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Northern Michigan Baby Chick Questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TC_BokBok, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    Hello everyone. Just this month my city, Traverse City - Michigan, changed our ordinances allowing me to become an Urban Chicken Farmer. [​IMG] Here's my dilemma...

    I have a window of opportunity from the time that they are baby chicks till the time they are ready for the coop. Including the time to order them and wait for their initial arrival. However, we have some pretty intense and long winters here that can sometimes start in late October and drag on through March and April. Give or take a month, honestly.

    I've been trying the best I can to find out everything I can but in the sea of information (thankfully we have so many resources here at BYC) I'm a bit lost and concerned over whether I should actually order and get my chicks now before winter sets in or if I should just wait till next spring.

    My interest is in their well being and I absolutely do not want to introduce them into an environment they are not sturdy enough for yet due to their age.

    I have many ideas on my breed choices for egg layers who are also hearty in the winter temps but I turn to you all for advice. Should I wait? Will they be fine? Your experiences and comments are greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2009
    Michigan
    Hello from Michigan! [​IMG]

    If you start raising the chicks now, by the time that spring comes and you get around to making a coop, you should have enough time to move them out. Remember, they have to be inside/under a heatlamp until they can stand it on their own, and with the winters in Michigan, this can be quite a while. You could keep them in your garage in a small pen until spring, and then when the time comes around you can boot em out!
     
  3. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    heyyyyy, from another michigander!

    breeds....you have a great bunch of choices!
    Orpingtons, Australorps, Cochins, Sussex, Rhode Islands and even Ameracauna's & Easter Eggers stay plenty warm here in Michigan during the winters! they lay decently well as chickens go for winters too. i raise them here and researched breeds that do well in winters first. there are others, those are the choices i made.

    you can start now and you can always supplement heat if you absolutely HAVE to with a heat lamp but by all means do it safely. SECURE THAT PUPPY! and put a smoke detector out there with it if you choose to heat your coop.
    i don't heat any of my coops at all even here in Michigan. even last winter, as bitter as it was, i only kept my chickens locked in for a total of about 5 days max.

    you are about four hours west and north of me. not super far. feel free to come out if you're on this side of the state anytime! we love sharing ideas and having visitors! besides, we might have to throw a meatie on the bbq and have some pie too! find us here .

    please join us on the Michigan thread here on BYC! tons of people from michigan!
     
  4. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    Well in theory I can have the full coop and run created in under 2 months. That "should" be before snow hits the ground... maybe. Heating shouldn't be a problem in the coop due to the structure it's going in and I probably wont heat it at all. Already got some insulation from the garage structure itself. But having a temp gauge will determine this mostly and will certainly heat if needed.

    I just want to have some input on if I'd be mistaken to get baby chicks ordered now and start rearing them now going into winter at a young age. Even though they'll have a nice safe home I'm concerned about their exposure to elements at that young age periodically when they aren't in the coop AFTER they're no longer little chicks. I'm thinking in a 2 month time frame give or take order delays.

    Maybe I'm not seeing the big picture here and I'm just over complicating things.

    On a side note... happy to find some fellow Michiganders! Thanks again for everyone's help and comments. Keep em coming.
     
  5. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    /bump

    Thanks again for any suggestions you may have.
     
  6. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    we are waiting till spring to add to our flock.. i am afraid they will be used to indoor temps from being inside.. we have an insulated coop but they won't have winter feathers for it, since being raised indoors first.. what ever you do let us know how it goes for you.. this is our first winter with chickens too
     
  7. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    TC...afterward, they will be just fine. they will go in if they are cold. if it is too cold (wind chills that cause frostbite, treat like you would a child outside, or small dog etc) then keep them locked in if you are not sure.

    you can grease their combs to protect from frostbite. (vaseline, bag balm etc. i use vaseline or lard myself if anything, but most times, i have used NOTHING.)

    you can provide extra windbreaks with bales of straw and even make a little 'fort' inside the run, so they can go out into run, but be protected from winds here that bite.
     
  8. TC_BokBok

    TC_BokBok Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Traverse City, MI
    Jayne you're awesome!

    Everyone else thank you so much again. If I can get this whole thing built in a comfy amount of time I may have me some new chickies soon. Otherwise I'll just hold out till spring.

    I do like the idea you have for the run though. Very ingenious.
     
  9. bigoakhunter

    bigoakhunter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 29, 2009
    Michigan
    TC, Welcome from another Michigander! My chicks are 3 weeks old. I have an outdoor coop that is insulated. Will need to get a heated waterer. or a base to heat a waterer with.

    As far as getting them, it depends on how quickly you can erect the enclosure/coop.

    There are pros and cons on both sides. Cold weather is coming. But if you did get some, they would be ready to lay by spring.

    Jayne has some good breed advice! I went with Austalops, Plymouth Barred Rocks and Ameraucanas.

    Great to see all the Michigan folks.
     
  10. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    TC...well, who doesn't like a fort??? [​IMG]

    i don't do heated drinkers like bigoakhunter i just go out a few times a day and bust the ice and refill. of course when you have 11 coops it's really fun!

    we will keep the huge water trough filled and a heater on that, then i can dip the water out to fill the drinkers with! then i don't have to tote it too far. then i fill as needed with warm water from a hose that runs INSIDE to the house. it helps me a lot.

    nice choices bigoakhunter. excellent for Michigan winters. i have some Barred Rocks too. i forgot about them! [​IMG] (the chickens are everywhere!!!!) i hope you will join us on the Michigan thread mentioned above too!!!
     

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