Hi everyone! I'm new, so if this is the wrong forum, please bear with me Anyway, my wife and I just bought our first home. It's located on just under 4 acres of (mostly) cleared land. Our plan is to turn it into a proper homestead and--unsurprisingly--chickens are one of the first projects we want to tackle. Our long-term plan is to have 1 full acre of combined pasture and garden land, subdivided into 8 plots. We'll then try to get a crop rotation going, rotating each year. The chickens (and eventually dairy goats, but that's a project for another year) will range over 1/2 acre of pastured plots, rotating them on a periodic basis so that they don't over-graze/forage the plots before moving on. We're city kids so this is all new to us, so we plan to start small, learn, and grow as we can. Anyway, because of this I'm hoping to build a mobile chicken tractor (like this one) over the winter in our garage so that it will be ready to go in the spring (and be one less thing to do, come spring!) Long story short (too late?) my question is when should I plan on ordering chicks from a hatchery or from a local farmer (still not sure where we're going to get them yet) so that they are of the proper size and age to venture forth as early as possible? We live in mid-Michigan so our winters can be rather cold and sometimes unpredictable. I don't want to keep the pullets in the house longer than necessary, but I also want to give them the best chance to thrive. Basically I want to move backwards: 1.) When is the earliest I could safely move them outside? 2.) How long do I need to raise them indoors before then? 3.) How long in advance do I need to order chicks before they'd arrive? Thanks everyone!