When to start raising hens...


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 17, 2008
Southern Maine
Hello All!
I can't get the idea of raising a few chickens out of my mind lately...I thought I would wait till spring, but can't let go of the thought of starting now.
I want to show my little guy (2 1/2 years old) new life, how to care for and nurture it, making friends with animals,...that sort of thing. I am looking for them to be pets, with eggs and pest control as a bonus. I've been researching and have found this forum to have tons of info for me.
My main question...
I live in Maine...it gets cold and snowy...should I wait for the spring to order?
We have 2 acres, and neighbors...any suggestions for a certain breed?
I'm pretty sure that I know the answer to the first question.

I am usually really good with delayed gratification...but not so much where this is concerned.

whatsup chickenbutt

11 Years
Sep 9, 2008
Why dont you get older gals? Thats what I did, just about a month ago, and I love them. Check your local classifieds. They are already aclimated to your weather, and that will satisfy your longing for chickens, and then you can wait for the spring to get the babies. I got 8 hens and a roo. 3 are old enough to lay now, and the other 4 are about 3 months old. They are so much fun! I get a couple of eggs every day and my little boy loves to go out with me everyday to check for eggs.


Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
You can get some baby pullets now if you look hard enough. Just will have to keep heat on them longer. Once they are fully feathered though, like 2+ months old, they will do fine outside in a non drafty coop.

If you wait till spring though, you'll have a wider selection of birds available as most hatcheries are sold out if you plan on going that route.


The Great Guru of Yap
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
The Carpal Tunnel Rehab Center
I say get both. We bought 6 hens and a roo, put them in the coop, and then bought six 1 week old chicks that are in the house until they are older. That way, your little guy can see what they look like already grown and get used to their behavior, and he can watch them grow from little babies too.


12 Years
Jul 1, 2007
Western, NY
Do you have a place to keep them right now? If they aren't fully feathered now, I'd wait till warmer weather to get chicks. But the building of a new coop can be the start to the full project too. It can take quite a while to build. Lots of folks think they can build it while the chicks are inside from day one - the 5wks. when they can go out, but many don't fulfill the project in time and have big stinky pullets in their home somewhere. Pace yourself, and do it right, get input and then get your chicks in the Spring, that would be my advice...

Have fun anyway.

the simple life

11 Years
May 2, 2008
Weymouth, Massachusetts
Why don't you post something in the buy/sell section in this forum and ask if anyone in your area is selling any age,breed etc.
There are plenty of people on this board that are always selling, some are right in Maine and some are in the surrounding area if you want to take a drive.

Just be sure to post the your state in the title.
Like- Looking for chicks/pullets/hens in Maine.
It helps people to zero in on your post if they are in the position and location to help you out.

Think about what you would like to be doing this winter, do you want to have a brooder in the house with chicks where you can see them more often and then move them out to a coop when they are older.

Would you rather just be able to have chickens living outside?
Just remember if you get chicks they will be in your house for a couple of months.
I keep mine in a brooder in the living room for a while, then I move them out to a big brooding pen in the garage, then its out to the coop after that.

I have both, its nice to be able to just take the chicks out to play, even in bad weather, since they are in a brooder in my living room.
But then I can always go out to the yard and hang around with the older ones.

It might be nice for your son to be able to hold chicks and get use to the idea than trying to catch a pullet or hen.
Also, if you get a pullet that hasn't been handled much and isn't well socialized you won't have much of a pet for your family.
They will still lay eggs and be pretty to look at but you won't be able to handle them.
Although, sometimes that still happens with some chickens not matter how much you handle them.
They are all different.

Here is another option, get an incuabator, some eggs, and hatch yourself some babies.
My kids were enthralled by the whole process.

Whatever you do, good luck and congratulations on joining the ranks of the chicken enthusiasts!!

I think you will have some luck posting your requests in the buy sections here, lots of reputable breeders.


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
MA/NH border
I live on the border of NH/MA so I have some idea of the winter you're concerned about. During Springtime, we raised 6 chicks (just days old) in our house in a glass tank with heat light. We converted an existing shed to a coop, with nesting boxes, insulation and heat lights (on timers). We built an outdoor run area that has layers of chicken wire buried 10-12" under ground (for predator prevention), which connects completely to the wire walls and roof of that area. The coop itself was a quick conversion so we were able to move them there pretty quickly. We finished the outside area as time allowed. In late September, we added 8 week old chicks to the coop. I found the the birds we raised from chicks are quite attached to us. They were regularly handled by our children and now follow them around the yard, enjoying many a hug. The chicks that were already 8 wks old when they came to us are skittish of being handled by us. They follow us around, but will often run the other way if you lean down to pet them. Just a thought if you are looking to have them as pets with the kids.

We have Rhode Island Reds and they have been very hearty, even through this past winter!! We also have a Buff Orpington. When I was young, we raised Black Barred Rock hens that did well in the cold. During the coldest months, I keep a wireless remote temperature monitor in the coop so I can watch how cold it gets out there. For the most part, its pretty manageable. Hope that helps.

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