It might seem like you can buy chicks or hatch eggs at any time of the year but there are some times that are better than others for increasing or starting your flock.
When should you buy baby chicks?
The best time of year to buy baby chicks is between March and June in the northern hemisphere. Buying chicks in Spring or early summer gives you the advantage of raising them on lengthening days and in warmer weather.
Below: A batch of newly hatched day old chicks.
There is a significant advantage to getting chicks in spring and raising them over the summer.
Can you buy baby chicks year round?
Most hatcheries sell chicks all year so yes you can buy chicks all year.
It is more difficult to look after day old and very young birds at certain times of the year and there is a higher likelihood they will get too cold in transit in winter and may die on route.
What is the best time of year to buy chickens?
The best time to buy chickens is early spring. This gives you a long first laying season and saves you the money you would have spent feeding your birds over winter.
You can buy full grown hens at any time of the year but when is the best time to extent your flock.
Below: A batch of New Hampshire Red bantams.
From a purely financial standpoint you don't want to be buying chicken feed to feed chickens all winter when they are not laying.
When is the best time to hatch chicken eggs?
Spring into summer is the best time to hatch chickens eggs. This will enable the chicks to grow big enough to survive the winter.
Below: A pair of Silver laced bantam chicks.
When it comes to selecting eggs to hatch, fertility peaks in early spring and fades during the summer to reach it's lowest point in early winter as chickens finish the moult.
If you hatch in spring and summer you should end up with a better hatch rate.
What should I know before buying chicks?
Sometimes chicks are sold as straight run only if you are buying rare breeds, bantams or broilers.
It may also be that the hatchery puts up to 5 male chicks in each box to help keep the others warm so you may end up with males as well even if you haven't ordered any.
You need to be ready for the moment they arrive to get them into an already warmed brooder.