When someone decides to join the wonderful world of chicken keeping they may be unsure if they should start with day old chicks or get started pullets.
Well I have done both. My first flock consisted mainly of chickens that arrived at my house as day old chicks. My second and current flock consists of 2 started Black Ameraucana pullets and an Easter Egger hen.
Below are some questions and their answers that will help you decide if you want chicks or started pullets.
“Where am I going to get my day old chicks?”-
Are you going to get them from a hatchery, a breeder, or a feed store? Hatcheries have minimum numbers of chicks that you must order and feed stores have a minimum number of chicks that you must purchase. A hatchery will have a plethora of chicken breeds for you to choose from while a feed store may only have 4 or 5. Most hatcheries sell their chicks as pullets (girl chicks), cockerels (boy chicks), & straight run (unsexed). Even if you pay for all pullets you may end up with a cockerel or two (Go ahead, ask me how I know). I have never bought from a breeder, but it seems that many of them specialize in a small number of breeds and sell their chicks as straight run.
“Am I willing to wait 4-5 months for eggs?”-
Are you willing to wait for fresh eggs? If you answered no then don’t start off with chicks, get started pullets.
“Do I want very people friendly chickens?”-
If you raise your chickens from a couple days old and handle them a lot most if not all of them will be extremely people friendly. While started pullets on the other hand are raised up and generally not handled much because there may be too many of them for the owner to handle daily. They will tend to be a bit standoffish for some time, but with patience and a lot of treats they will warm up to you.
“Can I keep a cockerel?”
Many of us backyard chicken owners—myself included—are not allowed to have cockerels or roosters where we live. If you absolutely must have pullets then started pullets may be the right choice for you. Almost all hatcheries and feed stores offer sexed pullet chicks, but there is a small possibility that you may end up with a cockerel even if you pay for pullets, like me. If you buy young pullets you may end up with a cockerel although the chances of that happening significantly decrease if you get pullets who are close to lay—like I did on two seperate occasions.
Another thing to consider when deciding to get chicks or started pullets is the feed they will need. While 18 week or older pullets need a layer feed which contains a higher percentage of protein & calcium. Chicks on the other hand get started off on starter feed then they need to be put on grower feed and then they need to be put on finisher feed before being put on a layer feed. Or you could feed you chickens an All Flock or Flock Raiser type feed and offer free choice oyster shell in a seperate container once the chicks hit 18-20 weeks of age.
Yes I know that the title says Pros & Cons and here they are.
Starting with chicks Pros:
People Friendly Birds
Can have them vaccinated
Starting with chicks Cons:
May get an incorrectly sexed chick
5-6 months before you get eggs
Starting with started pullets Pros:
Eggs in less than a month usually
Starting with started pullets Cons:
Won’t be so tame or people friendly
That’s all I got. Hope you enjoyed my article.
Edited for errors.
Starting with chicks or started pullets—The Pros & Cons
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