Cold-weather people: am I risking lives by ordering chicks for March?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SeaChick, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    I am going to place my order with MyPetChicken today. Half of me wants to say "send them as soon as they are available" and half of me thinks it'd be more prudent to wait longer. The middle ground is to have them delivered mid-late March. I'm in Maine.

    There are two issues: the weather during delivery, and the weather when they're ready to fo outside.

    I'm combining orders with another person, so they'll be shipping us 10 chicks WITH a heating pad.

    They'd be 8 weeks old in about mid-May. It'll likely still be in the 50s at night then (we don't set out tomatoes until the last week of May here). Can I just rig up a heat lamp in a corner of the coop for them (I'll have to section off an area for them anyway)? Would that bother the big girls already out there?

    What experience do other northerers have ordering chicks early?
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Seachick, mine were shipped May 3 last year and were fine. No danger there... I don't have any other experience with cold-weather shipping, sorry. But I am glad you found someone to split an order with. Wish it were me!
  3. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    An old chicken farmer told my DH that my late Sept chicks would never survive the winter!!! They didn't get outside until early December because the coop wasn't ready. They have a flat panel heater on one end and a heat lamp in the other end (4' x 6' coop) both are plugged into the thermo cube, so they never go below 35 in the coop. They have done wonderfully and don't seem to mind the cold...yes they are a bit spoiled, but certainly you won't have temps below 35 so I imagine they will be fine! Once again...I love your pen!
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I live in Arkansas, just 6 hours from Ideal, who I'm ordering from. I'm still waiting until early April to have them shipped because I won't let my impatience endanger the chicks lives.
    Of course, our winter starts later than yours and will be milder. My chicks will be 6 months old before we start to get a taste of winter. I think it's prudent to wait.
  5. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    I would wait until around May. You never know what kind of weather will be going on between the hatchery and you. With the big storms this year shipments have been getting stuck in between. Just read Barb's post on hers arriving Dead On Arrival due to taking 4 days to get there with the bad weather.
  6. MikelJohn

    MikelJohn Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Abbeville, LA
    I live in extreme south Louisiana and I received my chics from Ideal last week. It has been hell! I have an another shipment that will arrive in April from Ideal. I will never order chics this early again. Warmer weather will make it so much easier. Having them in a warm house really doesn't help that much. I agree with gritstar.
  7. hart31

    hart31 Songster

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bowbells, ND
    I live in nw North Dakota and we can't put tomatoes until late may here either unless we want to cover then every night and sometimes they still get clobbered.

    I would think mid march should be fine. Yes, there is still a chance of a mail truck getting stalled in a blizzard but if you wait until may and order from a southern hatchery you could lose them from an unexpected heat wavew enroute too.

    I ordered eggs from 2 sources in january this year. One shipment arrived the morning it was -35F. They are on day 13 in the incubator and looking good. The other batch arrived one day later and were frozen solid. [​IMG]

    We've often gotten chicks in late march or early april and put them into an uninsulated coop with a heat lamp, a draft shield and just enough space so they could move away from the heat if they got too warm. By the time they were a week old the draft shield was removed.

    Draft shield: a 12 to 15 inch high piece of cardboard forming a circle around the heat lamp area. Usually about 3 to 6 feet in diameter. This keeps the cold air from blowing directly on the chicks when the coop or brooderhouse door is opened. It also eliminates square corners where chicks can pile up and suffocate.
  8. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Thanks, all!

    I checked and I can pick up the chicks at the P.O.'s central distribution center, which happens to be about 3 minutes away from my house! so they won't have to go out in a truck to the branch post office or anything. The only travelling will be hatchery>OH distribution center>airport>maine distribution center. If they do in fact come by airplane, the airport is only 5 minutes from the maine distribution center.

    Obviously things could still go wrong, but I feel better knowing that many of the distances are so small and some legs of the journey have been cut out by my fortuitous location. I think I will order for mid-late March delivery. Hope i don't regret it.....


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