. However, I find the RIR to be bullies and since
I’ve eliminated them from my flock I have much happier birds.
I keep the Polish varieties as well and find them quite hardy.
Note: Although I’m rather partial to the Orpingtons, they are indeed broody and can
be troublesome when they won’t leave the coop during the hot months.