I have raised several groups of chicks over the past 20+ years but always in the Spring. The feed stores and hatcheries advertise the chicks and that is when I have always gotten them. But this year I ordered chicks in August from My Pet Chicken. No, my chickens are not pets. They are farm chickens that are raised for eggs. Anyway, the timing was right to buy chicks so I did.
In the Spring in the northern U.S. the weather is always unpredictable and sometimes the power goes out and when you are trying to keep your brooder warm that can be a challenge, to say the least. So I set up a brooder in the garage with my Brinsea in August and all went well.
I used a wire dog kennel that has a solid floor that I lined with shelf liner to prevent them from slipping. I attached cardboard on the sides with zip ties to reduce drafts even though the garage stayed at 75 – 80 degrees. They got under the Brinsea when they needed to during the first few weeks until their feathers came in. Once they had feathered out I removed the Brinsea brooder since they never got under it anymore. Remember, it was August and the garage was 75+ degrees. They never were cold. They also appreciated having more room to jump onto the roost and fly off it to the other end of the kennel.
As they grew they needed a roost. I used a utility knife and cut a slot in the cardboard and slid in a stick that rested on the wires of the kennel. The chicks love the occasional treat of dandelion leaves and grass shown in the picture above.
After six weeks in the kennel they were ready to move to the chicken house. I was ready too as they get soooo active and bored so you cannot open the cage without them wanting to fly out and they are chickens and chickens are messy!
Here they are in the chicken coop.
They should start laying by late January to early February. I’m not sure how the molting process will go in their first year. Normally they molt after their first full year in the Autumn when they are hatched in the Spring. Anyone have any experience with an Autumn hatch?
I have two Marans, one Red Star, one Sussex, and two Easter Eggers. Should be a colorful egg basket!