When to get chicks when you live in a nothern state?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by vjbakke, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. vjbakke

    vjbakke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2011
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    I live in MN, it may be spring but we're still getting snow! When is the best time to get baby chicks? Can they start out in a non heated garage?

    Thanks
     
  2. Amyable

    Amyable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2008
    Greenleaf, WI
    Hi, I am in WI and waited til mid-May to get my chicks last year. You should be fine getting them now if you have a good heatlamp for them. Lots of fellow Wisconsinites have been hatching for weeks now.

    Enough with the snow already, right?! [​IMG]
     
  3. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    I think that they'll be fine in the unheated garage with an appropriate-sized warming lamp and brooding arrangement. How many chicks are you planning on getting? Do you have the coop already built? They grow fast!
     
  4. vjbakke

    vjbakke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 21, 2011
    MN
    We are planning on only 3-5 chicks. We are working on getting the coop set up. We found a local feed store and found the feed we want to use. There's a lot of things we need to get for them. Also what do you do with the chickens during the winter? Do they need a heated space? We have a shed that we are thinking of turning into winter housing for them.

    Thanks
     
  5. Amyable

    Amyable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No heat needed (unless you're getting silkies or really big-combed birds.) I used my brooder lamp for a few hours in the very early mornings to help keep water from freezing in the dead of winter. My coop routinely stayed 10 degrees warmer than the outdoor temp.
     
  6. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    With that few chickens, it might be difficult keeping them going through a Minnesota winter. They will most likely require supplemental heat.

    We have 40 chickens in an unheated coop that is by no means draft-free. We actually left the two south-facing windows uncovered this winter to increase ventilation. The chickens did much better this winter than in previous ones--with all the windows shut up the ammonia build-up was quite bad.

    I live in Nebraska, garden zone 5a, and our winters can be fairly severe, though not so severe as yours! We purchased but have not installed a 400 watt eco-heater, which is simply a ceramic radiant panel. It's currently being used in the human house!

    The shed might be able to be converted into a chicken house. What is it made from? Are there windows? Are you planning on enclosing a chicken yard, or is there a fence to keep them safe from dogs?
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We had -30 on two occasions last winter and a plethora of -10 nights. Simply not an issue. It is important to only buy cold hardy breeds. These strains were developed over a century ago in the absence of electricity. No farmer ever heard of such a thing. New Hampshire, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Islands, Wyandotte, Buckeyes, etc, etc all bred in and for cold weather. How did these breeds not go extinct? You would also not enjoy your electric bill if you tried, anyhow. It is unnecessary. Crows, eagles, sparrows, etc all endure winter and they don't have nice coops.

    As for getting chicks, mid April will put you past the ugliest weather. Most TSC stores will still be having chicks until the end of April, beginning of May. You've got time.
     
  8. MustLoveHens

    MustLoveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    Albion, Wisconsin
    Quote:I agree with relleia. With only 3-5 chickens, you will need to add heat to the coop in winter. A small coop would work better then a big shed for that small of a flock.
    If you "think" you will end up with more chickens then you will want to convert your shed for more birds. You may need to upgrade your shed to add electrical wiring if it is not already wired. There is a "safe" heater that is called a Sweeter Heater. It is used for chicks, welping boxes, and all sorts of livestock. You can either hang it or mount it on a wall and the heater comes in different sizes.
    Also your perches in your coop need to be flat and not round. With round perches the birds feet curl around the perch and leave toes exposed to frostbite. With flat perches the birds feet are flat, not curled and then the birds sets for the night, the birds body covers it's feet and keeps the feet and toes warm.
     
  9. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In *any* case (heated or unheated) you WILL certainly need something to keep the chicken water from turning to ice and breaking your chicken's water fount, so you'll at least need an outdoor-grade extension cord to get electricity out there. You'll also need to do supplemental lighting for a few hours September-March in order to get eggs (egg-laying is light-induced).

    Regarding the concern over electrical use, there is a "thermostatically controlled outlet" that comes on at 35 degrees and turns off at 45 degrees. I have one but haven't used it yet--with 40 chickens I only heat the water fount and run a 70 watt bulb in the wee hours of the morning to keep my ladies producing eggs.

    A light bulb is another way to "heat" a chicken coop. An incandescent lamp is little more than a heater that happens to produce a little light. It produces for more "heat energy" than light energy. Though thermodynamically, a watt is a watt is a watt. One-hundred watts of incandescent light is equivalent to a 100-watt heater, so if a person supplies light to the henhouse, he or she is heating the henhouse.
     
  10. chickensinwasillaAK

    chickensinwasillaAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wasilla Alaska
    I'm in Alaska and have 75 chicks arriving April 18th. They stay inside most of the time till about 8 weeks, then I turn them outside which will be Mid June.

    As for Wintering them, we have 50 right now, they keep the coop about 40 above in the coldest of winter. Chickens have existed for thousands of years,
    the get acclimated to the weather. Get cold winters? They'll insulate with more feathers. Just select breeds that do well in the cold (I say this but I've
    even had white leghorns over the winter.)
    [​IMG]
     

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