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Q: What time of year should I order baby chicks?
A: Depending on the breeds you want, you may find that there's a wait of six months or more, so we recommend you place your order just as soon as you're sure which breeds you'd like and the approximate time of year you'd like them. Of course, if you're not too picky about breeds, we usually have some availability for the next week's hatch! As to what time of year is best to receive baby chicks, we can offer some advice.

If you live way in the bitter north, we usually recommend looking at average low temperatures for your area and requesting a ship week at a time when your average low temperatures do not fall below freezing. It is not a problem to ship when it is very cold, as we have a wonderful method of shipping (that even includes a custom evaluation for each package), but when the *average* lows are above freezing, it is less likely to become very bitter during shipping, and your babies will ship more comfortably and arrive less stressed.

Aside from that caveat, however, the spring and early summer is historically the most popular time to receive baby chicks, for two basic reasons. First, they start laying eggs at 6 months of age (sometimes even earlier), meaning you'll usually get your eggs before the year is out! Second, it'll be warm when you move them outside at 4-5 weeks of age.

However, experienced backyarders often order their chicks to arrive in the fall, because in the spring, just as their young pullets are becoming mature enough to lay eggs, daylight hours are increasing. When you receive your chicks in the spring, by contrast, it is fall when pullets would naturally begin laying, but the decreasing daylight hours discourage egg production. If you choose to start your chicks in the fall, you'll need to transition your brood "outside" more carefully if the weather is cool where you live. My Pet Chicken generally has chickens available from February to November, although selections are limited (and minimum quantities increased) toward the end of the year.