Benefit to buying chicks that are 2-3 weeks old?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MydearWatson, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010

    COMPLETE novice here. Planning on buying three hens in the Spring. I really, really want to make sure I don't get a Rooster. I cant imagine raising chicks just to find we have a roo and have to get rid of it. [​IMG] Is there a benefit to getting older chicks, say 2 or 3 weeks old? At what point do you know if you have a Roo? Also, I have been reading about blocked vents. If I got a little bit of an older chick, would I avoid this issue? I want my hens to be as friendly and "petlike" as possible so I would really love to raise them from babies but maybe it is better to get a pullet? Im just not sure. Any guidance would be GREAT!

  2. carrlr

    carrlr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    I would recommend you get sex-linked babies. Basically, at the time of hatch their sex is determined because of their coloring.
  3. barbieszoo

    barbieszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    Stillwater, OK
    I am in the exact same boat as you. And to make things worse, I'm getting silkies, and really only have sufficient room for two. They are notoriously hard to sex early. We live in a neighborhood and absolutely can't have a crowing rooster. But I want them to be hand-raised and very tame so I want to get them young. I know I will get attached to the ones I get and would have a hard time getting rid of any accidental roos. Wish it just didn't matter - oh to live out in the country. Good luck with yours!
  4. musson

    musson Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 27, 2009
    Hillsborough NC
    If you are getting them for pets there is a big difference in
    how they will bond to you. My chicks I got at 3 days old will
    easily let me pick them up, jump into my lap, eat from my hand.
    We got some other chicks that were 3 weeks old and never
    stopped being skittish around us.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You can get sex links (Golden, Red, Black) so that you can be sure they are girls. Also I read that Norwegian Jaerhons (a rare breed) are sexable as day olds...maybe it is true? Maybe there are other breeds that are like that.

    The sex links are a cross between two breeds and the babies are a certain color if they are a certain sex.

    I prefer chicks. But sometimes they do die, as do grownup chickens, and you have to be prepared for it mentally. I have almost a hundred chickens. I have 10 Golden sex links which are a cross between Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White. I have one Norwegian Jaerhon on order.

    I highly recommend that you get your chicks from a disease-free source like a hatchery or farm store. If you buy started pullets, you can buy those from the hatchery as well. But some people say they are not as tame as raising them from chicks.

    There are two hatcheries at least that offer small chick orders- BUT some hatcheries will ship packing peanuts = roosters to keep the chicks warm. Be sure you call them to ask if they will be sending roosters with your order. Putting roosters on craigslist works for some people.

    Don't get disease-laden chickens! Buy them young- the chick phase is just so much fun. [​IMG]
  6. phaethona

    phaethona Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010

    most feed stores have pullets separated from straight-run(which have not been sexed at all), but there's still a chance of getting a rooster in with the pullets. when we got our first flock of production reds, we picked 6 from the pullet bin and one of them was a rooster, so we re-homed him to a friend. with our 2nd flock, we wanted a variety of breeds, so the lady at the store showed us a "trick" to tell if they're male or female. she held the chick up-side-down(sounds rough but it's really not) and she said that if the chick curls her head up towards her chest, it's a female, but if it straightens its neck out and down, it's a rooster. now, I know this particular store to not always know what they're talking about when it comes to chickens, but it worked for us, we got 6 females.

    2-3 weeks is a bit early to tell for sure male or female I think(I'm trying to remember at what age we knew we had a rooster)
    you could go the sex-link route, but my sex-link is not even close to my favorite bird, she's skiddish and flighty, that's just my personal opinion.

    As far as having them pet-like, some of it depends on the breed, some breeds are much friendlier than others. my production reds are the most pet-like of all my birds. we spent a lot of time socializing with them from the time they were babies, and I can tell it made a huge difference because my second flock didn't get the same attention(we were busy buildng the coop) and they're not as friendly.

    good luck! make sure to read over the breed chart on this website(or other sites) and do a little research to decide what breed, I wish someone had told me to do that before I got mine, I would have known how flighty leghorns are and I would have been able to avoid my birds hopping the fence all the time. [​IMG]
  7. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    Thanks for the amazing information everyone! I have till Spring so I have time to decide what to do. I will have to do more research on sex links.

    Thanks for your help!
  8. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:Hmmm... Somebody was just telling me about that the other day, but she couldn't remember what meant roo and what meant pullet. There was a guy at the feedstore a couple years ago that said you could sex them by holding them up by the head. The ones that tried to claw you up and get free were roos, and the ones who just hung there were pullets. I tried it on a few sex-link chicks this spring, and found that it wasn't accurate AT ALL. I want to try the upside-down way next spring, see what it says on my sex-link chicks. [​IMG]
  9. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    Barred Plymouth Rocks are pretty easy to sex real early as well! And they are great brown egg layers, real hardy birds [​IMG] There are a lot of people n BYC who can give you Barred Rock sexing tips.
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    In my opinion, if it were that easy to reliably sex chicks by using the back-flip or head-hold or hat-waving or whatever method, then all those hatcheries could save thousands of dollars and not have to hire specially-trained vent-sexing professionals. And all those folks could go on to less nasty occupations than looking at thousands of chick butts every day.

    As you do your research you'll find advantages & disadvantages to each way to proceed. The older the chicks you get the more certain you can be that you'll be getting the sex you want. Sometimes you can tell as early as 3-4 weeks, it's more certain by 9-10. It's usually the roosters that distinguish themselves early, but sometimes you can't be certain if it's really a hen or a slow-developing roo. Some breeds show their sex characteristics earlier/later than others.

    Some breeds are sex-linked, meaning you can tell by color or feather pattern which sex they are right at hatch.

    And it's true that some breeds are more docile & tolerate handling better than others. While you can accustom others to handling if you get them very young, but there are still some that don't want to be held right from the start. If you want lap chickens, you'll be better off if you choose breeds known for their docility.

    Day-old chicks are lots of fun and awfully cute at that age. But they are more delicate, and sometimes can Cross The Road for no apparant reason.

    No matter what you decide, you'll have a whole huge BYC community here to help & support you! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by