Raising chicks in the fall has some significant advantages, even though spring is the traditional time to begin raising baby chicks. In the past, chickens simply laid fewer eggs than they do today. Their top laying season was spring, so more eggs were available for hatching. Modern chicken breeds tend to be selected for higher production and near-year-round laying. This lets us choose to raise chicks almost any time of year.
Two Advantages of Raising Chicks in the Fall
When raising chicks in the fall, your pet chickens will be the right age to begin laying the following spring. They lay wonderfully once they start since it's seasonal for them to lay more eggs in the springtime as the days are growing longer.
Each young bird could lay as many as seven eggs a week if you've chosen breeds with excellent layers (such as the Rhode Island Red, the Australorp, and the Speckled Sussex). But even breeds that are fair or poor layers will be laying at their top speed. And believe me, those first backyard eggs you get from your flock will be the best you've ever tasted! You'll probably be eating more eggs, not only because you'll have so many, but because they're so delicious! So having your chickens laying lots of eggs is lovely since you'll have plenty to use.
A second significant advantage you get when you raise chicks in the fall is that--if you start them in early fall--their laying is delayed until your birds reach a larger size. While you'd initially consider this a disadvantage, they will generally lay larger eggs throughout their lives and more consistently when they experience increasing daylight at the right age.
Tips for Raising Chicks in the Fall
There are advantages to starting chicks in the spring, though, especially in the north. When you begin chicks in the spring, it's warm (or at the least warmER) outdoors when chicks are old enough to move outside. This means the transition from brooder to the coop is much easier because they'll be moving from their (by-then) room temperature brooder to similar temperate weather outside. But the traditional problem with spring-raised chicks is that the daylight hours grow shorter just as they begin laying. Therefore, signaling them to lay fewer eggs during the winter season. This means spring-raised chicks will be producing eggs sporadically for their first few months of laying compared to fall-reared chicks.
When raising chicks in the fall, the most important thing to remember is to be prepared to provide temporary supplemental heat. This will help your young birds transition to cold outside weather. If you are looking for tips on how to raise baby chicks? Check out our free Chicken Care Guide. We share all the tips and tricks we have gathered from our years of experience to make raising chicks easy for you.
Better Rare Chicken Breed Availablity in the Fall.
Have you had your eye on a rare breed chicken that you MUST add to your backyard chicken flock? Since raising chicks in the spring is the traditional time, finding inventory and getting that special breed you have wanted can sometimes be challenging. Raising chicks in the fall offers better availability of many rare chicken breeds. Some of our favorite rare chicken breeds that we find to be more available in the fall months are female Silkies, Black Copper Marans, Silked White Easter Eggers, and BBS Orpingtons.