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best time to buy baby chicks

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've had a few people ask about when the best time to buy spring chickens would be.

I bought my first batch beginning of last April, that pretty much was a mistake. Way too early...

Here's a blog post about what to consider when making the purchase:

http://simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com/2012/02/when-to-buy-baby-chicks.html

www.simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com - I want to live the simple life, but it isn't always easy
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www.simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com - I want to live the simple life, but it isn't always easy
www.greenturtlesoap.com - real handmade soap.
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post #2 of 8

Different schools of thought.

 

A March/April hatched chick has a much better chance of coming to Point of Lay before the dark days of October come.  I like that.  Brooding costs are a bit higher, since ambient temps are colder.  (Note:  I ONLY brood outdoors in an unheated garage or in the barn)

 

A June/July hatched chick requires far less electricity to heat the brooder. I like that.  But, the June/July hatched chick often runs into difficulty starting to lay, in time, and far too may times, they won't lay until the following spring.  (This presupposed natural conditions of lighting).

 

So, you pay your money and you take your choice.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred's Hens View Post

Different schools of thought.

 

A March/April hatched chick has a much better chance of coming to Point of Lay before the dark days of October come.  I like that.  Brooding costs are a bit higher, since ambient temps are colder.  (Note:  I ONLY brood outdoors in an unheated garage or in the barn)

 

A June/July hatched chick requires far less electricity to heat the brooder. I like that.  But, the June/July hatched chick often runs into difficulty starting to lay, in time, and far too may times, they won't lay until the following spring.  (This presupposed natural conditions of lighting).

 

So, you pay your money and you take your choice.



Those are excellent points.

 

I think it also depends on the level of "pampering" your baby chicks get. Obviously chicks are born into the great outdoors all the time and the heat given is by the mother hen, not a giant heat lamp.

Since this was my first time with baby chicks, I was so scared I was going to do something wrong and kill them all, I did it exactly by the books and took the safest route possible.

 

I think next time I will be much more lenient.

www.simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com - I want to live the simple life, but it isn't always easy
www.greenturtlesoap.com - real handmade soap.
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www.simplelifeainteasy.blogspot.com - I want to live the simple life, but it isn't always easy
www.greenturtlesoap.com - real handmade soap.
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post #4 of 8

I raise and hatch chicks all year around and I hatch much less during the winter. I have my Brooders in a uninsulated shop. I use 250 watt bulbs during winter and 60-100 watt bulbs in the summer. I haven't ever raised chicks in my house nor do I plan to. They are farm animals not house pets.  Chicks are a very easy task as long as they have the appropriate heat required. Make sure that the brooder has the lamps placed so the chicks can go to a cool area if needed. I do not use a thermometer in there brooders. I place newly hatched chicks in the warm brooder and then check them in about 2 hours to see if they are hot or cold. I rarely loose a chick from getting to cold in the winter.

 

People make brooding chicks so much harder than it should be. All they need is Heat, Feed, Water, and Bedding.

 

I have found that Early spring hatches will generally lay through the winter and summer hatches "might" Start laying in the winter but usually in the spring like Fred said. I have a few Orpingtons that were hatched Late July that just started laying a few weeks ago. I do not have an extra light source in there coop. I have Orps that were hatched in March and they lay 5-6 eggs a week. It really depends on your personal preference weather to brood in the winter, spring, or summer and also where you are located can make a difference.

 

 

 

Nate


Edited by OkChickens - 2/17/12 at 12:40pm
post #5 of 8

Just out of curiosity, wouldn't it also depend on what part of the country you are in? I'm in SW Texas, which gets very hot about June, so I'm planning to get my chicks in April, where the temperature will fluctuate much less, and they won't be stressed so much by the heat while they are little chicks. But then those folks up in northern US might want  to wait until May or June to get chicks because its finally more consistently warmer!  Thoughts?

Live on a 25000 acre ranch in deep SW Texas. Make my home with a wonderful guy, 4 horses, 11 Cashmere goats (and more on the way any time now), 3 pet cats, a great Border Collie/Aussie mix and 3 outdoor ex-feral cats. Planning to add some chickens in April!

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Live on a 25000 acre ranch in deep SW Texas. Make my home with a wonderful guy, 4 horses, 11 Cashmere goats (and more on the way any time now), 3 pet cats, a great Border Collie/Aussie mix and 3 outdoor ex-feral cats. Planning to add some chickens in April!

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post #6 of 8

We're way up north.  I get chicks in spring, in early summer, and have also gotten chicks in fall.  Each has a benefit, I suppose, and each comes with certain down sides, if you can say it that way.  Shrug.  I love raising chicks, frankly, and so I don't care. lol

 

What I will not do is get late fall chicks.  Our winters are too cold to acclimate young chicks to an unheated barn.  

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred's Hens View Post

We're way up north.  I get chicks in spring, in early summer, and have also gotten chicks in fall.  Each has a benefit, I suppose, and each comes with certain down sides, if you can say it that way.  Shrug.  I love raising chicks, frankly, and so I don't care. lol

 

What I will not do is get late fall chicks.  Our winters are too cold to acclimate young chicks to an unheated barn.  


Lol...I like your thinking smile.png Very frank and to the point, Fred big_smile.png

 

1 Weim,1 Pomeranian, 2 Cats,2 fish tanks, flock of 30(or so ) BLRW chickens,flock of Banties(Cochins,Showgirls,Greylegs and Silkies), Flock of Ancona Ducks (B&W,Lav & W),Flock of Mallards (Blue Fawn and Restricteds) 6 Muscovies, 3 Narragansett Turkeys,2 Geese(Toulouse), 2 Budgies,2 zebra finch, 2 Cockatiels.... and oh yeah, 5 great kids( 2 have flown the coop) and an enabling hubby   

 

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1 Weim,1 Pomeranian, 2 Cats,2 fish tanks, flock of 30(or so ) BLRW chickens,flock of Banties(Cochins,Showgirls,Greylegs and Silkies), Flock of Ancona Ducks (B&W,Lav & W),Flock of Mallards (Blue Fawn and Restricteds) 6 Muscovies, 3 Narragansett Turkeys,2 Geese(Toulouse), 2 Budgies,2 zebra finch, 2 Cockatiels.... and oh yeah, 5 great kids( 2 have flown the coop) and an enabling hubby   

 

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post #8 of 8
I had a pullet start laying in the middle of this past December, just before the winter solstice, the shortest days of the year. I do not provide extra light either. I have pullets that are not laying as the days get noticably longer. Some will lay, some will wait. Can't argue with Fred on that.

I had a broody wean her chicks last summer at about 2-1/2 weeks. In the heat of summer, i don't wait until 4 weeks to turn off the heat. In fall or winter, I keep heat on longer.

I brooded chicks last fall. I brood in the coop, not the house. By the time they were 5-1/2 weeks old, they were in my grow-out pen with no supplemental heat. The overnight low was in the lower to mid 20's. If it were the middle of summer, they would have been out a week or more earlier.

I'd change OKChickens requirements to they need heat, food, water, and protection from drafts. My brooder floor is wire, no bedding, but I have a good draft guard. In some brooders, bedding would help. Just different ways to do things. I also believe it is hugely beneficial to only heat one area of the brooder and let the rest cool down a bunch. They'll find where they want to be.

About the only disadvantage to me to a fall hatch is that I raise mine mostly for meat and forage is not as good in the winter months. Eggs and when they start laying is not that important to me. I wound up paying more for feed to get them to butcher size with a later fall hatch due to poorer forage. I'll try to avoid that in the future. Other than that consideration, if I hatch my own, I hatch them whenever I want to. I have a generator to power the incubator or help provide warmth if we have a power outage.

If I am getting them shipped, I try to avoid getting them in severely hot or cold times of the year, preferring to ship in milder weather. I've yet to have a dead chick in a shipment, but in fairness, I have not really had that many shipped. I avoid postal holidays too.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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