Best time of year to begin


8 Years
Aug 21, 2011
Marysville, Ohio
If this question has been asked a million times, please forgive me. I am very new here and I have looked but can't find the answer anywhere.
I live in the middle of Ohio. I have ordered a 4x8 shed to be built and picked up next week. I have a few things to do to it like insulation and building a run. I had thought to just get it set up and order my chicks in the spring, but I see many of you ordering chicks now. So my questions are: when is the best time of year to begin raising the chicks and and what is the latest time of year to order them? I am worried about them being less tolerant of our cold winters if they are young.
I am just beginning my chicken adventure and this forum has got to be the most informative forum I have ever experienced! Joie
I am in exactly the same position as you! I will read the answers with much interest. I want to order some chicks, or perhaps buy some at our tonw fair next week, but I have the same question I am in NEW England and our evenings are already very cold
I started last year, and was also told I should wait for spring. Instead, I bought 6 chicks on August 26. Had them in my living room for a week, while my husband finished the coop. Moved them to the coop, with a heat lamp, and put one of those inside/outside thermometers, so I could monitor the temperature from the house. Once they were fully feathered, I turned off the heat lamp. I live in NC, so I don't have any insulation in the coop. I just made sure there were no drafts, and that their roost was a 2x4, so they could cover their feet.
They grew up fine and are pretty healthy, started laying in mid-January.

Good luck!
well in my thinking, there are tons of country fairs going on right now across the state I live in and they are all hatching chicks, these chicks are going to live on farms somewhere and I am sure they will survive so why not in my yard?
I keep chicks all year. They have to be kept warm regardless of the temp outside. The sooner you start, the sooner they feather up!
I am very new too, but I have 21 eggs in the incubator due to hatch in 2 weeks. Way I look at it, as chicks, they will be under heatlamps. After that, once they feather out, they should be able to handle the cold. By April, they will be old enough to lay. I am in Ohio as well. Maybe I am wrong, but they are birds. Once their feathers come in, I assume they will be able to deal. If not, my basement will be awfully smelly lol!
If you have a set up where you can keep them warm while they feather out, give it a whirl!
(reminder to securely fasten all heat lamps - watch where the lamps swing, as those feathered sillies will bonk into it when they start flying around)
I have a broody right now in MN, SOOOO I am guessing any time goes!
Have fun!
Re: spring. Most people start thinking about chicks in the spring, when winter has rested their minds and bodies from yard work, garden work, coop work, etc.
You will also find your greatest selection of chicken varieties right at your local farm store (in the spring)!
I would suggest you give it a whirl
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I know you posted this under baby chicks. However, have you thought about getting grown chickens? Last November, Hubby and I started our chicken adventure with fully grown chickens (1 roo/5 hens). They came from two different places--a farm show and production brown egg farm. All had been kept on grass. We were advised by old timers to put them together at night. When the chickens woke up in the morning, they all thought that they'd been together forever--they all were in a new home--it worked great. (Yeah, our biosecurity wasn't grand, but all the chickens were new and we'd never had chickens before.) We had eggs all winter. Best (or worst) $42 we've spent. (Then chicken math entered. . . .and we went crazy. But, that's another story.)

Ohio has many Amish & Mennonites. They sometimes keep their hens until they molt and then sell them off cheap. . .a lot cheaper than buying chicks & feeding them yourself for months. Also, the huge poultry show will be in Indiana soon. Many of the chickens will be for sale (high quality, fancy chickens). If you don't mind a drive, you could buy chickens there. see:

Buying grown chickens is just a thought. It worked well for us. I'm glad that I didn't have little chicks to worry about last winter with the nasty cold. This year, we got day old chicks and they're still not to a point where they are laying. Good luck. You'll learn about chicken tv, chicken math, etc. This forum is unbelievable to help one learn. If you have your heart set on little chicks and have a means of keeping them warm--I think generator, should you not have power-- then I'd get whatever I wanted.

Midwest Liz
I don't think there's really a reason why to start now or wait till later as far as health, etc.

One thing you'll definately have a problem with if you try to order now is that just about every hatchery you come across is going to be sold out until 2012. You may be forced to wait until spring unless you go through a private breeder/hobbiest near you or if you go to an auction somewhere.

Me? I prefer to buy now so by the time spring comes around I'll have laying hens so I can hatch eggs in the spring
I have emailed my question to My Pet chicken... they have chicks available, I have my order all set just dont want to do it if it will be too cold for them. I want babies, so my kids will be comfortable with them as they grow.

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