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when is the best time to start keeping chickens

(15 Posts)
gatleygirl Wed 27-Aug-08 21:46:22

Hi, we are thinking of getting chickens, have the garden prepared, and i have my eyes on a great ark from woodenart! My DH thinks we should wait for the spring as too cold / dark soon to be getting chickens in the autumn? Is there a "best" time to start with chickens? I know they lay less in the winter, but is there any other advantage / disadvantage to waiting till the spring?

Also, does anyone know a good supplier of chickens/equipment in the north west?

Ta!

mehgalegs Wed 27-Aug-08 21:48:18

I would wait for spring. Wet weather and chickens is no fun, they can get messy, muddy and smelly. (I realise that summer is wet too.)

bagofhammers Wed 27-Aug-08 21:54:22

I am getting my chicken house delivered tomorrow but I've decided to wait until spring to get the chickens. I want to get 7 week old rather than POL so if I got them now I would have months of looking after them before eggs came.

gatleygirl Wed 27-Aug-08 21:59:26

Thanks - really I'm looking for a reason to get them now as i'm really excited! DH is the voice of reason in our house i guess...

bagofhammers, what sort of house are you getting? Just nosy, have been looking at all sorts and thinking of the "james" by woodenart ourselves, we've been out in the garden just now measuring up!

bagofhammers Wed 27-Aug-08 22:10:42

I'm getting it from ebay. Its similar to woodenart from memory. When it comes I will be able to let you know what the quality is like. Woodenart seem to have quite a good reputation.

thesockmonsterofdoom Thu 28-Aug-08 08:39:00

n o way will you be able to wait withthe chicken house in your garden, I don't think modern hybrid chickens go off lay as much as pure breeds, it would depend what you are keeping them on and things, I certainly coudln't have waited for my girls.

tortoiseshell Thu 28-Aug-08 08:53:04

I would definitely wait for the spring - they can get SO muddy!

dilbertina Thu 28-Aug-08 08:55:14

Well I'd just go for it TBH. In fact get them really soon so they're a bit bigger before it starts getting colder....

floaty Thu 28-Aug-08 09:49:03

Wee are getting ours in about a fornight,decidde to go ahead because September and October are usually quite good weather wise ,I am a bit worried about the mudd but judging by May this year teh Summer can be just as wet

gatleygirl Thu 28-Aug-08 10:52:14

we will be locating the coop under a willow tree in our garden so hopefully will be dry-ish all winter - the willow sucks out so much moisture we can't grow much there normally anyway!

woodenart can't deliver until beginning of november now so maybe i should wait (but i don't want to!) - but the wet /cold weather lasted until may this year so i still don't know when would be good to get them( looking at POL chicks by the way)....

BloodySmartarse Thu 28-Aug-08 15:07:38

id get em.
i want some new girls now as it happens...

TheDuchessOfNork Thu 28-Aug-08 21:39:59

gatley - I bought my current laying flock this time last year (replacing what the fox killed). They were about 20 weeks old (POL) and within a month they were all laying and laid well through the winter. I wouldn't worry about mud and dark evenings etc, you'll have to get used to it for future years and it's really not that bad.

Admittedly chickens cause the least of my mud problems. <goes off to plan yet another useless ingenius drainage solution for bottom field>

debbiedlemur Sun 31-Aug-08 11:33:32

We got ours from Woodenart and were really impressed with it, the guys who build them also come and put it up for you and they are really helpful a mine of information. The best time to get chickens is as soon as possible, there is no way you will be able to wait till spring! Whereabouts in the north west are you?

gatleygirl Sun 31-Aug-08 21:36:04

Hi, we are in stockport - we've just been to Moorlands Poultry near Leek today to have a look at "the girls", and the starter packs of chickens plus coop plus fedders etc they offer. The guy who showed us round was patient with all our daft enquiries! We have decided to go for it now and have ordered a "lucky chicken" covered run from ideas 4pets which gives us a lot of flexibility re what sort of coop/ark we go for as we can start with a small house and just out another in the run if we decide to get more! We've even picked out our chickens from the crowd! We'll start with 4, a white star, sussex star, daisy belle and a babcock. Woodenart look great but as they have a 10 week at least lead in period we may go with Morelands as they bring all the starter stuff, chickens etc all to us and set it up and give us a bit of a chicken tutorial for around £40. Thanks everyone for your help!

MarmadukeScarlet Sun 31-Aug-08 23:30:46

I would actually get them now.

You will avoid a moult until next autumn, therefore avoiding the off laying period.

Sorry, just noticed you have made the decision already!

Have fun with your hens.

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