Starting with chicks or started pullets—The Pros & Cons

Thinking of getting chickens but don’t know if you should get day old chicks or started pullets? Well then this article is for you. Enjoy! Brahma...
By Brahma Chicken5000 · Mar 28, 2018 · Updated Feb 25, 2019 · ·
  1. Brahma Chicken5000
    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.

    When deciding if you want to start with chicks or started pullets many factors will affect your choice such as breeds available, the time of year, and how badly you want some fresh eggs.
    The nice thing about getting started pullets is that they’re ready to be housed outside in their coop as soon as you bring them home. Chicks on the other hand require a brooder and a heat lamp.

    If you are an instant gratification kind of person like me and don’t want to wait for fresh eggs then you are better off buying started pullets.
    D402E054-53A7-4E05-AE89-7F50676FF365.jpeg Where are you going to get the chicks or started pullets 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 selection 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 :p).
    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 hatcheries sell started pullets, but they are only sold certain times of the year and breed selection is quite small compared to the day old chick selection of available breeds. On the bright side most hatcheries will ship as few as 2 started pullets so if you want to expand your flock by only a handful of birds you can. 241D8A19-B932-459D-AF6F-ADA100497DD7.jpeg
    Light Brahmas from

    Some breeders specialize in one or two breeds or varieties and some breeders have multiple breeds and varieties for you to choose from.
    Black Breasted Red Araucana pullets from Ann Charles of SkyBlueEggs. These girls were not cheap, but well worth the money for such a unique and amazing breed!

    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.

    Feed is another thing to consider when you are deciding if you should get started pullets or day old chicks. Chicks will need medicated starter feed until they are about 8 weeks of age and then they need to be switched to a grower feed until they are 16-18 weeks old and then they need to be fed a layer feed. Started pullets are usually 16-18 weeks of age and can be put on layer feed as soon as you acquire them. Another option is to feed an all flock type feed which eliminates the feed transition problems and cockerels/cocks getting too much calcium, but that’s for another time.

    Depending on the time of year you purchase your chicks you may have to house them inside for a couple of weeks until they are feathered enough to handle outside temperatures. Started pullets that have not been floor raised (raised in large warehouses) should be good to go straight into their new home as long as they are sufficiently feathered.

    Whether you choose chicks or started pullets your journey into chicken keeping will be a great one!

    I hope you enjoyed my article, here are some pictures of my flock :)
    51F6F4A1-B4D5-4ECE-BE54-35401ADCC3CC.jpeg 44C1CD74-17D9-4F0D-A81D-F3725529B2D9.jpeg CB7E4DD2-8359-4721-8023-9D8DAC590E4D.jpeg 68A322BE-708E-421D-A647-20EF205B5B09.jpeg 25650E01-B5AC-402F-80D1-5696961BAE0F.jpeg FA370444-6299-4981-BC09-241723A7F5C8.jpeg F3FCF56F-8798-4DA3-8012-D140CA9429B5.jpeg 4228EA26-DADA-4283-8830-2CFD3E7162CA.jpeg 6FFB9E8A-E5DF-427F-A8A6-6F8622065E4E.jpeg C6DC40E1-66E1-48CF-9A87-929A5D8E09C9.jpeg 8574562A-C52D-4966-BA4C-37BBB03674B1.jpeg 0AAEF027-55F0-4F0D-818A-7C9288910116.jpeg F78089DF-798F-4AAB-9115-9DEBCE6BEEEA.jpeg E112B333-4F1C-487F-B857-44CC1FE2A7B9.jpeg
    Edited for errors.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. ronott1
    "Excellent Article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Mar 11, 2019
    Very nice update to the original article
    1. Brahma Chicken5000
      Thank you!
  2. Anonymous
    "Not much information."
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jan 26, 2019
    Although the pics are wonderful more descriptive info in the article would be great.
    1. Brahma Chicken5000
      Thank you for the feedback
  3. MROO
    "Good Info, but BEAUTIFUL pics!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 22, 2019
    What a pretty, pretty flock you have! Thanks for sharing.
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.


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  1. Abriana
    Beautiful birds, lovely article!
    1. Brahma Chicken5000
  2. MagpieDucks
    :thumbsup :bow
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    2. MagpieDucks
      That would be: : frow—Just without the space.
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    3. Brahma Chicken5000
    4. Brahma Chicken5000
      Oh cool. Thanks Tim
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  3. chickens really
    Well Done...I enjoyed this...:frow
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    1. Brahma Chicken5000
      Thank you so much! It means a lot.
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