Originally Posted by flewdcoop
After lurking about this thread I would like to add my thanks ( both to Blooie for posting it here and the person who originated the idea ). It has forced me to reconsider my plans for starting my mini flock.
My initial plan was to bypass brooding chicks and just buying pullets, now I'm in the process of making a mama heating pad and a brooder area in the coop. Now I don't have to worry about a heat lamp starting a fire...YEAH.
I can think of only few reasons to buy started pullets:
- Chick sexing at the hatcheries is ~90% accurate. You can not have a rooster, will not eat your chickens and are concerned you might not be able to find a "Free to good home, must not be eaten" place to send any you get.
- #1 plus: You want a breed and/or quality you can't get from the hatcheries.
- You want eggs SOON rather than in 5-6 months
Those little fluff balls are SO cute. And they change week by week. You can watch their personalities develop as they get used to you being the provider of food and TREATS from the get go. And yes, the MHPB is "revolutionary" yet not. I really don't know how the "roast your chicks with a heat lamp 24x7 for 4 weeks" brooding method got to be THE BEST AND ONLY way to raise chicks. Maybe people couldn't find heating pads with the "don't shut off feature". Or maybe since a bazillion MHPs in a large commercial operation would be ridiculous, it was "scaled down" to the home chicken crowd. It is good for the people who sell heat lamp reflectors and the bulbs but unlike a nice heating pad, they are useless when you aren't brooding chicks.
If the circumstances were such that I was getting my first chickens now, rather than 3 years ago, I would have chosen MHP over "the usual" method. If you have read the entire thread, you know the benefits of a properly set up MHP and the drawbacks (there aren't any near as I can tell). And the benefits (the chicks live and grow) and drawbacks (hard on the birds (though they can't complain), totally unnatural, hard to regulate unless you have a LARGE space) of the heat lamp system.
If your coop is ready to go, set up the MHP in there. Since these are your only chickens, no need to even make a "brooding pen", just set up the MHP. They will happily explore their environment rather than be chucked into it one day.
I am SUPPOSED to be getting 4 White Chantecler Pullets for reason #2. Still waiting. Presuming I am ever notified they are ready to be picked up, I will find out how easy/hard/different it is to have chickens that did not grow up here. And how well/not-so-well integration with the nine 3 Y/O hens and seven 17 week old pullets (*) will go. Even though the younger 7 were raised by a broody in the coop with the other hens, the whole pecking order thing happens since they are all now almost adult size and are bigger than the Cubalayas. But even the Cubalayas are trying to hang on to their "superior position". It won't happen. But it has to be easier to change a bit at a time than be thrown into a somewhat static pecking order.
* All pullets I THINK! One of the White Rocks is sporting more comb and wattles than the other, also more red. But the two birds are the same size so I am HOPING one is just maturing faster than the other and will be the first of the group to lay.