My plans to run a batch of chickens for meat this fall did not pan out (darn knee that had me in and out of the hospital). I wanted to initially do a flock of something like Buff Orps or BCM, knowing the timeline would be longer, but that's out the window. My plan is to use my garden as the run, so they can do my cleanup and fertilizing After yesterday's hawk attack, I do know I'll have to cover it for sure, not a problem. I'll probably run electric as well, since it's just livestock fencing and not good chainlink with addition small hole fencing at the bottom (garden is 30'x40') I'd like to start with 25. I'm trying to plan out the whole logistics of the thing - I want to be able to process them before it's time to plant, but will I have enough time? How soon can they go outside (I've brooded in the house). I'm most worried about cold and frost with them, we can get frosts through May, and usually snow up to April. (Mid Michigan). How early/late do meaties feather out enough to not need a lamp and tolerate cool temps? I would have to get chicks at mid/end March at the latest to get them out of the garden in time for planting. (I would probably build a low coop/shelter for them, and knowing hubby, he will want to run a heat lamp to it - he thinks every critter needs a heat lamp ) Thoughts? ETA: If this works out, I'll probably do a flock of BO or BCM in the fall, knowing that it would be winter processing, which is OK by me, as that's when I do all my deer processing, heh. Rather process in the cold than the hot!!