Updated: Nov 3, 2020
It's important to blaze your own trail. I certainly did when I quit my perfect post-college corporate job with a 401K and full medical benefits to start a chicken farm! Maybe that's not the best example. But I ask you, just because everyone raises chicks in the Spring, does that make it the best way to do it? I am here to say NO!
Sure, there may be a greater selection of bantam and rare breeds to choose from in Spring. But if you're in it for eggs, those breeds probably don't entice you. Plus, Spring can be a really tough season to predict for your young chicks. With so much Spring cleaning and outdoor projects to accomplish... why stay tied up inside with the baby chick brooder when you could be outside already collecting eggs from your mature Fall Chicks! Here are the 5 reasons we recommend raising chicks in the Fall/Winter instead of Spring/Summer.
1. Fair Weather
Fall temperatures in many places are generally much warmer in Fall than they are in Spring. This is a huge benefit when transitioning chicks from their brooder to their outdoor coop as there will be fewer nights that get cold enough to cause concern. In spring, the "last frost" date is never certain: it can be as early as March and as late as the end of May or early June! If you don't know it's coming, and the chicks don't have supplemental heat, a hard spring frost can be tough on a clutch of newly feathered chicks. Plus, it's said that chickens that overwinter early in life are much hardier.
2. A Most Productive First Season
Chickens are the most productive egg-layers when there are 12-14 hours of daylight or more in the day because the sunlight stimulates their pituitary gland, telling them it's warm enough to raise offspring. Chicks raised in the spring won't mature until they reach about 6 months old, near Fall Equinox, or about the same time we start to have dramatically darker days. Unfortunately, your Spring chicks maturing during this time will lay eggs more sporadically than chicks that mature during a season with sufficient daylight hours. Chicks reared in the Fall will lay 6 months later, around Spring Equinox, when the amount of daylight is sufficient for them to lay at peak production for their entire first year.