Chicks Vs. Pullets should i start with older birds?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by plymouthrockandroll, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. plymouthrockandroll

    plymouthrockandroll Hatching

    Aug 2, 2010
    I want to start a small flock but I'm having trouble deciding on what age I should get. I know I don't really want to raised chicks due to my work schedule. I already have a coop set up but I dont know what's a good age to get. Should I get them right before they start laying or should i get ones that are straight out of a incubator? I was hoping to have eggs sooner than later, but I'm afraid I wont be able to teach older hens how to go back to their coop at night. Whats the best age to train them without having to grow light little chicks or tips to get them to go to bed at night?


  2. atimme

    atimme Songster

    Feb 3, 2010
    Keep pullets confined to the coop for the first four or five days, you'll have to round them up after that for a while but they will get the idea suprisingly fast. I work two jobs and the chicks take care of themselves, it's not like caring for baby wild birds, as long as the water and food dish are full and the temperature is nice, they are just fine alone for 10+ hours.
  3. shoesky

    shoesky In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    We have done it both ways. We purchased 11 week old pullets. We kept them in their coop and run for the first week and after that we let them free range and they went back to the coop at dusk without a problem. We then purchased day old chicks- They are now three weeks old. We have not had any problems all 25 our still alive and healthy. I thought us being gone all day ( we both work full time) that we would have an issue. The 11 week olds ( now 19 weeks) are going to give me eggs sooner. lol
  4. hokankai

    hokankai Songster

    May 18, 2010
    SW WA
    I had the exact same question when we started our flock of 8. I expected to get pullets when I first started researching but was quickly convinced to give chicks a try. I LOVE the chicks! They are so much fun and all I have to do is refill stuff and adjust the light. I've been putting a lot more work into mine even though I work, and have handled them since they were 3 days old. They are very hand-tame, friendly, and adorable [​IMG]. Go with chicks if you have the time at least once a day to check on them, refill their food/water, and clean up the brooder every week. go with pullets if you want to save money and don't mind having to work with older birds to get them used to you.

    I was so afraid to get chicks because I didn't know anything about them, but I am so happy I went with chicks.
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I prefer day-old chicks from a hatchery because there is less chance of their bringing in disease and parasites. As far as care, this spring we went away for 3 days a week after I received shipment of 32 chicks--I just made sure they had ample food and water and didn't worry about them. They were all fine when we returned--still had stuff left.

    The down side is that it will take a couple of months longer to get eggs.
  6. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:If you want eggs sooner and you don't want to raise chicks, then of course get point of lay pullets. As others have explained, it's very easy to get the pullets used to their new home by keeping them confined for a period before you let them out. Chickens pick up routines very quickly, no matter their age.

    I wouldn't worry too much about disease coming from older birds since you don't already have an established flock.
  7. apryl

    apryl In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2010
    Southern Kentucky
    I started with chicks, and didn't have the best of luck, however part of that was my own fault. I found this board after I lost part of my first 21 chicks, and I have read a lot of great advice here, and think that the new chicks that are due to arrive here on Thursday will fare a lot better than some of the last one's I tried to raise.
  8. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    You can absolutely teach any age chicken where "new home" is. [​IMG] I just recently brought home a 5 month old Dark Brahma and she is in one of my coops with two 10 week old Wyandottes. She has adjusted wonderfully, and definately knows where safety and home is. The ONLY thing I don't like is she wasn't handled much in her previous home, so she is not a total lap chicken like I had hoped. But I also got 2 Wyandottes at 8-10 weeks rather then as new chicks and one of them is a TOTAL lovebug.

    I understand not being able to brood though, that's why I got older Wyandottes so I could just move them right outside. It went well and I think you will have luck with getting older girls. Plus then you have a better chance of sexing them [​IMG]

    What breeds are you thinking of getting? Happy Chicking!
  9. harley

    harley In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Landrum SC
    It sounds to me you want chickens for eggs and not pets. I would suggest buying pullets that are about to start laying. That is some that are at least 4 to 6 months old depending on their breed. When you start off with chicks you have 4 plus months of feeding and that cost a pretty penny and you may lose some of them also due to a host of reasons.

    I have been raising chickens for about two years now and my main interest is eggs, eggs and more eggs. I started with what i believed to be laying hens, but of the four i purchased two were hens and the other two turn out to be roosters. That was about two years ago.

    i still have one of the hens and she lays every once in a while and i have one of the roosters. Now that boy knows how to take care of chickens and keeps them happy but he is mean as a rattlesnake but he knows to move back when i come in the coop or fence. We have had several battles on who was to be boss. So far i am winning.

    Then my next purchase was 14 black sex links and i purchased them as young pullets. At about 4 months some of them started laying, while some took longer. They arent laying as good as they once were but they are now about year and half old. I plan on replaceing them next spring with some chicks i have coming along. Once they start laying good i will get rid of the older chickens.

    I have about 60 pullets of different breeds that i am hoping will take over for my chickens now.

    If i had it all to do over with i would buy pullets only and not have to wait so long for eggs.

    Now the breed you should get depends on what you are looking for. If its for eggs then the australorp is one of the best laying eggs there is as well as plymouth barred rock or white rock. Australorps have been know to lay in excess of 300 eggs per year. Both of these chickens lay brown eggs so that makes a different on if you want brown eggs or white of those colored eggs. I prefer brown eggs since they seem to sell better for me.

    My two cents worth
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  10. plymouthrockandroll

    plymouthrockandroll Hatching

    Aug 2, 2010
    thank you sooooooooo much!!!!!![​IMG]

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