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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BarredBuff, Dec 13, 2009.
When should you order chicks from hatcheries?
Depends on how long you want to keep them in your house, which will depend on where you live and the climate. On many hatchery sites, it will let you choose when you receive them, so you can order ahead of time to make sure they are available when you want them.
Yea I would order now an set delivery to spring. If you wait till spring to order you may not be able to get what you want. The last 3 or so years the hatcherys have not been able to keep up.
Good advice from Cloverleaf Farm
IMO, springtime is the right time for chicks.
You can order very early in the year and specify a springtime delivery. That's what I do.
You'll find most hatcheries have the best selection in the spring too.
I personally don't order directly from hatcheries. We have many feed stores in the local area that sell chicks in the spring. Some of the bring in a large selection of breeds and they bring them in multiple times each spring. I was able to get all the breeds I wanted last year. I expect the same to be true again this year. The advantage with this is that the feed stores deal with any that don't survive shipping. (These feed stores are getting the chicks from the various hatcheries around the country that most of you are ordering from.) Also, If you are there soon after the shipment comes in you can usually pick which ones you want. If you choose this option start checking with your feed stores soon. Most will have a list available in Jan of which breeds they will have and what dates they will come in. Many of them allow you to reserve the chicks as soon as they publish their list. I have my 2010 wish list written and have been checking with the feed stores. None are ready to take reservations yet...
I have read a couple books by Gail Damerow on caring for chickens and she suggests April to July to get chicks and this is her explanation why:
Prolapse may be largely avoided by ensuring your pullets don't start laying too young; a pullet that starts laying before her body is ready is more likely to prolapse. Under natural circumstances, pullets mature during the season of decreasing day length. If you raise pullets in the off-season, the increasing day length that normally triggers reproduction will speed up their sexual maturity-the age at which they begin laying, the number of eggs they lay, and the size of their eggs-more so the closer they get to laying age. Pullets should be kept either on a constant 8- to l0-hour day or in decreasing light.
Pullets hatched from April through July may be raised under natural light. Those hatched from August through March need controlled lighting to delay maturity. Consult an almanac to determine how long the sun will be up on days occurring 24 weeks from the date of hatch. Add six hours to that day length and start your pullet chicks under that amount of light, natural and artificial combined. Reduce the total lighting 15 minutes each week, bringing your pullets to a 14-hour day by the time they start to lay. When they reach 24 weeks of age, add 30 minutes per week for two weeks to increase total day length to 15 hours.
Basically, it is easiest and a bit healthier for chicks to be raised in the spring unless you want to control the light hours. I also agree about ordering as early as you can, but schedule it for a Spring date. A lot of hatcheries start taking orders either after Jan. 1 or by Feb. 1. If you want a rare breed, definitely order early.