best time of year to get chicks?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by abhaya, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I got chicks in early summer and they still are not laying. the days are short and cold so I dont expect them to do much till the days start to get longer. so I feed them all winter with no pay back.
    If from now on I get chicks in the fall I would feed them all winter and in spring as the days get longer and warmer they would be coming to laying age. That makes more sence to me. What do you all do?
    I moved to the farm in mid june and got chicks july 6 so no one is laying except the 1 chicken that was here on the place. my birds free range so I dont spend much on feed anyway just wondering if it was better to have tem matureing in winter or during the summer.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  2. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    i have been buying our chicks in february. i then only have the heat lamp on indoors for about 2 months, then by april they are already ready for their coop. By September or sometimes earlier, I start getting my first eggs from them.
    Its worked for me so far! [​IMG]
  3. fivecents

    fivecents Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    Strafford, Missouri
    I got my chicks in August this year and was able to have them out of MY house and into theirs when they were 4 weeks old--without any additional heat!
    They probably will be slow to start laying because of the cold of winter, but we were both happier (me and the chicks!) to have them outside!
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I always buy chicks in late April or May--this year my Black Stars were a May 29/30 hatch. That way the temperatures are warm enough so shipping is fairly easy on them and after about 5/6 weeks the weather is settled enough to let them outside--the less time under the brooder the better. This year my midApril chicks were laying by midSeptember and the Black Stars by midOctober. In the 25 years I've been doing this--getting chicks on an average of every other year--I've never had them fail to lay that fall. I would think in TN you'd probably be able to start them in mid to late April and having them laying--depending on breed--before the end of October, at the very latest. Also, in my experience I've never noticed that first year layers were effected by short days and cool weather as far as going into production--of course I do give mine 15 hrs of light beginning in September.
  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Depends on if you want your first eggs in May or September. If you buy chicks NOW, you might get eggs by May. If you wait until March, you likely won't see any eggs until September depending on the breeds chosen.

    I like fall babies for Spring eggs. Everyone is selling chicks in late Winter/Spring. Not many "point of lay" birds for sale that time of year. Lot's of them in late Summer/early Fall from all those Spring chicks.

    Hatcheries are pretty well sold out this time or year though, so you'd have to hatch your own. Shipping eggs when it's cold is riskier than when it's warm, since they can freeze in transit. So there are a lot of variables to consider about the actual access to fall/winter chicks and hatching eggs. Which is why the availability is like it is now, many buy chicks in Spring, since it's the natural process of the birds and the lowest shipping risk.

    Plus I just like having a winter project, and nothing is cuter than playing with baby chicks on the basement floor when compared to trudging outside to hang out with the grown hens in the freezing cold. On the reverse, I don't spend near as much time with spring/summer babies since I'm outside most of the time. I always brood them indoors for at least the first 4 weeks.
  6. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    Either way wintertime always seems like your feeding costs are more than what your getting back.
    I think that in my area the fall is the best time to get chicks. This way your 16week+/- waiting period is done over a time that your egg production will be slower anyways. I use to get mine in the spring but then they seemed to start laying only to drop back off shortly after for the shorter days in winter. You may have an advantage because of your climate though. Will
  7. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I try for late March, by 6 wks they're outside munching on Spring greens and bugs. Just the way I like to do it, 'cause spring to me is the strart of a new cycle of beginning.
  8. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    All year long is great [​IMG] It also helps that they are not all molting at the same time so you will still have eggs.Hatcheries are still selling the best laying breeds if you only want layers...and they sell them much cheaper than during peak season.
    We hatch year round and hatching like crazy now so come Spring we will have pol pullets available as well as day old chicks
  9. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    This year I'm doing a New Years Day Hatch and a hatch either in Feb or April.

    Most of my April hatch hasn't started laying yet. Jan. 1st hatch started laying their eggs the end of may for first of June.
  10. BunnyMomma

    BunnyMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 17, 2010
    Olin, North Carolina
    I like to hatch in November-Dec. and that gives me some cute chicks to play with on the short days of winter. [​IMG]
    Then the chicks are ready to go outside with the adults by April-May. I like to order chicks and hatching eggs. I don't like to order chicks in late spring or early summer. I did that this year and the heat was too much for them. [​IMG]

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