Rookie looking to start raising chickens


7 Years
Nov 14, 2012
I just bought a house in Roanoke City and have an extra lot next to us that I was hoping to put some chickens on. I have no experience raising chickens whatsoever, but am extremely motivated and the goal is to have 6 hens (maximum city allows) that will be for eggs. Was hoping to get them as chicks and raise them, but not sure if it is feasible to gaurantee only hens (city doesn't allow roosters). My questions are -

- Since the city prohibits roosters and thus I need hens, is it possible to get hen chicks only? If not, at what age is the sex identified and thus hens gauranteed?
- How do I figure out where to get the chicks, or if necessary, older hens locally?
- Is there a season for buying hens/chicks.

Thanks for any advice/help.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Dec 22, 2009

1. Yes they are usually sold as sexed pullets down here.
2. If you search "Chicken Hatcheries" you will find a few places. It will also vary depending upon what breeds you want.
3. Sort of. You can find chicks in the winter but not nearly as easily as spring and summer.


7 Years
May 8, 2012
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Welcome to BYC! First advice is to read, read, and read some more. I don't have chickens yet but am learning a lot from reading threads. I bookmark pages and threads that have good info.

To answer your questions: a lot of hatcheries sex day old chicks - they claim a 90% accuracy rate. Be aware that some will ship 'packing pellets' with your order - unwanted cockerel chicks to help keep yours warm. Great if you want to raise and slaughter them, not so great for the squeamish and/or backyard chicken owners. Some hatcheries that come to mind are My Pet Chicken, Meyer, Ideal.

Personally, I am leaning towards getting heritage and/or rare breeds in the belief that these chickens will have less reproductive problems and be healthier in the long run. The downsides are that they are harder to sex (according to Carter's Legacy Chickens - smaller hatchery in south AL) and may be more broody (guess on my part). You could order a straight run from Carter's and sell the cockerels on Craigslist.

Advantages to chicks - they are cute. Hand raised may be friendlier.
Disadvantages - messy if in house. Not temperature tolerant. Seems to be easy for newbies to kill by overheating.

You could buy pullets - hens that haven't started laying yet.

Be careful buying locally from Craigslist and the like. I think you can probably get healthier chickens that way but suspect that some people will be selling hens at the end of their productive laying age or get rid of their roos by selling them as hens. Not saying not to, just to be cautious if you go that route.

Your local feed stores will sell sexed chicks in the spring. Carter's Legacy is revamping their flock but will be opening for sales in January.


8 Years
Jul 17, 2011
North Central Kansas
Greetings from Kansas, chichi, and
! Happy you joined us! I agree with Kevin565. Check out a few hatcheries - I have never had a problem with getting hens when I ordered hens from the big hatcheries...I have had less success from local farm and ranch stores. Good luck to you and congrats on getting birds!!

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