When to order chicks/pullets?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MojoWorkin, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. MojoWorkin

    MojoWorkin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 3, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Hi, I am thinking about when the best time to order chicks would be for me? Where I live (Upstate NY) it can be kind of cold at night until about the end of June. I would like to keep chicks in a brooder in the garage with a lamp and then transfer them to the coop as soon as they are able. Should I order them for the end of June?

    I am thinking I want them to be mature enough to be able to handle the cold temps of fall/winter... would they be old enough yet if they are 4 months old? Maybe I need to order them earlier so they will be cold hardy/mature by fall? Also, when do they molt? Thanks!
     
  2. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    MojoWorkin-It takes about 8-10 weeks for a chick to fully feather out and be able to handle cold/drafts/breezes. Last year we bought our chicks at the local feed store in March and after they were feathered out some we'd put them outside in the sunshine during the day and put them back in the brooder at night.

    Eventually putting them in the hen house all night with a heat lamp. We are in the high desert and it only got too cold for them at night.

    This year we have already ordered our chicks because I want them to be laying by the end of summer.

    Just be sure you have a set up for them where they will be protected and safe-as chick and hens-and order them on the best time frame for you. I think four months old is old enough to thrive even in the winter-especially if you have a nice snug hen house for them.
     
  3. MojoWorkin

    MojoWorkin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 3, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Thank you. :) If they molt, will that effect their ability to stay warm? When do they do this? Thanks.
     
  4. WildBurroShirts.com

    WildBurroShirts.com Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 4, 2008
    Carson City, NV
    Quote:I'm new at this but I ordered now so they'd be laying (hopefully) in time for Easter. More work keeping them warm but then they'll have all summer to lay (again: in theory) before they molt.
     
  5. Patchesnposies

    Patchesnposies Chickens.....are my ONE weakness!

    Mar 5, 2008
    Southern New Mexico
    They don't usually have their first molt until they are 18 mos. old. I think that as long as they have a warm place that is draft free, they'll be fine.

    You might have to put an extra heat lamp in the hen house. You'll be amazed at how you'll instinctively know what your girls need once you have them.

    Trust your gut and be a little over-the-top and they'll love you for it. [​IMG]

    Deb
     
  6. davidb

    davidb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2008
    north east Georgia
    I would think the spring would be the best time
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    In the past, I think I've usually gotten chicks anywhere between the beginning of April and the end of May. I actually loved having the later chicks. They could spend more time outdoors at an earlier age, when the days were warmer. They spent cooler days and evenings in the brooder, under the heat lamp. I just compared their current brooder temperature to the outside air temperature.

    Chicks hatched in June would be ready for winter, with no problem. When ordering chicks, I like to shoot for times when the temperature isn't going to be extremely cold or hot, during the shipping. That's what usually kills chicks during shipping, other than delays. I'd probably get them a little earlier in June, rather than the end of June, but that's just personal preference. I think you could also get them much earlier, without a problem. I don't like to order as early as February, though, due to the increased risk of shipping deaths. I would also set your brooder up in advance, to see what kind of temperature you can maintain.

    The other main concern about when to get chicks is when you'll have their permanent housing ready. Starting out, the chicks usually grow faster than we think they will and the coop building always seems to take longer than anticipated. So, you might want to factor your housing project into it, also.
     

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