Spring has always been the go-to time for raising new chicks. Have you ever thought about why?
The main reason to this question is two-fold. Prior to the 1920 and 30s, chickens were not bred specifically for year-round and increased egg production. By the late 20th century many breeds had been developed to continue egg laying (although reduced in the winter) year round. So, prior to that development it was natural for the chicks to be born in the springtime when the hens would once again start laying.
The second part to this is that hens are typically broody in the springtime. So prior to the invent of brooder heaters and incubators, the hens were the only way to hatch the chicks. Those restrictions have definitely disappeared in the 21st century! And we can now choose to raise chicks almost any time of the year!
Advantages of a Fall Hatch
1. The biggest advantage to raising chicks in the fall is that your chickens will be the right age to begin laying in the springtime when it is natural for them to lay more eggs! Fall chicks will be a bit older when they start laying than their spring counterparts. Being a larger bird when they start laying often means that they will lay larger eggs and they will also lay more consistently throughout their egg production years.
2. Another advantage to raising fall chicks is that you are not fighting the weather. Fall chicks will be kept nice and warm in their brooder all winter, under your heat source. By the time that they are ready to graduate to the big coop, it should be warm enough for them to thrive. Several experts say that chickens who finish maturing during a spring chill are often hardier birds.
3. Raising chicks in the winter helps them to grow larger and be less prone to dehydration and other problems caused by heat once the summer temperatures start to soar.
4. If you are considering entering poultry shows getting a head start with fall chicks could give you a slight advantage. A majority of the shows are held in the summer and fall (in a normal, non-Covid year anyways) and a fall chick will be larger and have a more complete plumage than their spring counterparts.
I had not considered having a fall/winter hatch until recently. I think starting another set of babies is just what we need to bring this crazy 2020 to a close! I'd love to hear if you are raising fall chicks and as always, seeing your pictures!!
P.S. Visit our Shop to get all your incubating, brooding and Chick Fresh Odor Control products to help make your fall hatch the best one yet!