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Starting with chicks vs. 6 month pullets - pros and cons - Page 3

post #21 of 23

We've done both. 

Our first group of chickens were inherited from friends moving that couldn't take the chickens.  They were older (the chickens, not the friends... well, they were too, but not relevant), but were used to being around people and being handled by kids so were still pretty friendly as pets.  Soon thereafter, we added five chicks - bought at probably a few days old.  The kids absolutely freaked for these - cute as hell.  The chickens that resulted ended up being noticeably more attached to the family and easily handled.  The downside is it takes 6 months until they produce any eggs plus all the cost and difficulty of raising them and integrating them into the flock.  Another year down the road, we decided to skip the difficulty of raising chicks and bought four roughly four month old pullets.  Upside - easy and cheap.  Downside - it took many months for them to warm up to the kids and allow themselves to be handled. 

We're now one year past buying started pullets and two years past buying day old chicks.  In hindsight, the day old chicks were cute as hell, but a pain in the ass.  The started pullets were less friendly for many months, nowhere near as cute, but very easy, inexpensive, and started producing eggs relatively quickly. 

Down the road, however, things start to even out.  The former day old chicks don't get the kind of attention they used to since they are not the stars of the show, and while still friendly, don't practically crawl in your lap like they used to.  On the other hand, the started pullets that began their careers afraid of the kids now are very friendly, follow us when we walk in the yard, squat, and let us pick them up without too much fuss (differs a little between chickens).

Long story short, they both can end up similar in behavior.  Chicks are more work and take longer to be productive, but more immediately bond with the family and want to crawl into your lap.  Started pullets are easier to quickly get into your flock and producing eggs, but will take awhile to integrate and become socialized with the family.  Both will likely end up about the same where their behavior is governed by the amount and level of physical contact they have with humans.  Chickens with you from close to birth seem more uniformly friendly where started pullets (in our case anyway) show a little more range in degree of friendliness. 

In fairness, ours is not a scientific experiment.  If nothing else, our five chicks were all the same breed and might show more uniformly "pet" demeanor by genetics.  Our four started pullets are each different breeds, so their wider range of acceptance of handling could be breed or the fact that they weren't all exactly the same age at purchase.

Hope this helps a little.

post #22 of 23

We bought sexed pullet chicks and got all females. We bought extras thinking we would get some roos so we ended up with more chickens than expected. Luckily the coop is working out great and was large enough. We traded to GET a roo. That person bought from the same store, same breeds, but got 1/3 roos.......we were just lucky I guess.

You might think about just one breed or picking breeds where you can tell the eggs apart. Our roo is a BO and we only want BO chicks so that we are not raising mixed breed chicks. Luckily we can tell the breed by egg color. That is not something I thought about when we were choosing chicks. I am glad I knew which breeds I was interested in when we went to the store.

I wish we had gone will all Buff Orpingtons after we have gotten to know our flock.

Our flock gets along GREAT because they have always been together. I think you will be happy about that part. When we had been feeding our chicks all summer last year and had quite a bit of money into their food, I saw pullets the same age for sale for about 1/2 of our investment, so I don't know why people are saying chicks are "cheap". I think if you were only thinking about price then the older birds would have been the way to go. But since we wanted to be entertained by the experience of having chickens, we are happy we got to know them as chicks.

What I don't know is how I'll resist buying chicks again any and every year from now on!

Movin' to the country, gonna eat alot of peaches!
Movin' to the country, gonna eat alot of peaches!
post #23 of 23

Starting with chicks Is arguably the best choice. here are some pros and cons of starting with day old chicks.

pros: pro 1: on 11/9/15 my family got more chickens( because we got 4 in april, but 2 died in the summer.)and the 1 and a half year old plymouth rock I got that day ( I also got a 8 month old Rhode Island Red, but shes very nice)is not very nice. a few days after my family got the new chickens on the 9th, I entered the henhouse. and I saw my plymouth rock( I named her Rocky.) sitting on the roost. the roost is only 2 or 3 feet from the henhouse door and I thought"I never touched rocky before, maybe with a slow, calm movement, I can at least pet her. its easy, shes only 2 to 3 feet away". so I slowly, calmly walked over and pet rocky. easy as that, but unfortunetly she had a spas attack( because getting 6 month old pullets is bad, and rockys a year and a half old, thats even worse than 6 months.). and she jumped in the air above the roost, voilently flapping her wing at what is seemed 10 times per second. and then she quickly jumped off the roost and ran out the chicken door of the henhouse. the end. so by getting them so young, you will bond with them and they will bond with you just as well as if you'd hatched them yourself. but if you get 6 month old pullets, they will be likely more flighty. pro 2: its fun seeing a chick grow up and its feathers grow in and its comb and wattle growing. pro 3: chicks are cute with their down.

cons: con 1: if you want eggs as soon as you can, you should get them 6 months old. by now, they would of laid their first eggs. con 2: there is no  con 2

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