WHEN to get chicks?


In the Wild Plum Yonder
9 Years
Mar 7, 2010
near Crater Lake NP, Oregon
My local farm/feed stores have just started getting chicks in, and they usually have them through the end of April or so. We're about to build a an insulated outdoor coop, but plan on raising the chicks in the house, at least at the start. I'm fine with small chicks in the house and maybe moving them to the garage as they get a little larger, but I don't want full-sized chickens in the house or the garage.

Looking at my weather forecasts, the average temps are:
March - high 40; low 26
April - high 45; low 30
May - high 58; low 40
June - high 68; low 48

Given that I have (or will have) an insulated coop and I have electricity to run a small heat lamp if I have to, what month can I take the chicks outside? Counting backward, then, when would be the best time to get chicks? I have the old plastic dog kennel (large size) set up as a brooder and I want to go get chicks NOW, darn it, but not if it means having to house full-sized chickens in my garage.
They can start in the coop, IF you can keep the coop - or rather, a brooder area in the coop, to the temp. needed per their age. The rule of thumb is 90 to 95 degrees the first week, decreasing by five degrees per week, until you are down to 70 degrees; at which point they shouldn't need additional heat. This rule of thumb is only a guideline. My chicks never liked the 95 to 90 part and preferred it a bit cooler.
I have ordered chicks for May when our temps. should be in the high 60s, low 70s during the day and high 30s to 40s at night. They will be in their brooder, in an uninsulated shed, for the first couple of weeks before moving to a segregated portion of my coop with the big birds.
I won't have chicks in the house at all. Can't handle the dust.
Word to the wise, always secure your heat lamp(s) in more than one way. We use chain and zip ties. They do fall and catch fire.
You can get chicks whenever you want, as long as you have a way to keep them warm until they're fully feathered out at 6-8 weeks.

I got my first batch of chicks in the beginning of February, in a cold climate, and they went out to the coop at 10 days old. Of course, I have a real weathertight coop, and had a heat lamp that could maintain the temperature at around 80 degrees.

If you've got an insulated coop and a heat lamp, you can go for it. It might be worth it for you to hook up the heat lamp ahead of time, though, and make sure you can maintain a comfortable temperature for them.

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