When someone decides to join the wonderful world of chicken keeping they may be unsure if they should start with day old chicks or started pullets.
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, an Easter Egger hen, 3 rescue bantams, 2 Silkie mixes, & 2 Black Breasted Red Araucana pullets.
I will now outline the options you have for starting your flock.
Do you want eggs now or can you wait a couple months until your birds start laying? If you are an instant gratification kind of person like me, you are better off buying started pullets.
Where are you going to get day old chicks or started pullets?
Are you going to get the chicks from a feed store, hatchery, breeder, or a farm?
Feed stores generally have chicks certain months of the year, although there are a few that carry them year round. Feed stores usually carry assorted bantams sold unsexed as well as supposedly sexed production breed pullets. Unfortunately it seems that many feed stores mislabel the chicks that they are selling and as a result aren’t the best option if there is a breed you must have. Feed stores generally require a chick purchase of 2-6 chicks. Hatcheries also require you to purchase a minimum number of chicks for your order. The amount of chicks can vary from as little as 3 to as many as 25 chicks. Beware that some hatcheries will send male chicks with your order for added warmth if you have not reached the required chick minimum! Chick hatcheries offer a large seles room of different chicken breeds and varieties. Hatcheries sell their day old chicks as either pullets (girl chicks), cockerels (boy chicks), or straight run (unsexed). If you decide to buy day old chicks take care to select for pullets if that’s what you want. Even when you pay for pullets there is a slight chance you may end up with a cockerel (Go ahead, ask me how I know ).
Almost all hatcheries offer marek’s vaccinations for day old chicks, so if that is something you would like make sure to ask the hatchery about it.
Some breeders specialize in one or two breeds or varieties and some breeders have multiple breeds and varieties for you to choose from.
A farm is a great place to find started pullets for your flock. Most farms will have many chickens for you to choose from. There will be production breeds, heritage breeds, large fowl, bantams, and maybe even some mixed breed chickens for you to choose from.
Another thing to consider is that day old chicks need a brooder, supplemental heat, and chick feed.
Where as started pullets are fully feathered and can be fed a layer feed or all flock feed.
I hope you enjoyed my article, here are some pictures of my flock
Edited for errors.
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