Advice for a newbie: Chicks or Pullets?

LythrumSalicaria

Chirping
Feb 19, 2019
21
81
69
Northeastern Ontario
Hello all! :frow

I’m very new to all of this, having just recently moved to a place where having a flock of chickens is an option. I’ve got a rough idea of where and how I’m going to build my coop, and I’m reading lots of articles in the Learning Centre and threads here on the forums so that I’ll have at least a rough idea of what I’m doing when I get my first chickens. The only thing I have left to decide is whether to buy Chicks to raise up myself, or to buy young Pullets. I’m really torn here. :hmm

On the one hand, from what I’ve been reading it’s easier to form a bond with birds that you’ve raised yourself. On the other, with me being so new at this I’m concerned that I might end up unintentionally killing my Chicks. That would be heartbreaking. :confused: It would be nice to raise up little Chicks though; I’m sure it would be a rewarding experience.

Can you form a bond with Pullets? I know you can with Parrots as long as you’re patient. I adopted my Green Cheeked Conure when he was about 7 years old and he became my best friend well within the first year of bringing him home. But I want to free-range my chickens as much as possible and I’m not sure how easy it would be to get the birds back into their coop in the evenings if they don’t trust me.

Advice and opinions would be welcomed and greatly appreciated. Warm thanks to anyone who takes the time to respond. :)
 

birdlover2

Chirping
Jan 28, 2019
57
121
94
Ohio
Well, as for rounding your hens up free range hens, (at least in my experience), will return to the place that they see as home at about sunset. This could be a co-op you set up for them, especially if you introduce them to the outdoors by putting them in the co-op at first, then they always seem to view it as home. I don't really know much about chicks vs pullets, but I do know that chicks and young pullets may be prone to dying. What resources do you have or plan to have for their care and raising them?
 

JurassicBawk

Songster
Jun 23, 2016
279
525
151
Hixson, TN
I got 4 chicks from the local feed store, all sexed female Americanas, two days old. I built them a brooder inside my house while I got their coop ready, and they were fun while little but very very messy inside. Then despite me predator-proofing the coop well, something went over the top and through the netting, and beheaded one of my 2 month old chicks. Then one was actually male, and I had to rehome him. Down to 2, I went to the local sale and found 2 that were a few months old and similar in age, so I had 2 that I had raised and 2 from a Memmonite farm with who knows what kind of background.

Other than the 2 that I hand raised coming up to me a little more and being a little more vocal, there's no big difference in them. They're all super friendly, but none really want to be picked up. I can handle them if I want, but none are jumping in my lap wanting hugs. It took 7-9 months for me to have eggs because of slow maturing during fall months, and if I had to start over right now I'd certainly be looking for pullets or hens instead of chicks.

Chicks are cute, but they're decently fragile, messy, and take what seems like forever to grow into egg laying age. I think if you got pullets and then kept them confined until they knew home and you, they'd probably be fine. And don't necessarily expect chickens to be as friendly and "people needy" as parrots. I've got a peach front conure that will scream and demand attention and want to hang out, and I've got chickens that will scream for treats but only want the treats and not so much my company.

I do have an Old English Game Bantam that I've raised from 1 day and is currently about 5 months, and she's the mostly friendly of the birds and will fly to me and run up/down the coop fencing wanting my attention. She still doesn't want to be picked up and cuddled on a regular basis. And I've got 2 rescue Polish bantams that I got at about 3 months old that were never handled and were attacked by other chickens, that will gladly come running up for treats and to chat with me. One I can handle and do things with, like dressing up for Halloween, and one runs away if I move toward her.
 

nchls school

Crowing
Apr 22, 2015
5,319
1,700
326
Tennessee
Pullets or chicks is a matter of personal preference. As for bond, It really does not matter which you choose. Pullets- you will end up with a flock of hens. With chicks you may have cockerels to deal with.
Do not expect chickens to be like your green cheek in any way. The bond with your green cheek works both ways and is strong The conure can show its affection to you. Chickens will not.
I've has conures in the past, green cheeks among them, and chickens-you have to appreciate them for what they are. Below is a picture of my present pets.

ablachserama.jpg

Serama bantams Lots of fun and interesting, but will never show the devotion of your conure.
 

Perris

Still learning
Premium member
Jan 28, 2018
1,702
6,655
387
Gower, Wales
there is lots of good advice in the replies above. The point about chicks may grow up to be cocks whereas pullets will not is important, as is the one about how long they may take to come into lay - I have one almost a year old who is yet to start, and I've had her since she was 8 weeks :barnie). I've also had birds from 8 weeks that were taken by a predator when they were on the cusp of laying, which was even more frustrating - and is something else to bear in mind given your plan to free range. As for bonding and friendliness, I've had pullets and chicks from 5 weeks up and hatched a couple too, and the personality of the individual bird seems to matter more than their age when I first had them. As you are just beginning, I would go with pullets - they are beginners too, but less so than chicks. Good luck - and enjoy :thumbsup
 

LythrumSalicaria

Chirping
Feb 19, 2019
21
81
69
Northeastern Ontario
Thanks for the help, everyone! I think I definitely will start out with Pullets. Maybe I’ll try my hand at raising chicks in a few years when I’m a bit more experienced.

And not to worry, I wasn’t expecting the bond with my chickens to be anything like what I’ve got with my GCC. He’s a special boy; I don’t think I’ll ever bond with another bird the same way I have with him. :love

As long as my hens trust me enough to allow me to handle them when necessary (i.e. when they need medical intervention or I need to move them back into their run in a hurry) I’ll be happy. :)
 

FlyingNunFarm

Enabler
May 28, 2015
5,602
31,215
1,047
Chesterland, OH
My Coop
My Coop
One other thing to consider is cost. Started or POL (point of lay) pullets will be more expensive to buy. That's because who raised them has been feeding and housing them.
Chicks are generally cheaper to get but then you have to feed and house them without the return of eggs.

I do agree with the others that individual chickens are just that, individuals. I have some that walk up and don't mind being picked up. I have others that you would think I'm trying to kill them just looking their direction.
They all get the same everything. Some are just more outgoing then others.
 

LythrumSalicaria

Chirping
Feb 19, 2019
21
81
69
Northeastern Ontario
Ahhhh!!! I shouldn’t have searched for “Pullets for sale in Ontario”...

There’s someone 3 hours away from me who has two gorgeous little Ameracuana/Polish Pullets for sale. They’re a little over 4 weeks old. One is black and one is blue; two of my favourite colour varieties on pretty much any animal. They’re so stinking cute! But the only place I could possibly put them until I can build a coop is my enclosed porch, and I might not be able to build the coop until May with how long it takes the snow to melt up here. :barnie

The porch has a concrete floor that would be easy to clean, and it would be simple to set up some sort of heating system in there if they needed it. I was actually thinking of converting it into a brooder room if I decided to get Chicks. I figured I could keep the babies enclosed against the inside wall with gates made from pallet boards and hardware mesh and then let them have access to the full porch once they got big enough. Unfortunately these two would most likely outgrow the space before their coop would be ready for them, and I don’t want anyone to get injured because of overcrowding.

Oh well; I’m sure I’ll be able to find birds that I like just as much in a couple months. I’ve still got a lot to learn; better to be patient and learn what I can rather than be impulsive and make a mistake, right?
 

FlyingNunFarm

Enabler
May 28, 2015
5,602
31,215
1,047
Chesterland, OH
My Coop
My Coop
With planning ahead in mind...when it comes to the coop, go BIGGER! Chicken math is real. When you bring home those first ones you'll think you have enough. Then the next year rolls around and you figure a few more won't hurt. When you pick up those few a couple more will catch your eye and somehow come home with you too.

I'll never forget the words that changed my life... "Ooh what are those?" Went for four and came home with six.
 

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