Time when it's too late to buy baby chicks?

AZ RT89A

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
66
3
41
Massachusetts
I don't mean when you can never buy them again, but rather if you're too close to winter that they won't have time to adapt. I'm building my coop now, and should be done in about a month. Would that be too late for the chicks to be able to acclimate to the cold weather after coming out of the brooder? Or should I wait until April when Mcmurray lowers their minimum order from 25 to 15 again.

Thanks!
Ryan
 

Wxguru

Chirping
5 Years
Sep 2, 2014
269
25
83
ARKANSAS
I am building now...and get my chicks around halloween from Meyer's (only a 3 chick order min right now). After asking here, I was told at 8 weeks or so they can go out into the coop. But I am in AR and winters aren't as cold....I am going to keep a warming lamp for a short time in there until they are 10-12 weeks old before I cut the warm air off.
 

AZ RT89A

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
66
3
41
Massachusetts
Hmm, I don't think I'd be able to run any type of heat to the coop just b/c of it's distance from an outlet. If I have to I can wait until April, but I'm quite impatient
big_smile.png
 

Wxguru

Chirping
5 Years
Sep 2, 2014
269
25
83
ARKANSAS
I will be using an extension cord on a 20' run to the coop and using a 100 watt regular bulb. Those suckers put out some heat and should be enough to keep the coop warm enough here.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,235
19,972
857
Southeast Louisiana
Az from Mass, it’s going to depend some on what the coop looks like and how long you can stand to have them in your house or wherever the brooder is. My brooder is in my coop since I’ve got power there. I had chicks in there straight out of the incubator in February when the outside temperatures were below freezing. It is a fairly large brooder. I kept one end toasty warm but the far end occasionally had frost in it on the really cold mornings. That helped acclimate them to colder weather. After they got a little age on them, they would play a bit in the colder end during the day when it was warmer. That helps them feather out faster and get used to the cold.

I’ve had chicks out of this brooder spend nights without heat in my grow-out coop at 5 weeks old when the nights got to the mid 40’s Fahrenheit. I’ve had chicks less than 6 weeks old go through nights in the mid 20’s. That grow-out coop had good ventilation but good draft protection. And very important, they were acclimated. I think the oldest I’ve ever been was when I flew from living in sunny Spain and 90 degree weather to Scotland where it was misty rain and right around freezing. I’ve worked in -20 degree weather before and I wasn’t that cold. Acclimating is important.

I don’t know how cold it will be in Massachusetts when those chicks are ready to go outside. Probably pretty cold. I don’t know how you could acclimate them, maybe put your brooder in an outbuilding so one end can cool off or maybe take them out to play during the day, but it is possible to get the chicks now and raise them. It’s just not as easy as when the weather is warmer and there are more risks.
 

AZ RT89A

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
66
3
41
Massachusetts
I suppose I could build a large brooder to keep outside (I do have outlets next to the house, just not where the coop is) and then have a heat lamp on one part of it. And I can make sure it's covered in case of bad weather.

There is also an unused dog house that I may be able to convert to a brooder if need be.
 

AZ RT89A

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 17, 2014
66
3
41
Massachusetts
And I just realized that the hatchery is sold out of the chicks that I want through the end of this shipping season, so April it is, unless my neighbor wants to get in on an order :D
 

ECBW

Songster
8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
812
41
133
NJ
Is there a reason that you must have the chicks now rather than the spring? It could be done but...

Why create a potential issue instead of timing it smartly? The chicks will need to be in 95-degree brooder for the first week and 5 degrees lower in each succeeding week, until the outside temp is about the temperature needed at the stage of growth. Believe me that the chicks will be very active and want to "fly" the coop by 5 to 6 weeks.

Anticipation is tough but haste will get you headache and heartache.

PS. Looks like the hatchery made the decision for you. It is a wise one.
 
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islandgirl82

Songster
5 Years
Jul 4, 2014
1,426
316
198
Maine
Fellow New Englander here. It's much harder on the chicks when they haven't had time to grow out before our winters. There is also much debate on providing artificial heat. I do not and my flock does extremely well without the fire hazard. Also consider the damage that would be done to your flock in the event that they are accustomed to artificial heat and you suddenly lose power. That could be devastating for you and your flock.

I would recommend taking full advantage of the time you have before next spring to make sure your coop and run are completely ready for babies. If you find someone to help you fill the 25ct minimum order, go for it and get them earlier on (say, March) so by the time they're ready to move out of the brooder and into the coop, May weather will have moved in which is a great time of year to get them acclimated to the outdoors, gives them plenty of time to grow out before the temperatures drop and you'll have eggs by late summer to early fall and straight through next winter.
 
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MANNA-PRO

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