It’s that time of year again pumpkins are in season and soon all the beautiful autumn leaves will have fallen off the trees. However, did you know fall is a great time to start your new flock or add to an existing one? Traditionally spring is when most people think it's the best time you should start your new hatchlings
, but did you know fall offer some exciting benefits? Chickens
normally reach point-of-lay at around 18 to 20 weeks of age depending on the breed. one of the best arguments for starting your flock late in the season is the arrival of fresh eggs in the spring. Day old pullets purchased in the fall will mature during the winter and will begin to lay their first eggs in the spring as the days grow longer. Not only will you have eggs in the spring, but eggs will also be larger, egg laying will also be more regular and steadier due to the fourteen plus hours of daylight each day.
Another advantage of starting your flock in the fall is pest control. Mature birds love to eat bugs and are known to greatly reduce and nearly eliminate ticks, mosquitos, spiders, and grubs along with a host of other insects that may invade your barnyard.
Delayed molting is another good argument to start a flock in the fall. Your chickens will lose their feathers (molt)
to grow a fresh set of feathers before winter. At that time the birds will divert protein energy away from egg production to produce new feathers and will stop laying until the molt is finished. Since a flock started in the fall will have new healthy feathers in the spring and summer they will not molt
until the following year.
When starting chicks in the fall you would still need to select a brooding area where you can control both the ambient
temperature around the brooder as well as within the brooder
, just like you would for day old chicks you would start in the spring. At about 8 weeks of age, you can introduce them to your coop
. However, make sure your coop is winter ready. Young fully feathered birds can handle 55 degrees, but should you be in an area of the country that is colder you can add a heating element to your coop. Use a safe form of heat such as a flat panel, radiant heater.
Gradually reduce the temperature for about a week or so to transition the coop temperature to the natural temperature they would experience in the coop without it, then remove it.
We hatch our most popular breeds
every Wednesday year-round. To check our availability, go to our website at www.mtheathy.com