Chicks vs Pullets for a Starter Flock??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hokankai, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    So our family is a little late in the game getting chickens, but we are looking to get some around the beginning of August after our coop is built and everything is ready. The problem we are having is whether to start our first flock out raising chicks (are there still chicks available this late in the year???) or just getting some pullets that aren't yet laying. We'd love our birds to be comfortable around people and will be spending time with them often, but will pullets bond with you if you didn't raise them from chicks? We're looking to get 6-8 chickens as our first flock and live in SW WA with mild weather if that makes a difference [​IMG]
     
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I started my flock in October 2009, with baby chicks. (Lucky enough to find THE BEST FEED STORE around, still carrying chicks.) And I added to the original four just about each week through the month, so I had some 4 weeks, 3 weeks, and 2 weeks older than others.

    It meant brooding them over the holidays (not a problem for me, I live alone and no holiday guests) in the bathroom until they were fully feathered at 8 weeks. However, when the first four were 8 weeks old, the last two were only 4 weeks old. I did not want to have to put them out in separate batches.... so they all stayed in until the oldest were 12 weeks old.

    Very mild winters around here, BUT we had some highly unusual cold snaps. No problem there, either: I just put the heat lamp securely in the coop to provide supplemental heat.

    A lot of chickens slow down or stop laying during the winter. Mine weren't even ready to lay until March and April. So, starting late chicks gave me a jump on Spring egg production.

    Now, I will admit it's easier - and there's a better variety of chicks available - to get and raise chicks in the Spring.

    But you can do it in the Autumn and Winter. I think raising the chicks yourself makes a better bond; I bought two point of lay pullets this past February before my pullets were laying, and those 2 ladies just aren't as approachable and "me oriented" as the rest of my flock.

    That may or may not be important to you. Your mileage may vary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  3. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    Im not sure with how friendly pullets would be, guess it could depend whether they will be skittish or friendly. Couldn't you try to get chicks in July? And brood them for a month or two?
     
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW WA
    I could try, but we're working on building our coop this month so we won't be ready for chicks for a bit. I need to research up on raising chicks to see how difficult it would be in our situation (we bought a new house where the chickens will be staying...but we're living in our old house 10 minutes away that we are trying to sell). I personally would love having chickens that were bonded to us, so I'll do some research on chick needs and see what we can do [​IMG]
     
  5. slackwater

    slackwater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SoMD
    Chicks won't be ready to go into your coop until well after it is done. So...get some chicks now and brood them. A big old plastic container and heatlamp should suffice for a while!
     
  6. The Lisser

    The Lisser Chillin' With My Peeps

    I recently asked the same question - although my situation is that instead of looking to start new with chickens, I need to add some new pullets (out of my straight run chicks I only ended up with 2 pullets and 9 cockerels!). I got some great information for both sides of the question.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=367521

    I think I have decided to go with chicks again. I like the fact that you can order sexed pullets from hatcheries and I am scared of bringing a disease to my place, which is more possible with started pullets. My daughter and I really enjoyed raising our chicks from "babyhood" - I do think they are more friendly than the chickens I've been around at other places, and I think they recognize us as their people. It has been so cool to watch them grow from little fuzzballs into the beautiful almost-adults that they are now.

    Good luck!

    melissa
     
  7. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW WA
    Oh boy, well that is exciting! How much work would it be to raise little chickies? I know I have the time, just want to make sure I prepare myself, hahaha. Also, when do chicks head into the coop? And what if we end up with cockerels that we don't want? and one last question...if we want to end up with 6-8 laying hens how many chicks should we get?
     
  8. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    Quote:Its not that much work, all you need is a tote or just something to keep them in. A big aquarium can work too. Shavings-pine- or paper towels for bedding, a waterer and chick starter/grower. If you got them now/soon they would be fine to go out in 2 months when the coop is done. If you order from a hatchery, I am pretty sure it is 90%/93% you will get what you ordered, so you would get all females. If there is a mistake though, and you get a roo, just list it on craigslist or find someone near you to take them. So you can get 6-7-8, you are probably going to get all females if you order sexed from a hatchery.

    Forgot to add you need a heat lamp too, if it is really warm where you are they won't need it for long. First week 95-90 degrees, then lower it by 5 degrees each week. If they try to stay out from under the lamp, it is too hot and you with have to higher the lamp to make it cooler. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  9. jayne

    jayne Out Of The Brooder

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    I live on Fox Island in WA and got my chciks from Dells feed store..they had some that were a few weeks old already. They are doing great, had them in the garage until the coop was finished and are now outside full time. Growing well, didnt lose any and they are all very friendly. Always had pullets before as I thought I didnt want to mess with the chick stage.. but having the babies sure makes for freindly birds that are used to being handled. Also if you are not sure who you are buying your pullets from (craigslist etc)and are new to chickens you can easily be given old birds that are about finished laying.. happened to an inexperienced friend of mine.

    Happy chicken raising

    Jayne
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Just to show the opposite side, I have bought pullets, and really had no problem getting them to settle down. I just would go out and sit a bit in the run, with my coffee cup, and watch them. Course I am older, and didn't chase them like a child might want to, but mine come running to me, think I am wonderful supplier of treats, and give me eggs every day. They do not sit in my lap, but I don't want them to anyway. They just wander around my feet, and talk to me.

    Starting with pullets is that they are a bit sturdier, chicks are kind of fragile, and while you can raise them without losing any, it is a real possibility that some will die. Some people here get VERY upset with death. I myself, think that it is a natural part of the life cycle, and it is good to teach children that death is real and that it happens. If it is going to upset you, I think you might be happier starting out with pullets.

    You will get to eggs quicker, which is really fun. I think starting with chicks is fun, but really, if you like hens, starting with hens is rewarding too.

    mk
     

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