Is it too late?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by KCMOLisa, Aug 22, 2014.

  1. KCMOLisa

    KCMOLisa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm picking up 25 Cornish Cross chicks on 9/4. I'm not too worried about the weather getting colder since they won't be around that long. However, the more I'm researching and reading this forum, the more I want some laying hens too. I know I can wait until spring to get laying chicks, but darn it, I want some now so I can start getting eggs in the spring! I am going to the hatchery to pick up the Cornish Cross and I know they will have a selection of other chicks there.

    My question is, do you think it's too late in the year to start with day-old chicks? I live in central Missouri where it gets pretty cold (as low as -10 in the winter for a short period). I have a room in my barn that I'm converting to a chicken coop. It's not heated, but it's not drafty either. I have never had chickens so I just don't know how long it takes before a chicken can withstand the cold. It shouldn't get too bad until late December, so that would make the chicks almost four months by then. What do you guys think?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Absolutely not too late. I'm in St. Louis so similar climate. I've started chicks in the unheated, uninsulated brooder house with a couple ceramic heat emitters all months of the year. I moved all of my day old to month old chicks outside with no heat yesterday. They're not that fragile. By 2 months they can handle a MO December.

    Go for it. The benefit of starting in the fall is they'll be laying eggs by spring.

    Are you going to Cackle or Marti?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  3. KCMOLisa

    KCMOLisa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, yay! Thanks so much for the info! I am going to Cackle. From what I have heard, Marti is closed down (which is too bad because Windsor is only 7 miles from me).
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I didn't know that. I'll have to look into it.
    I think they're still listed in the MO poultry yearbook.


    If you think about it, a mother hen can hatch out eggs most of the year. She can't heat all the ambient air. She only provides a warm spot and during the day, they don't spend that much time under her.


    [​IMG]

    That's all you're doing with a heat lamp.

    [​IMG]

    This picture was taken with snow on the ground outside.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. emmajane07

    emmajane07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same question! I am picking up a few ducks and several chickens early next month. I'm also in Missouri. I was afraid it was going to be too late of a start :) I'm happy ran across this. Thank you!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I think when it's cooler, they tend to feather out better.
     
  7. KCMOLisa

    KCMOLisa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote: I noticed they were in the poultry book, too, but their website is offline and their number is not in service. [​IMG]

    I have a heat lamp for the brooder box and I'm thinking of getting one of those heat plate-type brooder heaters, so they should be good on keeping warm when they're little. I just didn't know how quickly they feathered out. I am so excited now (even though now I have a lot more work to get done before 9/4)!!
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    If electricity is available you can move them to the coop (if it's built) immediately.

    Just think about what a mother hen would do and replicate that. All will be well.

    I prefer ceramic heat emitters rather than heat lamps. I give them 24 hours of light for 3 days or so and then gradually move them to 8 hours of dark.
     
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  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That's where the ceramic or any non-light producing heat source comes in handy. You can provide 24 hours of heat and regulate day length unrelated to the heat source. Non-light producing heat sources are more efficient too.

    Always make sure there's enough room so there's a cool space so the chicks can find their comfort zone. I haven't subscribed to the brooding method of 90-95 the first week and drop 5 degrees per week since the very first batch of chicks I've raised. I think that's most effective for large hatcheries with tens of thousands of chicks where they thermostatically control the whole brooder house and they don't have the space to allow the birds to find their comfort zone. Given a warm spot and cool space they wean themselves from heat faster and feather out better.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with ChickenCanoe. It is not too late. My brooder is in my unheated coop. They go in there straight out of the incubator or when I get them in the mail. I heat one area and let the rest cool down as it will, though make sure the food and water is in the sort of heated area if it is really cold, like below 50 or so. Last February/March there was frost in the far reaches of my brooder when it got down to single digits outside but the chicks had a warm area to stay in.

    There are a few “if’s” here but if the chicks are acclimated to the cold they can handle cold weather fairly quickly. I’ve had five week old chicks outside in an unheated grow-out coop with the overnight lows in the mid 40’s. I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights in the mid 20’s with no heat. But the conditions were they were raised in my brooder with only part of it heated so they were used to the cold, the grow-out coop had good ventilation but was draft-protected (no breezes blowing on them directly) and there were about 20 of them. There were enough that they could huddle together and keep themselves warm. If you take say 4 chicks, raise them in tropical conditions, and throw them into those cold conditions without acclimating them they would probably have big problems at those ages.

    I’m not that far south of you. I have chicks that will hatch next week and be raised by a broody. She might wean them at 4 week, she might wait until much later. Either way I’m not at all worried about it being too cold for them.
     

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