Joy...I know exactly where you are! I didn't go to Penn State but I sure had a lot of friends that did and/or went to Happy Valley for the Penn State games.
Our local feed stores get a limited variety of chicks in spring, and although they are sold as pullets, many cockrels turn up because the hatchery does a poor job of sexing the chicks. Low prices, but too many boys, and not vaccinated for Marek's disease. I have done much better ordering from Murray McMurray, Cackle, Ideal, or Meyers. Pick a list of breed types that interest you, and place an order. If you get straight run, or include cockrels for meat, 25 is not a bad number of chicks. Some hatcheries will send fifteen chicks too. If you happen to live within driving distance, that's even better. There are so many choices! Mary
Folly...Technically, I'm within driving distance of Cackle Hatchery but it is a 2-hour trip one-way. I'm still back & forth whether I want to make that trip or just have them send them in the mail. Since I'm *so* new to chickens, I can't help but wonder if I would be assured of success...and, therefore, increase my confidence....if I bought five or six 8-12 mo. old hens that were already laying & then add chicks as my knowledge (and confidence) increase. I would probably make that trip if I could do that.
Chickens are also sold here at auctions & often at swap meets but, again, since I wouldn't know what the heck I was really looking at, I'm afraid that I'd get taken by someone unscrupulous who would either sell me meat chickens as layers or sell me older hens that are no longer laying as young chickens still producing.
I really appreciate your vote of confidence that I could handle 25 chicks but I have to respectfully say...no way! Not only could I not use the number of eggs that many chickens would produce & currently don't have an outlet to sell or give away "extras" but I don't know that I'm prepared (yet) to deal with culling the inevitable cockerels for meat. Yes, I'd be able to round them up & take them to a processor that would "dispatch" them & dress them for me, but I don't know that I'm prepared yet to do the "dispatching" myself. I figured if I could get all pullets that I'd have 2-3 years to work up the nerve before they stopped laying & I'd be forced to "do the deed" myself.