day old chicks vs. ready to lay hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mandierae, May 14, 2011.

  1. mandierae

    mandierae New Egg

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    Hello all! My name is mandie and I am new here. I am also new to the world of chickens. I used to help my grandma collect eggs when I was very small but that is the extent of my experience. I want a small flock of 6 or 7 hens and no roosters. I came across this site and have literally spent hours researching everything chicken. After looking through the breeds page I have decided I want either the Plymouth Rock or the Rhode Island red. What I cannot decide is if I should buy day old chicks or ready to lay hens. Is it harder for older hens to adjust to a new environment? or does age matter?
     
  2. jham86

    jham86 Out Of The Brooder

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    well according to chicken math, chicks dont count as chickens, so you have to get 6 or 7 laying hens, then you can also raise some babies. Its addictive. I was gonna get 4 or 5, then 10, wound up with 13 and thinking about what I'm going to add next.
     
  3. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes indeedy - chickens are addictive, whether you start with babies or not. If you start with chicks you have the fun of little fluffies, but a fair amount of work and a wait for eggs. Biggest up-side for me with chicks is that there is very little chance you're going to import any major disease or parasite problem, since the chicks won't have been exposed to much. If you start with laying hens you get instant gratification egg-wise, but you do have to be more careful about health issues since you may not be sure what those hens have been exposed to before you get them. But either way chickens are a whole lotta fun - good luck with yours!
     
  4. oceanwidedesigns

    oceanwidedesigns Out Of The Brooder

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    ^^ ditto to the above...
    ... plus, you never know how old they really are, unless they're still not full grown. For all you know they're past their prime and aren't laying much, or anything, anymore. I know in my area, the larger scale "egg operations" (I guess you would call them) are constantly pulling this wool over peoples' eyes. They even go as far as to appear as being other back yard chicken owners with small flocks.
     
  5. DancingHen

    DancingHen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could get POL hens if you want the eggs right away, but do take the time to search out a seller who will allow you to see where the birds live and see that it is clean and appears healthy. Although that is still no garuntee that there are no hidden parasites or diseases. I recently adopted a grown hen to add to my flock, and she is working out great. If you get birds from more than one source be sure to quarantine them from one another for a few weeks to watch for signs of sickness or parasites.

    The benefits to raising chicks are (as previously posted) the younger the bird the less likely they have been exposed to anything bad. Also, you have an opportunity to teach them to be handled and more used to you being around. Provided you handle them a lot as chicks.

    But it really just comes down to how long you're willing to wait for the eggs to start. Chicks do grow fast though.

    Either way you will love them, and eventually HAVE to get more.[​IMG]

    Welcome to the forum [​IMG] and to the wonderful world of chicken keeping!
     
  6. Totes Quackers

    Totes Quackers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We were looking at getting some laying hens, decided chicks would be too much work etc etc... when we went to pick out the hens we had to walk past all the chicks... my 3 kids were no longer interested in eggs or hens.. lots of aaawwwwww's! We initially went for 3-4 hens and came home with 6 chicks! It has been an amazing experience raising our chicks, naming them, watching their personality's emerge and now 5 months on we have 2 laying hens and 4 ready to start any day now!! It's been rewarding giving our girls all the love and care and watching them grow and now the kids are excited all over again and fight over who is going to collect eggs!
    Good Luck with your decision and yes chooks are addictive! I used to be a Facebook addict, now I'm a BYC addict.. LOL
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  7. mandierae

    mandierae New Egg

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    Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I think I have decided on getting ready to lay hens. My husband doesn't want me to have any chicks in the house...lol. My cats and dogs would probably be a problem there too. So, ready to lay it will be for me. Now where to get them? Is there any way to tell how old they are? I want fairly young ones. Also are there any kind of rescues that I might be able to go to? I like to give homeless critters homes whenever possible.

    I can see that I am going to become addicted to this hobby very quickly. This site is absolutly wonderful!
     
  8. mrchicken

    mrchicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2011
    Hens do have a harder time adjusting to a new environment,
    but it really does not matter. I started with chicks.
     
  9. guard278th

    guard278th Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Try to find some 10 week old pullets that are feathered out so you don't have to keep them inside or with a light on them and u still have the opportunity to tame them down abit , try Craigslist for starters under farm and garden section even if that person don't have what u r looking for they can usually point u in the right direction for other locals that raise chickens
     
  10. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also be prepared to work a little harder to socialize them. I got some 9 month old birds and they did NOT warm up to me at all and they were a friendly breed.

    There are lots of people who are selling chicks that are "off heat" and feathered out. You may still have to wait a couple months for eggs, bu honestly you'll probably have to do that with laying hens anyway until they settle in (the birds I bought had been laying and had already raised chicks...but never laid for me while I had them).
     

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