best time to buy baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jgervais, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. jgervais

    jgervais Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Jackson, MI
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    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.
  3. jgervais

    jgervais Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Jackson, MI
    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.
  4. OkChickens

    OkChickens Orpingtons Are Us

    Dec 1, 2010
    Owasso, Oklahoma
    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.

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  5. TexasGoatGal

    TexasGoatGal Out Of The Brooder

    May 11, 2011
    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?
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    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.
  7. NYRIR

    NYRIR Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Lol...I like your thinking [​IMG] Very frank and to the point, Fred [​IMG]
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    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.
  9. Flachickman

    Flachickman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2014
    I bought my 10 week old BSL's on Jan. 2nd, and the first egg came on April 13th. My girls were about 23 weeks old. I live in (hot) central Florida. This worked out fine for me and my BSL's

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