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Do I have a choice of buying baby chicks or mature hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by allisonandbrian, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. allisonandbrian

    allisonandbrian Hatching

    Mar 1, 2009

    My fiance and I are as new as can be when it comes to owning chickens.

    We'd like to have a few hens to raise for the purpose of having lovely fresh eggs... and to have fun with as pets.

    We think we'd like to buy chickens that are close to laying age (20 weeks?) rather than day old baby chicks... Is this possible? The websites I have been to so far don't seem to be clear as to the age of the chicken... (I'm probably looking in the wrong place.)

    Furthermore, is it "better" to start with baby chicks and raise them yourself? I'm sure it is fun, but we thought since this is our first time that it might be better to skip the baby stage.

    If you order baby chicks, are they usually sexed?.... we live in an urban area and won't be able to keep males.

    What farmers/companies does everyone recommend? We live in Missouri.
    What breeds does everyone recommend for great eggs?

    Any guidance would be warmly appreciated!
    Allison and Brian

  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    If you are going to buy point of lay pullets, you'll need to find them local and pick them up.

    One sourse for these is craigslist.org

    When buying started birds one thing to consider is they may bring sickness & disease with them.

    That is why most people buy day olds, which can be shipped.
  3. psymonetta

    psymonetta In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2009
    Portland, OR
    It probably depends on where you live, but you could just check craigslist, the buy/sell/trade forum here or other backyard chicken groups and mailing lists.

    I know that I may have 3 pullets available later in the year, since I am raising more chicks than I intend to keep just to hedge my bets.
  4. juliechick

    juliechick Transplanted Hillbilly

    Jun 27, 2008
    Southeast AR
    [​IMG] You can either order chicks or laying age hens from a hatchery. The hens will be more expensive and you can only get one or two different breeds. I would personally get baby chicks because it is so fun to watch them grow. Also, if you get them as chicks and play with them daily, they will be tame and make great pets. Most breeds are available sexed from the hatchery, so you can get all pullets. A couple of hatcheries that allow you to get a small order are Meyer Hatchery and Mypetchicken.com.

    There are so many breeds... You can look on the hatchery websites or on feathersite.com to research breeds. Good old fashioned ones like Buff Orpington, Barred Rock and Road Island Red are popular. Most of us like Easter Eggers (called Ameraucana by hatcheries) because they lay blue and green eggs.
    I'm sure others will post with their advice too.[​IMG]
  5. allisonandbrian

    allisonandbrian Hatching

    Mar 1, 2009
    Thanks for all of the helpful info so far.

    So we should only have two different breeds together at the same time? Does this apply only if you get them at laying age? And why?

    If you get baby chicks can you get more that two breeds at one time?

    Thank You!
    Allison and Brian
  6. abluechipstock

    abluechipstock Songster

    Jan 13, 2009
    fort ashby, wv
    get baby chicks, you'll love the experience, from baby to layer, if you only want a few you can order from mypetchicken.com and you can choose what breed and sex you want, good luck and happy chickening:D
  7. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008

    I loved having my day olds...we got to watch them grow and mature..and even though i hate waiting it was really fun waiting for my first egg...every day i got in from work and RAN to the coop to see if i had a present

    all of my chickens are very friendly they loved to be held. When i am sitting in a chair or at the picnic table they will jump right into my lap for a scratch and i think this was because everyday i was holding them and talking to them. my chickens can be all over my yard (we freerange) and all i have to do is go to the back yard and call "girls" and all 10 of them come running like ..."hi mommy what treats do ya have for me now" and when i have had a hard day at work i will see the girls walking through the yard and its almost like they know my van cause they will come and greet me in the driveway but they dont do this with DH's truck

    i loved my day olds now as spring comes i want more....shhhhhhh! dont tell DH [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2009

  8. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Crowing

    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    Meyer's Hatchery in Ohio sells started 12 week pullets. But it's a whole lot more fun to raise your own from day olds!
  9. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    You can have as many different breeds as you wont but people that raise them an sell them at point of lay usually only offer one or two breeds. By ordering chicks you get a better selection. [​IMG]
  10. joanc

    joanc Songster

    Apr 26, 2007
    Shafer, MN
    Personally,I like to have the day olds to raise. They can be much fun to watch as they grow into their personalities. If you want layers you can order those from hatcheries, though they don't guarantee 100% sexing of the chicks, so you may end up with some boys. However, I've had pretty good luck so far, only 2 out of about 50 have turned out to be boys. If you order any from Murray McMurray make sure you don't get the "mystery chick" because it will be a boy.

    If you want to get fresh eggs (while your babies are growing up) check your local craigslist--there are people selling farm fresh eggs in alot of places these days.

    That will also give you a chance to meet some other chicken owners in your area.

    Good luck.

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