In the last post on raising winter chicks, we talked about the benefits of starting chicks in the winter. This post will touch on a few of the concerns people sometimes have about winter chicks: heating requirements, when you can move the chicks out of the brooder, and shipping chicks during cold, winter weather.
The Cons of Raising Chicks in the Winter
- Where will you keep your chicks?
You will need to consider that baby chicks need a lot of heat, with temperatures around 90F for the first week, and slowly decreasing as the chicks grow more feathers. With that kind of heating requirements, often times keeping chickens outside in drafty chicken coops is not an option during the winter.
I always prefer to start my chicks in my warm basement. Having them close-by makes checking on them a lot easier, and since my basement is already pretty warm, I don’t have to supply nearly as much heat as I would if they were in a colder location.
- Where will you put the chicks when it’s time for a bigger space?
The next real concern with raising winter chicks is when will you be able to get them out of your warm environment and into a location more conducive to chickens? Because they really need added heat until they are fully feathered at around eight weeks of age, cold nighttime temperatures will need to be taken into account.
Chicks grow pretty quickly, and at some point, you will need to get them out of the brooder and into a bigger environment. Can you do that in the winter with cold nighttime temperatures? You will need a plan for getting the chicks out of the brooder box!
The last concern people have with winter chicks is shipping. Hoover’s Hatchery has taken great care to ensure their chicks arrive safely at their destination even during the winter months.
Safety / warming features on Hoover’s Hatchery winter shipping boxes include:
- Packaging the chicks with a foam ring around them
- An extra grass pad underneath the chicks
- Heating packs (very similar to hand warmers that humans use) under the grass pads
- Venting holes in the boxes are closed during the winter to prevent drafts
While sometimes things do go wrong during shipping, almost all of Hoover’s Hatchery chicks arrive alive and healthy during winter months too!
Now that you’ve read the pros and the cons of raising chicks during the winter months, are you convinced to give it a try?