Buying at feed store: what to look for?

PurpleGizmo

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 19, 2008
41
0
32
Enumclaw, WA
Hi there,

I will be buying three, day-old chicks (pullets) at a local feed store in the coming weeks to keep as pets. I'm planning to pick up a barred rock, a buff orpington, and a EE, though I might mix it up differently in the moment depending on my choices!
While I will be looking for bright-eyed, alert birds, I'm wondering if any of you have noticed any behaviors/signs in chicks of especially friendly birds.

Also, at what age can I start handling them and for how long? My inclination is to start handling them for a few minutes each the first day, but I've seen suggestions to wait for a few days—as if I could be that patient!—before handling at all.

Any suggestions?
 

luvmychicknkids

Canning Squirrel
11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
5,679
28
261
Floresville, Texas
Honestly, most baby chicks are going to scream and run becasue the big, bad, chickie eating monster is coming to get them. Start holding those babies the second you get them home and don't put them down unless you have to!!! You can't hold them too much (alright, you can if they aren't having enough time to eat). The more lovies they get, the more tame they will be!!! Good luck with the new fuzzies!!!!
 

selinagil

Songster
11 Years
Mar 25, 2008
402
0
142
Clarksville, North Florida
Yeah I agree with Luvmychicknkids---I didn't hold my babies that much and I don't have super friendly hens---nice and not skiddish but not so nice that you can hold them without a fight. I think the next one's I get I'm gonna carry them around all day long!!
 

melissastraka

Songster
10 Years
Feb 26, 2009
1,016
1
161
Hoquiam, WA
I hold mine every chance i get or my children have them either in their hands or are in by the brooder making noise so they get use to the loud kids. When you are buying chicks remember some places like TSC have a minimum of a 6 chick purchase. Just to keep in mind but soon you will be like the rest of us, chick-a-holics! I started with 6 hens in Aug, and now have expanded my flock to over 100! Good luck!
 

newchickmom

Songster
12 Years
Nov 8, 2007
720
11
184
Lafayette, Indiana
Another thing you might want to think about, a lot of the stores only carry straight-run so you could end up with all roos. Last year, I got 20 from Rural King and only 6 turned out to be pullets. That was a disapointment.
 

Oceanseve

Songster
11 Years
May 23, 2008
943
8
143
Guthrie, OK
I wouldn't worry too much about how much you hold them, as they get older so long as they relate you with good food, you should be fine. The 2 mo BOs we got last year did not get handled and were scared to death when we brought them home. hundreds of treats later the one we have left loves me. Though handling them as chics doesn't hurt so just do what floats your boat.

I personally prefer the chics that don't run after your hand has been in the box for a while. They come back and try to inspect, don't know if they are really any friendlier though in the long run.
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
75
216
Olympia WA
Sometimes the friendliest, most outgoing chicks turn out to be roos! Even if they are "sexed pullets", they do make mistakes once in a while. Sounds like you have nice, friendly breeds, so just grab one of the chicks that looks healthy.
 

Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
I would just pick healthy looking chicks, then give them lots of love and food in your hand once you get home.

You can sex barred rocks based on the white spot on their heads, just search this site and lots of threads will come up! BO's are hard to tell as little chicks, they all look the same. And with the EE's I've had I noticed that the more solid color looking chicks end up as roos. The cockerel chicks are also a lot of times taller.
 

debakadeb

Songster
12 Years
Apr 8, 2008
569
2
164
SW Indiana
Buff Orpingtons are pretty docile -- they may run from your hand but once picked up seem to calm down. I'm of the opinion that each bird has their own personalilty. You can really see this when you have a small flock. Six is a great number to begin with.
 

Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
I used to have the sweetest buff orps!
They were locally bred.

If your feed store orders from Ideal, I wouldn't get any BO's from there. I ordered two from Ideal this fall and they are nothing like BO's should be! They're skinny and tall (though they are hens) instead of nice and plump, and they are very flightly and not at all friendly. I'm so disappointed! (And I hand fed them and cuddled them as chicks just like I do to all my chickens...) I hope they at least lay well, they should start laying any time now.
 
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