Winter is the New Spring
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Raising Baby Chicks in Winter
Raising baby chicks has traditionally been a springtime activity. Chicks fit right in with the sense of renewal and new life that spring brings. In years past, when mother hens raised their babies “the old-fashioned way,” spring was the perfect time to do it. But nowadays we have brooders and heat lamps, and chicks can be raised just about year-round.
Have you ever considered raising chicks later in the year? There are some considerable advantages to raising baby chicks in winter you might want to know about!
Work With the Weather, Not Against It
Your chicks will be kept warm and cozy all winter long in their brooder under their heat lamp. By the time they have grown big enough to live outdoors, it should be warm enough for them to thrive. Some say that chickens who finish maturing during a spring chill are hardier birds.
Shipping day-old chicks is less risky during cooler months because there is a real threat of overheating while being shipped in spring or summer. Raising baby chicks in the winter also gives them time to grow larger and be less prone to dehydration before the grueling summer temperatures hit.
She’s Got Eggs!
Egg production is at its peak in spring and summer and at its lowest in fall and winter, due to the length of daylight. Since young hens begin laying at around 5-6 months old, chicks raised in fall will be ready to lay eggs as soon as spring comes around instead of not laying until the following year (as often happens with spring chicks).
The first eggs laid by hens at this young age are relatively small – about 1 1/2 ounces. But as the chicks mature over the next few months, the egg size increases to an average of 2 to 2 1/2 ounces.
The Best Time to Buy Baby Chicks – Take Advantage of Clearance Sales
You know how holiday decorations always go on sale right after the holiday? The same concept goes for merchandise made especially for raising baby chicks! Make the most of those sales and purchase everything you need for your baby chicks at a discount.
Easy Ordering from Hatcheries
Spring is still the busy season for hatcheries that ship to backyard chicken keepers across the country. Skip the spring rush and avoid breeds being sold out by ordering in the winter. There could be a reduced number of breed choices, but the breeds they do offer will be tried and true heritage breeds.
Be More Competitive in the Show Ring
If you are planning on entering poultry shows, getting a jump start on raising your birds could give you an advantage. Shows are usually held in summer and fall, so a winter chick will be larger and have better plumage than a spring chick.
Star Milling Co. is dedicated to providing antibiotic-free poultry food. Try Kelley’s Chick Quick Grain Crumbles or Ace Hi Chick Starter Mash to feed your growing flock. Visit our Poultry Care Corner for more tips and great information.