Chicks now or spring?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kitkat6, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. kitkat6

    kitkat6 Out Of The Brooder

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    So I've gotten the go ahead for chickens in our backyard. I have my coop/run all planned out and have my five chicks chosen (three EEs, a cuckoo Maren and an Australorp).

    Now that all that is done...I'm anxious to get started and can't seem to wait till spring. Is it better in your opinion(s) to wait until spring so my young pullets wouldn't have to deal with our chilly, snowy Pennsylvania winter or just go ahead and get my coop ready and order my chicks now since they'll be inside in their brooder for a while anyway?

    I'm so impatient!!!
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At this point, wait. Chickens are a chore in the winter so better to plan and have everything ready to go before you dive in. Start working on the coop now even if that just involves gathering supplies to build it. CL is a treasure chest of often free building supplies. I would be first in line for chicks late winter/early spring. People aren't thinking about chicks at this time do your selection is the best it will be. They will be inside for at least 6 weeks so that puts you to mid April by the time they need to go out. If you have a garage, they can be transitioned out there earlier and outside in the coop by May 1st without heat or light. You won't have eggs until late summer but they will be able to do bug patrol all spring and summer.
     
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  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    First, I want to welcome you to BYC. Have fun planning for your flock. Second, I want to tell you that there is no wrong answer here. Either way, you will choose the correct answer for you. Third, I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd spend the winter getting the coop ready, and doing a lot of research. That way, when you get your chicks, you'll be ready for them, and very well educated to deal with what ever comes your way. It's so much easier to start chicks in the spring. Trust me, it's no picnic brooding chicks in the house. It's a great way to stress a marriage! No matter how often you clean their brooder, or how big it is, the dander that they produce will cover everything. It's not so much a smell issue, though there is that, too! But a dander issue. They produce a constant silt of shed skin, down and feather bits that flies everywhere. Also, tending chickens in the winter can be a drudge, with all of the shoveling and frozen water to deal with. And fourth: I'd recommend that you build your coop and run much bigger than you think you need. A bare minimum, especially for a small flock (you can more safely juggle the numbers a bit with a large flock) is 4 s.f./bird in the coop and 10 s.f./bird in the run. Even with that run size, they will strip it of all vegetation within a couple of months and rearrange it to resemble a moon scape after a meteor shower. And fifth: look at deep litter, and fermented feed, as well as fodder. Happy reading!!!
     
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  4. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I 100% agree with percheron chick. Get the coop together, brooder box, feeders, waters, everything you can get ready now, but wait on the chicks. I am in Ohio, so we have similar weather. You want to wait until the temp outside is the same as your brooder box, so it'll be late May or June before your chicks can go out. We hatch our chicks in March, keep in garage until May, they then move to the chicken tractor, then later in the summer to the big coop.

    Good luck with the new chickens, and by the way......

    WELCOME TO BYC!!!![​IMG]

    A good thing to do before you get your chicks, is READ UP! BYC is so informative. I read up a lot when we first got our chickens. One thing I have learned from experience, is that chickens are much more complicated than I ever dreamed. But they are awesome! And with the knowledge here on BYC, there have been many instances where one of my chickens would have an issue & I knew what it was as soon as I seen it because I had read about it here. Take care & Welcome!
     
  5. kitkat6

    kitkat6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Lazy Gardener! I've already decided on a poop box, deep litter and fermented feed. I'll also be doing sprouted seeds and groing my own fodder. I've got an overrun garden just waiting for them to attack.

    Sigh...I know I should wait till spring but it's hard! Thanks for the input!
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Oh, if you are ordering from a hatchery, place your order just as soon as they post availability. They often sell out on the popular or more rare breeds. You can order in January for a March or April delivery date. Check out Henderson's chicken breed chart.
     
  7. kitkat6

    kitkat6 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've checked out mypetchicken, meyer and cackle for chicks but the prices vary so much as well as minimum chick purchase. Since I'm only going with 5 chicks it's almost as if I need to order before December or else I'm going to have to wait until April because of the minimum order/shipping costs to even get the chicks which puts my egg laying out to next September! :-0

    Chicken math is just as hard as regular math!!
     
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's no more work to raise 25 chicks than 5. I would order whatever the lowest safe amount is (higher in winter to assure warmth in transport) and sell the rest. You should be able to end up with "free" chicks that way. Typically you should get $7-10 for out of the brooder and $15-20 for POL pullets. You can also put an ad up on CL looking for others to split an order with.
     
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Agreed - as long as one has the space needed to brood those extra 20 birds.
     
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  10. 2lilchkns

    2lilchkns Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm going to go against the grain here, but I say go for it now if you have done your research -- and it sounds like you have. I ordered my chicks from Ideal this time last year, and they arrived October 8th. I went with Ideal because I wanted a small batch of mixed breeds, and they had all the breeds I wanted. October also seems to be a good time to ship, where I am -- not too hot or too cold. But, I MOSTLY went with October because, like you, I did not want to wait! I had them in my basement for a little over 5 weeks, then put them in our unheated coop in November. They did great, despite the fact that I was a newbie. AND -- I had eggs in March! I tell you, going out and finding eggs every day just does not get old. Welcome aboard, and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
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