UPDATE: Please note the heading as it states My EXPERIENCE regarding raising chicks vs pullets. My intentions was to share my experience, the good and the bad. I understand that everyone has their own experience and would be neat if upon reading my posting to share your own observation and what you have learned. We can all learn from each other. Like all my postings, I love to share what I have learned so others such as myself looking for answer can glean from my mistakes and discoveries. This posting was not intended to ruffle any feathers. Perhaps my writing skills lack the true transference of knowledge of my intentions. So please, when you read the below, understand that I am sharing MY EXPERIENCE......... ************** Below, I thought I would share my experience regarding raising chicks vs. pullets. If I had to do it all over again, I would buy pullets instead of raising chicks (due to my failing health). Pros & Cons -- Chicks: First, chicks are very inexpensive to buy. At your local feed store, generally there are no limits on how many you can purchase. If you purchase at a hatchery, there is a minimum of 25 and the added cost of Shipping. They may throw in a couple more to cover the possibility of a few chicks dying during transit. I suspect the extras are roos. For me, I purchased mine at two different feed stores. This cost me $5 and $6 each. If I were to buy chicks in the future, I would have bought more than I needed in case a few turned out to be roosters. Even though they tell you that the chicks are going to be hens, there are no guarantees. Straight runs means they are probably more roos than hens. I suspect from what I have researched, straight runs are more for people who are raising chickens for meat than for eggs since it doesn't matter what sex they are. Paying extra for sexed chicks increases the chances they will be hens, but again, no guaranty. Once you bring home your chicks, it is advised to immediately put them on an antibiotic. I am glad I did, because I did not have any die on me or get the pasty butt syndrome. However, this was an additional $9 cost. Chicks are cute and fluffy. The joy of raising them quickly turns into anxiety. You can not leave the home for more than an hour because during that time, the new heating light could go out or the temperature vary too much. The temperature has to be monitored constantly because too cold will quickly make them sick and too hot can kill them. I had two heating lamps where one was a back up in case one failed and two remote temperature gauges to monitor the heated area and the none heated area. NOTE: Never buy a heating light that has a white coating. It releases a toxic gas that will kill your chicks. I bought 40 watt clear light bulb that fit in a desk lamp. Special Red Chick lamps are preferred by those who are raising a lot of chicks. I never had a problem with using a clear bulb because my chicks had plenty of room. A heating area, feed area, and cooling area. Every week the temperature has to adjusted. This required monitoring constantly to make sure it was right. Their water dish has to be cleaned constantly. No matter how high you place it, they manage to leave droppings in it. Pebbles have to be put in it to prevent them from drowning in it. No matter how small the dish, they fall asleep in an instant. They do sell special chick watering dishes, but you only need it for a couple of weeks. If you are willing to invest in a nipple water dish will prevent this, however, you still have to make sure it contains fresh water daily and they have to be cleaned daily to prevent bacteria slim build up. Slimy or poopy water will make your chicks sick real quick. I used a small dish that had to be cleaned every hour. Feed for chicks saves you money if you buy in volume. 25 lb bag of chick feed cost me a dollar per pound. It is better to feed them an organic feed that does not have soy or corn in it. In my research, posters that had their chickens die unexpectedly and had an autopsy performed discovered corn causes fatty livers. When my chicks were about 3 months old, I introduced 1/4 whole grains into the feed. So 25lb of feed for 4 chicks plus supplemented with grains lasted until they were 18 weeks old. Note: Feed can not get wet. A toxic mold can grow in a few hours that can make your chicks sick. If it gets wet, play it safe and throw away. Because grains were introduced, I had to purchase grit to help them digest the grains. This again is an added expense and necessary when the chicks are older. Not only do you have to purchase a chick feeder and water dish, but when they reach about 8 weeks old, they are ready for an adult feeder and water container. A twelve pound galvanized hanging feeder cost me $20.00, a corner grit/oyster free feeder was $12.00, and a 5lb bag of grit was about $18.00. Bedding. I started out with small pine shavings. If you buy the 11 cubic size large bag will save you money. This cost the same as a small bag. Never use cedar as the fumes are toxic to chicks. However, I only used 1/6th of the bag. I purchased the small pine shavings and I had problem with it. One of the chicks, mixture of droppings and shaving formed a ring around its toe. When I noticed it, I was too ill and thought like before, it would fall off. After two days, feeling better, I noticed it was still there and the toe was red and swollen. I had to soak it in water to get it off as it turned to cement. I did save the toe and felt guilty that I had not taken care of it sooner...but I only had enough energy to clean the box , make sure they had fresh water and food. If I had to do it over, I would have bought the large pine shavings instead or used 30# commercial grade sand. $10 for small pine shavings. $6 for large pine shavings. $10 for 100lbs of 30# Commercial Grade cleaned sand. Cleaning. Because the health of my chicks was priority. I purchased disposal gloves ($20) to pick out the droppings in the pine shavings. I cleaned their living quarters 3 to 4 times a day and changed the bedding once a week. I tossed it out on my plants for mulch. At first this was no big deal, but as they grew, it took some time to clean. When they reached 8 weeks old, they were too small to put out side and getting too big for their cage. So a taller, larger cage was needed. Another expense. At this time, they were large enough to put outside a few hours during the warmest time of the day. I used a puppy pen and covered the top to prevent any hawks from killing them. Every day I would move it as they would love eating the grass down to the roots. Remember to provide grit if you do the same. A hose down of the area did make it easier, but boy do they leave a lot of droppings for such a short amount of time. Every day before I brought them in, I had to rinse and dry off their feet. While outside was a great time to use cleaning their inside cage. I also had to have a temperature gauge in their outdoor quarters to make sure they were warm enough. At about 6 weeks old, these cute chicks are now going through the awkward stage. They look mangy and ugly. So much care has to be given to them and about this time you are counting the days you can put them in an outside cage. Now you notice a few chicks may be a roo instead of a hen, could this time spent on their care be for nothing ran through my mind over and over. Now I am desperately looking at posts to see chicks this age to determine if they are males or females. They are now more demanding and their squawks let you know whether or not they are happy. The happiest day is when they can finally live in the outside cage. Since they are use to living inside, when the sun starts to set, they tear at your heart as they squawk constantly to come in for the next few days. Finally after an hour or two, they fall asleep getting more comfortable with their cage. After reading the forum regarding using sand instead of pine shavings in the cage. I decided to use 30# commercial grade sand for the flooring in a 10' x 5' covered kennel. I found this so much easier to clean than pine shavings. To learn more about sand vs pine shavings can be found in this forum. Now, I have to wait until the chicks are about 6 months old before I get any eggs. So cleaning several times a day, providing fresh clean water, and feeding is now a regular routine. PULLETS: If I had to do this over again, I would have purchased pullets instead of chicks. For the last 6 months, I could have been enjoying gathering fresh organic eggs. Chicks required so much of my time to ensure their health and needs. I find now that they are 7 months old and are easier to take care of. I clean their cage 3 to 4 times a day with a food strainer (cat litter scoop does not pick up the small pieces). I add food to their feeder once a day and I use a pet replenisher 5 gal water container that I clean every two days when the reserve is 2/3rds empty. I let them have supervised free range several hours every morning where they eat grass, hunt for bugs, and sun bathe. To my surprise, they learned the word "NO" and don't bother my garden plants. They are so sweet and are a joy to have now. 25lb feed per month for 4 chickens. Oyster Shells once laying eggs $8.00. Treats of Black Oiled Sunflower seeds $1 pound, and 30 oz dried meal worms $30. Probiotic $1 per packet. Unfortunately, my health has deteriorated and I can no longer keep my chickens. I wish my family would take over taking care of them, but no one wants that responsibility. This is unfortunate as my goal was to provide my family with fresh organic eggs. If I had to do this over again seeing the work that was involved in raising chicks, I would have purchased pullets instead. Too bad I have more bad days than good days to keep my girls.