How long to brood chicks? Winter costs of doing so...?


Not Dutch!
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
We finally got a hold of an incubator, and now I'm afraid it is too late to set the eggs. I would have to brood the chicks in the garage beginning October 20th or so, in Virginia. When would they be fully feathered?

I have the eggs and incubator ready, but how will I keep or afford to keep them warm through December? I'm not sure how long I would even need to warm them, because I have only used hens in the past and then only in the warm months. Please help and give insight! My six year old is excited to begin.
what part of VA? i'm from the powhatan area (midlothian/richmond/etc.)

i'm getting chicks on october 13th, so we'll be roughly in the same boat...

the earliest we have EVER put chicks outside in a separated section of the coop was around 4-5 weeks old. (quickly feathering breeds) and that was in perfect spring/summer conditions...

this winter i plan to see how the temps go. i definitely won't put them out any earlier than 8 weeks... (that way even the slower breeds will have time to really feather out)...

i will also probably try to take them out for an hour or two around 4-5 weeks every couple of days to get them more used to the outdoors.
I did that one year. Brooded chicks inside in the winter. Yikes not again. It cost about 15 to 30 dollars a month for the heat alone. Then its cold all the time and they can't get out any. Even in a large brooder they get restless and you have to have diversions for them. I do not keep mine inside past 2 weeks in april. With heat they seem to do well in the coop and run. They sure seem happier too. If you have a really nice spot for them that is easy to heat it might be different for you. Good luck with your peeps. Gloria Jean

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