Newbie Question

sjolie

Chirping
Sep 23, 2019
15
51
56
Chicago, IL
I'm planning to start a backyard chicken flock next season. Will be building my coop / run this fall and would to get chicks to raise in the late winter / early spring. In the community where I live we are not allowed to keep roosters, only up to 6 hens.

My question is this...if I want to raise chicks is there any way to ensure I'm acquiring and raising only hens? Dumb question...LOL?
 

ChocolateMouse

Free Ranging
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
5,603
17,949
707
Cleveland OH
Yep. Don't even buy "sexed female" chicks unless they are sex linked. With sexlinked birds it's obvious when you get one of the wrong sex. The others have a "90+%" chance of being the right sex buuuuuuuuuut that's dubious in some places compared to others and even the best of the best will make a mistake sometimes. So the only real guarantee is to buy a chicken that looks obviously different as a male than a female as a chick.
 

abenardini

Songster
Apr 2, 2015
180
36
111
I'm planning to start a backyard chicken flock next season. Will be building my coop / run this fall and would to get chicks to raise in the late winter / early spring. In the community where I live we are not allowed to keep roosters, only up to 6 hens.

My question is this...if I want to raise chicks is there any way to ensure I'm acquiring and raising only hens? Dumb question...LOL?
Agree with the others. I'm not in a subdivision, but have purchased sexed pullets in the past, and have ended up with roosters. It is definitely not a perfect science. If you end up with roos, you'd have to either re-home or butcher it sounds like.
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,293
942
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
I also can't have roosters where I live. I've had really good luck buying sexed pullets from my local Wilco. Their chick bins are covered with a wire top to keep customers from handling them and mixing them up. Granted, there's a 10% chance you could get a cockerel because vent sexing isn't 100% accurate, but mine have all been girls.

What purpose do you want to raise chickens... for eggs only, or to have long-lived pets?
  • Sex-links are prolific layers the first couple years, after that, egg production slows way down and many birds have reproductive problems and shortened life span. So when you're getting a ton of eggs the first couple years, you have not much at all after that.
  • Heritage breeds (vent sexed) are still good layers and live longer healthier lives, though laying does still taper a bit in a few years. To keep a steady supply of eggs, you could start with 3 birds and then add 3 more in a year or two. That's what I did.
  • The auto-sexing breeds are awesome but they do cost more.

I've heard a lot of complaints that people have bought "sexed" chicks from TSC or other stores with open bins that turned out to be cockerels... but I just think they were somehow mixed with straight run or other breeds. I usually call my feed store in advance to find out the chick shipment dates and show up to get my chicks on the same day or next day. Some stores will do anything to get rid of older chicks including mixing breeds or adding in straight run without disclosing and then just making them a "special" sale price.

You could order from a hatchery, they sometimes offer replacements if you accidentally get a boy. I've also heard that some local farm breeders may switch out any cockerels you get, but that won't help if you've grown attached.

There's probably going to be some unavoidable risk any way get chicks, unless sex links from a reputable source (hatchery). Buying started pullets (already laying) is a guarantee, but they will cost about $25-50 each depending on breed. DO NOT buy from craigslist! So many sellers are just trying to get rid of cockerels and will lie and many newbies can't tell a difference at a young age.
 
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Ponte

Songster
Apr 4, 2019
307
431
118
Miami Florida
I went through the same question early this year and based my decision on what I wanted out of my chickens. I wanted “pet chickens” and eggs. Began with three Buff Orpington’s, they are extremely friendly and quiet. When I go outside they follow me, when I am sitting and tell them to ”jump up” they jump on my knees and let me pet them.
A month ago I bought an Ameraucana and a Speckled Sussex.
So far the five vent sex chicks I have purchased have turned out to be females.
 

sjolie

Chirping
Sep 23, 2019
15
51
56
Chicago, IL
I went through the same question early this year and based my decision on what I wanted out of my chickens. I wanted “pet chickens” and eggs. Began with three Buff Orpington’s, they are extremely friendly and quiet. When I go outside they follow me, when I am sitting and tell them to ”jump up” they jump on my knees and let me pet them.
A month ago I bought an Ameraucana and a Speckled Sussex.
So far the five vent sex chicks I have purchased have turned out to be females.

Did you get them as chicks?
 

TwoShepherds

Crowing
Apr 4, 2019
848
4,502
367
Southeast TN
I bought sexed female chicks from Meyer's Hatchery back in May. I got 13, several more than I need, expecting there to be a few oopses. I'm far from an exert in sexing, but I'm pretty sure all 13 are pullets.
 

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