Eggs/Chicks/Pullets/Hens, but which one?

  1. Chicken Girl1
    So you have decided to raise chickens for eggs and are stumped on how to start your flock. This article gives you the different options on how to begin your flock with pros and cons for each way. Hopefully it will help you to find the best way for you to start your chicken owning adventure.


    Hatching Eggs

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    Pros: Hatching eggs that you have bought is a wonderful learning experience to have and moreover satisfying. Not only is it satisfying but the chicks tend to be more friendly when they are older since they have known you since hatch. You also will have a better chance of finding the breed you want available through hatching eggs then as chicks.

    Cons: If you’re raising chickens to sell their eggs only then this is probably not the best economical way to start, and unless you have a broody hen you will have to make/buy an incubator which would increase prices. Moreover once you receive them you will have to wait the 21 days for your chicks to hatch rather than having them there on arrival.

    Where you can buy some…
    Backyard Chickens Buy ~ Sell ~ Trade - Chicken Hatching Eggs
    Craigslist
    Check your local area
    Meyer Hatchery
    Murray McMurray Hatchery
    and many more!


    Chicks
    Age: day old – 2 weeks

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    Pros: Buying chicks seem to be the most popular way to raise your backyard flock. Not only is it reasonably economical but you get to enjoy their peeping antics. If you raise them from chicks they will not be afraid of you and if you are interested you could train them to listen to commands (here is a excellent article on the subject: Advanced Training Techniques)!

    Cons: It takes more commitment, time, and energy which you may not be able to give or want to take on. Most hatcheries have a minimum amount of 15 or so you may have to buy more then you want, unless you buy local. In addition you will have to wait around 5-6 months (depending on breed) for them to start laying.

    Where you can buy some…
    Backyard Chickens Buy ~ Sell ~ Trade
    Craigslist
    Tractor Supply or local feed store
    Local breeders
    Murray McMurray Hatchery
    Meyer Hatchery
    Ideal Poultry
    and many more!



    Pullets
    Age: 4 months - 11 months (depending on breed)

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    Pros: Starting with chickens that are on the verge of laying could be the option for you. Now an average pullet costs around $14, paying that much may be worth it if you don’t have the time and energy to raise or hatch chicks. Also they will start laying soon after arrival depending on age. It might be the best economical way for you to start your commercial egg business.

    Cons: Since they are all ready grown they may not be as friendly as if you had raised them yourself. Another con is since you paid more for it losing it shortly after arrival will cost more than a $2 chick dying that soon, and of course it isn’t as fun in my humble opinion as seeing adorable fluff balls running around in a brooder!

    Where you can buy some…
    Backyard Chickens Buy ~ Sell ~ Trade Forum
    Murray McMurray Hatchery
    Meyer Hatchery
    Local farm
    and many more!



    Hens
    Age: + 1 year

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    Pros: Laying hens are yet another preferred option if you wish to start selling your eggs for profit. Also they are laying by the time you get them, which means no waiting! Furthermore you don’t need to pay for feeding/taking care of them for 5-6 months without them giving you eggs!

    Cons: Be careful though, I would advise buying hens from someone you know or have been recommended by someone you trust because it is hard to tell the age of a hen when they are past 6 months someone may sell you a 2 year old chicken which is really a 4 year old one that isn’t laying much. They can also cost on average $25 (prices vary depending on age and breed) so you should be willing to spend some money on the bird itself.

    Where you can buy some…
    Local farm or friends
    Craigslist
    Backyard Chickens Buy ~ Sell ~ Trade Forum
    and many more!


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    About Author

    Chicken Girl1
    A chicken girl raising her flock of 20 birds on 10 acres, with lots of woods and privacy.

Comments

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  1. Jntnrmn
    Heidichapel, how does one go about getting ex-commercial hens?
  2. Organic Acres
    This article is missing the most important fact regarding the option of buying Pullets or hens: If you buy pullets or hens, especially from more than one source, you are most likely importing various viruses and illnesses onto your farm. Plus, you never know which illnesses they have or how acute they are; if one hen is brought onto your farm with a serious respiratory illness, she will not only die within a few days but will infect all the other hens that you bought as well. Bringing mature or nearly mature hens and pullets onto your farm is extremely risky, as the illnesses you introduce can persist on your farm for many years to come. Buy eggs, or vaccinated 1 day old chicks from a reputable hatchery that has a proper Bio-security program. Beware also adding new hens to an existing flock; I've lost my whole flock to intropduced illness by doing this!!
  3. Heidichapel
    Or you could rescue ex commercial hens! They re 18 months old, free from a charity, you get that feel good feeling of saving their lives and seeing them develop and regrow feathers. Mine have always been extremely friendly and I get on average 5 eggs a week from each hen. I ve had them for over a year now and really recommend them!
  4. ejsapp
    bought 8 production reds in sept 2015 started laying in jan 2016 as of feb 15th all laying have been average of 52 /53 eggs pr week they are laying machines. they are ruff on each other like to peck otherwise they lay large brown eggs.
  5. TwoCrows
    Very informative article!! :)

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