Discussion and stories about the best time of the year to hatch chicks

BDutch

Songster
May 19, 2015
431
951
227
the Netherlands
My Coop
My Coop
When is a good time to hatch chicks? And why?

0f course this depends on where you all live. So this is and invitation to all the people on BYC to tell when they hatch, and why they don’t in e.g. summer or winter.

Please tell us about your climate and where you live in a way we all understand: e.g in Near Sidney Australia, Near Alabama in the Southern states US, up North (Toronto Canada), In the Netherlands in Europe.

Nice to hear too if you use an incubator or you let a brooding hen do the job.
We all :love pictures and your :old how they are raised. Do you keep them inside the house. Do they get sunlight. Do you keep the chicks separated untill they are 12 weeks or so?

Feel welcome to share.
 

BDutch

Songster
May 19, 2015
431
951
227
the Netherlands
My Coop
My Coop
I start with my own choices and experiences.

I have mainly Dutch bantams which are excellent mothers and reliable breeders. I don't sell the offspring , just 3 times I had chicks to gather more hens. And I gave the young cockerels/roosters away for free.

A few times I kept a rooster from summer until spring. Fertile eggs where no problem then. Once I bought fertile eggs from another breed.

I try to follow nature a bit and prefer to let them hatch in spring (April - June). Just like the wild birds do here. Then the weather here is good to go outside with a mother hen to take care of the chicks. Hatching in late summer and autumn is not recommended because the chicks have to be strong when its gets wet and cold out here. I don’t have a garage or a barn to keep the chicks. I can separate a part of run and made a small coop for a brooding hen there the last time to give the mothers a peacefull spot for breeding. My Dutch like to share a nest and do well as a couple to mother the chicks.
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I live in the Netherlands Europe with a mild climate and regular rainfall. From november till march we often have temperatures below freezing = 0’C in the night. All day freezing cold only a couple of weeks. Min in the night is never colders as -18’C (0’F) In summer the temp goes up to 30’C for s couple of weeks. Max 38’C (100’F) for a day or two.
 
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Willowspirit

Crowing
Premium member
Mar 14, 2019
1,732
4,864
382
Near Portland Oregon at 2Dogs Ranch North
I hatched chicks in October. Long story. Since it is getting below freezing at night I am keeping them indoors.

We are fortunate to have a partially finished apartment in a shop building across from our house. We have them in a prefab coop that has a fair amount of run space. The coop is in the bedroom space of the apartment.

They are doing well but getting big. I think they are all cockerels and so plan a bachelor flock area when the weather is better in Spring. Or maybe sooner if they are too crowded.

I wouldn’t hatch or acquire chicks this late again. It’s just too cold. We’ve had snow already.
 

Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,857
9,396
707
Northwest New Jersey
I hatched chicks in October. Long story. Since it is getting below freezing at night I am keeping them indoors.

We are fortunate to have a partially finished apartment in a shop building across from our house. We have them in a prefab coop that has a fair amount of run space. The coop is in the bedroom space of the apartment.

They are doing well but getting big. I think they are all cockerels and so plan a bachelor flock area when the weather is better in Spring. Or maybe sooner if they are too crowded.

I wouldn’t hatch or acquire chicks this late again. It’s just too cold. We’ve had snow already.
First, I have never hatched chicks. So take my story just as my own experience, not as advice.
Background, my breeder has a flock raiser service that I use. He will raise the chicks I buy from him until they can survive outdoors which means fully feathered. He raises them in his unheated basement. I have gotten spring birds and fall birds from him. Spring birds are easy because I enjoy warmer weather! I can bring them home at 5 weeks. I only need to be concerned about rain if I put the introduction cage in the run. They start laying eggs just at the time when days get short. Often they continue to lay a bit longer but eventually between 8 birds total I was getting 1-2 eggs a day till spring.
Fall birds are a bit harder because I hate the snow, and this year snow happened early! The first time I raised birds hatched October 1st I brought them home the Monday before Thanksgiving, 8 weeks old. We didn't get snow for several weeks. They were too young to lay eggs yet. By spring they were laying and I had eggs straight through till the days grew short again. I had used the short days to let them mature rather than have them reach maturity just as the days shortened.
This year I repeated my original purchase. Hatched in October, brought home the Monday before Thanksgiving. This time I have a big enough coop to set the cage up inside rather than in the run. They are doing well. I'm hating dragging water to swap with frozen water. (The adults have a heated waterer in the run. I'm not running power to a temporary cage, so I schlep water back and forth. Ugh.) I am looking forward to lots n lots of eggs come spring!
In either case the temperature hasn't been a problem. Properly conditioned October babies can survive very well in the coop by November. If not conditioned they won't do well when the cold weather gets serious. I'm thankful for my breeder doing such a good job conditioning my chicks.
So it's really just a personal choice albeit contingent on whether you are prepared to properly condition your chicks in the fall in order to start getting lots of eggs by spring, or do you prefer getting outside with your new birds in spring and waiting longer for eggs. I like both methods.
By the way, I do not heat my coop.
 
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