Is it better for newbie to hatch eggs or buy chicks?


9 Years
Feb 18, 2010
Edisto Island, SC
I am new to raising chicks. I have read a few books but am having a dilema. Is it usually better to start with day old chicks or try to hatch eggs using an incubator? I would be getting chicks from tractor supply when they have their "chicken days". I probably won't be getting more than 7, 8 chicks at the most. Not sure yet. I am sure I will fall in love with more than that. Not sure where I would get eggs from. I guess I could get some from here or ebay. Looking to raise orphingtons most likely. Chickens that would be sweet to my three kids. Thanks alot for any info.


9 Years
Jan 30, 2010
It is stressful! And when you find quitters it's so sad!

But when you start hearing the taps and the chirps, it's sooo worth it!


9 Years
Feb 18, 2010
Edisto Island, SC
I have a feeling I am going to end up with more than 6
I keep telling 6 plus one roo to my husband so he will let me get some. I am also going to get some guinea hens later on in the spring/early summer. If I tried with eggs I would at least do 12 or more. Not sure what to do?


13 Years
Nov 10, 2008
Fitzwilliam NH
Since you mention you have kids you may find that hatching eggs makes a great teaching opportunity that you will miss out on by buying chicks from the feed store. That said if you decide to hatch you should set a larger number of eggs than you want chicks. Finding eggs isn't very hard. Like you said you can look on e-bay, on here, or on

If you hatch extra chicks it is very easy to find buyers for chicks, especially in the early part of the year. If you raise them up until they feather out you can get a little more money for pullets but cockerels may have to be given away.

You will still have lots of fun for yourself and your kids by choosing to buy day old chicks. Keep in mind also that some states have minimum amounts of chicks you can buy at the feed store so ask the store what a minimum purchase for chicks is.

There are chickenstocks popping up all over the country where people can go to buy, sell, and trade their chickens. You can see if there is a chickenstock near you to either buy chicks or to sell any extra chicks you have hatched by going here

Everyone starts as a newbie and there are plenty of people on here who can answer your questions whether you go with hatching or with buying young chicks.

And just to warn you, you will always want more chicks/chickens especially as you learn more about the breeds and varieties out there. My DH and I started out with 8 standard laying breed chicks from the feed store. Then I found feathersite and BYC and decided I just had to have Wyandottes so last spring I ordered 27 Wyandotte chicks in 5 different color varieties from McMurray hatchery. Before they came I found 2 bantam hens that I liked at a chicken swap. I kept 13 Wyandotte chicks and sold the rest feathered out at chicken swaps. Then I found a silver laced Wyandotte roo and bought him. That summer I decided I needed a frizzle and a silkie. The numbers build and build, lol. Then I drove 4 hours to pick up a blue laced red Wyandotte roo. In November I hatched out 10 easter eggers. I have 17 eggs in the incubator now from my flock and I'm looking for more eggs to buy in the coming months. It's an addiction and I don't know if it ever ends


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
West Virginia
Hatching is a lot of fun.

However, buying chicks is much much cheaper. Much.

One of these days I am going to figure out the per chick cost of those I have incubated myself. I'll bet it is unreal.



13 Years
Jan 24, 2008
I guess it depends on where you live whether hatching is expensive. If you hatch under a broody (you can easily buy broody chooks here, and some people give them away) it is by far the cheapest way to go. Compare your local prices of day old chicks, hatching eggs, broody hens, and incubators. Talk about local hatch rates under broodies if using a broody. If beginning with incubators, be prepared for low hatch rates as there is a learning curve.

Interestingly, while day old chicks tend to go for about $8 each here unsexed, you quite often see auctions for a hen and chicks at less than you would pay for the hen alone without the chicks. That is another thing to look out for, as a way to get started.


11 Years
May 15, 2008
upstate NY
I am also new to chickens...I got day-old chicks two springs ago...mine came from my local Agway.

I am glad I started off with day-olds, as there is much to learn and there are so many potential trouble spots involved in hatching...have you read the incubating and hatching thread for long?!! YOur kids will learn a ton by raising day-olds, too, and you can hatch the next batch in a couple of years if you decide you want to try it.

In NY, the minimum purchase (according to Tractor Supply) is 6 chicks. Agway insisted on a minimum of 15. You may need to order ahead if you want all pullets or a particular breed.

In regard to getting a roo, in my opinion, unless you need a roo for free range protection or for fertile eggs, they're a pain. They break the feathers off the hens' backs from breeding, cut the girls' sides with their spurs, and mine get snotty during breeding season, occasionally going after my legs when I go in the coop. Some roos are lots worse, some are friendly, but you never know till they grow up what you'll get. And you have kids...roos can really hurt a child.

I ordered all pullets, and still got two roos. Hopefully, Tractor Supply uses a more reliable hatchery than Agway!

On the other side, roos are beautiful to look at, and I do like to hear them crow. Still, I'd have been much happier if those two birds had been's two more mouths to feed that aren't giving me eggs, and ARE causing problems, though as I said, I'm so lucky that they're minor problems... could be a lot worse!

As a side note...someone quoted $8 each as a price for chicks...maybe that's from a private person...hatchery chicks are not that much. Two years ago, the ones from Agway were $2.50 each, inclucing shipping. Good luck whichever way you decide to go!


Lone Star Call Ducks
10 Years
Aug 3, 2009
I think I would start with sexed chicks if I were you. Hatching can leave you with lots of roosters and few hens and the headache of trying to get rid of roosters right off the bat.
Whichever way you decide to go, I'm sure you'll love the experience of raising these wonderful birds!


My kids Mom!
10 Years
Mar 22, 2009
I would say to buy day old chicks from the tractor supply or farm & ranch. Once you have raised chickens then you can decide if you want to hatch. Hatching comes with it's on learning curve.

Tractor supplies here do NOT require a minimum purchase. You can get 1 or 20 they don't care. Be sure when looking at them, you look for one's that are running around active, before they are put into the box to bring home, look at there bum to see that is it clean.

I would also suggest that you read up on making a brooder & have that set up & ready to go.

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