Opinions wanted on best age of chicks to buy

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rebbetzin, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    In a couple of weeks, I should have my coop and run all finished.

    Then comes the really hard part... I am thinking I would like Buff Orpingtons, since I have read they are quiet and friendly.

    Next, what is the best age to buy?[​IMG]

    I am thinking like all creatures, the younger they are the better you are able to "bond" to them and they to you. (And maybe prevent some trauma in their lives that will make them be weird later in life.)

    My local feed store carries chicks all the time. Right now they have about 200 3 to 8 week chickens, and from what they say, until they sell some of these they will not be ordering anymore baby chicks. But, they say many times people come in and buy 70 to 100 birds at time, they just never know.

    I was thinking, getting an older chick would be better since they could go right away into the coop and run without having to do the whole brooder routine.

    But, then seeing how cute they are when they are "brand new"....

    So I am torn... then there is always the "no chickens in the house" remark my husband made a while back....

    What are the pros and cons? I don't know enough, about having chickens to make a good decision.

    I want nice "people friendly" chickens. And it appears there is a very high mortality rate with baby chicks. To say nothing of my having to buy a brooder set up.

    Sorry to be such a pest... any help would be appreciated.
  2. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    This is a very good question. I'm certainly not an expert as I just now have my first flock which is almost 15 weeks. I would think if you handled them quite a bit when you first get them while they're acclimating to the coop, that some might bond to you. I had mine from day 2 and a few of them are friendly, most couldn't care less and several are downright unfriendly, not to the point of being mean, just won't let me pick them up. And I handled them all equally when they were in the brooder. That's my 2 cents, which probably is worth about half that in today's market! lol
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Well hatching them out would be the best [​IMG] I hatched mine out and they are SO different even than the ones I got in the hatchery. Prob already traumatized from being sexed and thrown around from box to box...AND shipped for three days! If you can't hatch I would say day olds from someone close to you OR if you have to....day old chicks from the hatchery. I got two adult hens from a friend and it's been SO hard to acclimate them into the flock. I would NOT recommend this! They have also stopped laying from the change.
  4. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, I don't have a ton of experience with different bird species (just cockatiels and now chickens), but part of the process of taming birds is to get them young enough so they will imprint on you and also to desensitize them to stimuli so they get used to being handled. This has to happen within the first few months, and after that, around the time they hit puberty I think, a birds instincts take over and it can't be tamed.

    Baby chicks are not really that much work; they're much less work than a puppy, and unlike cockatiel hatchlings, they re not helpless. I’ve hatched cockatiels, and they are born naked, helpless and their eyes don't open for several days. A baby chick hatches with down feathering, and is walking within a few hours.

    Chickens are remarkably self-sufficient, even as chicks. I think younger the better if you want tame birds.

  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    If you are new to chickens and want to really learn by experience the ins and outs of chickens life I recommend short of hatching them yourself to start with day old chicks.

    With day old you will learn to develop an for tale tell signs of gender, the earliest days of beginning to feather, sleeping and eating habits.

    By 8 weeks the chicks have pretty much set a pattern and a routine and you miss the super cute weeks of their baby days.

    If you just want chickens for some eggs the get the 8 weekers. You'll have less time and feed in them before they begin to produce the eggs.

    Psssttt - get the baby chicks [​IMG]
  6. BearSwampChick

    BearSwampChick Chicken Sensei

    Jan 10, 2008
    Marysville, OH
    It IS so much fun to watch the baby chicks, and they grow so fast! If you don't want them in the house, you could always brood them in the coop. [​IMG]
  7. chick4chicks

    chick4chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    N.E. Pa.
    I have 40 chicks and I lost one so the mortality rate for me was not bad. Was hoping they all lived but it didn't work that way. My fuzzybutts were day olds except a few were 3 days old. Good luck on whatever you decide. As for a brooder i use boxes and tape two together to make them bigger. [​IMG]
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    A brooder is not hard to setup. The ones sold at feed stores are way overpriced, tiny, and pointless. A cardboard box, rubbermaid tub, empty fish tank, or even a ring of cardboard (brooder ring) can be used with a shop light fixture from walmart or a hardware store to hold a light bulb for heat. In more enclosed smaller brooders a standard 60w is often enough. In more ventilated brooder or colder temps you can put up to a 120-150w bulb in that cheap fixture. It cost me $20 to setup my brooder counting waterer and bedding.

    I haven't heard of very high losses with day old chicks. Maybe 1 in 10 max.
  9. chickiebaby

    chickiebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2008
    western mass
    Hatching is complicated. Baby chicks are not. And talk about cute. I wouldnt miss that cor anything, especialy if you have a partner who is unusre or ambivalent about the whle thing Chcikie cuteness will melt the heart of the grinchiest spouse. He'll be begging for more chicks. Heh.
  10. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    Thanks everyone for the input... I am thinking I would love to have baby chicks to start. Now... it will be making a brooder, but from the thread on brooders and all the information on here, I should be able to do it.

    With our summer heat, I probaly could brood them in the coop... without any added heat lamps!!

    It is still 90 here at 11pm!![​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008

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