We're trying out a new system this year. Instead of buying replacement layer chicks in early spring, we've decided to try buying them in late summer. Older birds can forage for much of their feed needs during the growing seasons, but regardless of forage, the chicks need a good growing diet to reach their full potential. So it makes sense to me to have the heavy feeding occur during the fall and winter, when the birds would need to get most of their food provided anyway.
Mid-September is a bit later than I'd like, though. Next year, I will try for early August instead. For this batch of chicks, I decided to try out the Black Australorp, since they are supposed to lay well during hot weather. We had a significant drop in production during the hot months this summer, so they should help even out our production.
I had originally ordered them to ship September 8, but since I ordered 50 of them it was pushed back to September 15. Boy, I'm sure glad they were, since last weekend there was a really bad windstorm that collapsed the roof of the brooder. Hopefully the weather will remain nice at least until they get some feathers on them.