Chicken newbie -- start with chicks or adults?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lceh, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I'm new to BYC but I've been lurking for a bit while I tried to convince my husband to let me have 3 or 4 "urban hens" in a chicken tractor on our 1/3 acre lot. Now he's on board, and my dad's building this tractor for me for Christmas (see ; we'll use hardware cloth, make the coop part a bit bigger and put on a door to lock them in at night, safe from the urban raccoons).
    Here's the question: this chicken project is really my baby, but I also want to get my 6-year-old dd involved as a homeschooling project. We plan to get chickens in the spring, but I'm wondering if we should start with chicks or adults (we want Buff Orpingtons). I like the idea of getting chicks and socializing them well so they won't be too skittish. My kids would love it too. However, I've heard the mortality rate can be high. Is this true? How many chicks would I need to buy to ensure I'd end up with 3 or 4 healthy adults? I do have a nice warm laundry room I could use as a chick nursery, and I have a fair amount of animal experience, although I'm new to chickens. What do you experts think?
  2. Cason

    Cason Songster

    I am not an expert- no with chickens anyway. But! My experience... I've had very few losses of shipped chicks. I imagine I've had around 300 shipped, and I think I have lost one.
  3. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008
    I would get chicks if I were you. Like you said you can socialize them, and they wouldn't have been exposed to any unknown diseases(I don't think). If you buy them at the right time(warm weather but not hot) through a hatchery I do not think there would be too many problems with mortality. Good husbandry skills can make a world of difference too. Just do your homework which it sounds like you are doing and I do not think you will have too many/ or any problems. However you do have to buy a minimum amount, unless you buy at MyPetChicken.
  4. Foxhound lady

    Foxhound lady Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    TX baby!
    Start with chicks I'm a newbie too and the more you handle them they better off they will be. My girls follow me everywhere!
  5. chick2good4u

    chick2good4u Songster

    Get chicks! By the way, [​IMG]
  6. lceh

    lceh Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Thanks for the encouragement! I'm hoping I can find chicks from a local farm so I won't have the minimum order problem (alas, doesn't have Buff Orps). I guess the problem with this idea is that local chicks would be straight run only, and I can't have a rooster in the city! Hmm....
  7. chick2good4u

    chick2good4u Songster

    Quote:You can always order the minimum and sell on craigslist what you don't want...that's what I did. [​IMG]
  8. farmergal

    farmergal Songster

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    Not all local chicks are straight run... usually if you buy them at the feed store, they've ordered just pullets from a hatchery and had them shipped over. (So they're guaranteed to be alive for you, and they're 90% likely to be female.)
    Also, mypetchicken will have more BOs in the spring! They're just done with the 2008 season. See here:
    agree with the others. GET CHICKS! The only problem is, they're totally addictive. Once you start, you just can't stop. I just bought more BOs on Thursday because... well... a local had just gotten a shipment in from Sand Hill, and I couldn't resist!! They're such sweeties.
  9. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Songster

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    Get chicks. If you buy adults you aren't going to be able to hold them and pet them very much at all becuase they just don't know you. Chicks are just so much more fun and you can get a good bond and relationship with them.

    BTW [​IMG]
  10. Nugget

    Nugget Songster

    Sep 2, 2007
    Definately get chicks. It's so much fun, you'll fall head over heals for them. I've never lost a chick, just read up and enjoy!

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