Advice re: when to order chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jamiebelle1207, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. jamiebelle1207

    jamiebelle1207 Out Of The Brooder

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    After getting our feet wet with adult hens this summer, we are beginning construction on a permanent coop soon. We have three hens at the moment who are free-ranging and bedding down in the coop part of a chicken tractor at night, but this is not the greatest permanent solution, and I want more chickens! :)

    So my plan is to order about 12 (I would like to have 10-12 chickens total and am concerned about "attrition" with the chicks) chicks from My Pet Chicken, three of four different breeds. I live near Charlotte, NC, so we don't necessarily have bitter winters, but it can get pretty cold some days with a few days of snow. When the chicks are old enough, I will transition them outside using the tractor until they seem ready to move into the new coop with the three older ladies. (not exactly sure how I'll know that they are ready).

    I'm not sure how far in advance My Pet Chicken lets you order (I'm going to contact their customer service to try to get an idea and their suggestions), but I'd rather err on the side of getting the chicks too early (dead winter) than too late (late spring). Do you have any suggestions or words of advice?

    Also…I plan on using a large rubbermaid-type storage box for the brooder…how big of one should I get for 12 chicks?
     
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    MyPetChicken.com is not a hatchery, but they have chicks sent from Meyer Hatchery in Polk, Ohio, and some others around the country for certain breeds. It would be less money if you went through Meyer directly, since they sell many breeds. I prefer to get chicks in the early spring, so that they are laying by autumn. Whenever you get chicks they need to be fully feathered around 6-7 weeks old by cold weather time. Chicks cannot be integrated with older hens until they are close in size, but not before 3 months old at least. The exception would be if chicks are raised by a broody hen in the flock. Personally I would get chicks in September as the latest, or wait and place an early order for early March or April. For best selection in Spring, order in November. A lot of hatcheries open and ship in Feb, but there are reports of many deaths at that cold time of year. Not every breed is available year round, so you may not get exactly what you want. Meyer does small shipments, but the more chicks you order, the lower the shipping cost. So you may pay more in shipping than you would getting 25 chicks, since heat packs are used. Here is a link for Meyer if you are interested in seeing what they have: https://www.meyerhatchery.com/
     
  3. jamiebelle1207

    jamiebelle1207 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, that is helpful. I can't have more than like 12 chickens…I think that would be an upper limit. :)
     
  4. I've ordered twice from Meyers and been very happy with my chicks. All have survived. I got 13 in the first order and 5 in the second. Good luck.
     
  5. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can get that number from Ideal Poultry in TX. They have many different breeds and their prices are usually lower and their shipping charges are low also. I have gotten 3 orders from them.
     
  6. melal

    melal New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2014
    I've been pretty happy with ordering in the summer time. The warm weather means you can put the chicks outside in the day, and just bring them inside at night and cover them with a blanket or something. With 12 chicks, I wouldn't bother with a heat lamp setup, but that's just me... One other good thing about ordering in summer is that the chicks stay warm during their time in transit, and are healthier because of it. I recently made an order from welp hatchery, and everyone survived the journey. In winter orders, you tend to lose a few. You may consider ordering more than you would like to end up with though. Some may not make the journey (especially if you order during the cold season) and some may not make it to laying age. We have bobcat problems here, so we always order more than we want to end up with. If they all make it, bonus, if not, then you still have as many as you wanted...
     
  7. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree summer is a great time to raise chicks. The biggest plastic storage tub you can find is what I would recommend. I have some in a 50 gallon size right now and will soon be putting some in a 2nd tub. I use hardware cloth or screen on top so they can't get out. Mine have a heat lamp with a 75 watt reptile bulb which is turned off during the day now but was on all the time when they first arrived. They are bantams so they are smaller than you would probably have. I used to raise chicks in free cardboard boxes from the supermarket or department store. If you get chicks when it is cold even if they arrive OK there is a chance of power outages and you need to be able to keep them warm. I live in southern VA. The 15 black sex link chicks I raised last year hatched 8/27 and they all did fine.
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Your electric bill will be amazing if you raise chicks in fall! Consider spring chicks instead, for easier growing conditions, shipping, and breed choices. If you order straight run heavy breeds, or some cockrels for the freezer, get 25 and cull down to ten or twelve pullets. Mary
     
  9. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I like having chicks shipped in spring or early fall when the weather isn't blazing hot or freezing cold. I got my last batch from My Pet Chicken in early September and that worked really well for me since we stay warm well into the fall here.

    As far as size of brooder? For 12 chicks I don't know that you are going to find a Rubbermaid container that will accomodate them for as long as they will need it. Chicks need a minimum of one square foot per chick when they are new, and more as they grow. So even to start out with you need a container with about 12 square feet of floor space plus room for feeder/waterer, and that's for minimum space. You are better off to go with a large appliance box or big melon boxes from the store. If they need more space before they move out you can always cut the ends off a couple boxes and tape them together for more room. We use boxes and make a simple lid of wire framed with wood so they don't fly out.

    You just don't want to get into a situation where chicks are crowded and start picking at each other. Once you get behaviors like that started it can be really hard to stop, much easier avoided then cured.
     
  10. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    McMurray and others recommend one half of a square foot per bird until they are 4 weeks old and then increasing it to three quarters of a square foot.
     

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