should i take a chance on stright run chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by guelphchick, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. guelphchick

    guelphchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2016
    I have the chance to buy Ameraucanas or Barnevelders. They problem is that they are unsexed and I really only want girls to start out with. Should I take the chance? How can I tell the sex of the chicks once they get a little older?
    Are the males easy to sell usually?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Males aren't usually easy to sell since every hatch has extras.
    You can expect 50% males - sometimes less, sometimes more.
    Eventually the boys will grow rooster feathers - pointy hackle, wing and curved tail. Their comb, wattles and legs will be bigger.
    On the plus side, males taste just like chicken.
  3. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    Whether you want to take the chance or not is really up to you. If you are buying a small number of chicks then I feel it's not in your best interest to get unsexed chicks if you only want females. If you are getting a large number of chicks you might get the number of females you want by getting straight run chicks. Remember, you will be feeding all the chicks, both girls and boys for a time. You will need space for all the chicks.

    My late husband was the oldest of 8 boys. Doctor promised my mother-in-law a girl on number 8 but it was still a boy. I have 3 boys. I stopped there figuring my odds of getting a girl were not good. So, theoretically if you purchase 15 straight run chicks you might get all girls and it's just as likely that you will all boys. You could get any combination between the two extremes. A friend gave me 5 chicks to take care of as they did not sell and she had no place to keep them. They ended up all being pullets and I told her she's not getting them back, although I'll share their eggs with her.

    As to selling cockerels, it is not always easy to sell them. You are lucky sometimes to give them away. A lot depends on how desirable that breed of cockerel is in your area and if someone is looking for one. Giving them away means that most will probably be made into soup.

    I'm not very good at sexing young chicks so I can't help you with that part of your question.
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  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    If you only want hens then why bother getting straight run chicks? If you end up with a lot of roo's then by the time you get rid of them all you may have a lot fewer hens then you wanted. Lots of extra hassle if one does not want any roo's to begin with or if you aren't interested in putting them in the freezer.
  5. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    If it's the breed you want or not based on the straight run then personally I would go straight run to get it if there was no other choice. It's no different from hatching bought eggs which of course are straight run to get a new breed you want.

    That said I have only ever had to Rehome one rooster and it wasn't easy, especially as it was a pet so we didn't want anyone to eat him. That's what happens to most roosters and giving them away is hard enough, selling is unusual UNLESS you are trying to Rehome a pure bred desirable breed bird. If these are just from a hatchery they won't fall into that catagory. If they are from a breeder they may. The last two times I've hatched eggs I bought from the best breeder I could find on the other side of the country just so I would be more likely to be able to sell/Rehome any roosters. Only ended up with three hatching though and all were girls so can't tell you if that plan worked [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Can you find an other hatchery that will sell those breeds sexed? The odds are against you for sure. You could end up with ALL roosters! If you order straight run, the hatchery response will be: "That's too bad!" But, if you order pullets, most hatcheries guarantee 90% accuracy. But, read the fine print on that. Even if you end up with 50% roos, the hatchery may only refund the DIFFERENCE between the price of a pullet and cockrel chick on the # of chicks that tipped the scale below the 90%!
  7. guelphchick

    guelphchick Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2016
    Thanks for your responses everyone :)
    Still deciding what I want to do. Not sure I could raise the roos for meat birds or not. I think I'll end up looking at them all as pets. Who knows.
    Anyhow I'll keep looking to see what I can get I guess, lol. I do have some time.

    On another note, based on your long can you raise baby chicks indoors in your home? I don't have a garage, so they would have to be in the house until the spring when I get their coop built. :)
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    IMO, I'll NOT EVER raise chicks in the house. My first brood was down in my basement, smell is not an issue. The issue is the fine layer of chicken dander that they release. It is like a super fine layer of greasy dust that covers every surface, even the undersides of surfaces! Blooie, after her first indoor brooding experience said that MONTHS after her chicks moved outside, and she had done a thorough cleaning of the chick room, she found dander in the pockets of one of her husband's suit coats that was hanging in a closed closet! If I were you, I'd cobble together some sort of outdoor brooder. Even a dog house with a window would work. You could even re-purpose some pallets. Just be sure to cover all openings with 1/2" hardware cloth, and block drafts, but not make it air tight. Then you can use a heating pad brooder. If you get your chicks before your coop is ready, I can guarantee that the chicks will need the coop before it's finished. My coop which I expected to take 4 days ended up taking 10 weeks to complete (and I'm still putting on finishing touches) because life tends to get in the way. Any building project: rule of thumb. Figure out how many hours it should take. (let's say 10 hours) Multiply that by days = 10 days. Now, multiply that by 2.5 because life gets in the way, and you'll find that you're missing important tools, or materials, or have lost the tools or materials you DID have, and you find that site prep, set up and clean up take a lot longer than expected. So, a 10 hour project will end up taking 25 days!!! YMMV Build the coop with electric access, and brood them in the coop!!!
  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Straight run birds are an awesome way to go. But first one needs to be honest with themselves if they can and will cull the males. If that's a "maybe" then don't get straight run period. There is no chancing of anything with straight run birds, you will be given a random grab of chicks and in that will have about 50% male and female. Chance comes into play when one purchases pullets. There is about a 1 or 2 in 100 chance they were not sexed properly at hatchery. Then there is the chance the feed store has no idea what is what and sell you straight run as pullets and other such disaster. If a person only wants pullets and nothing else they should purchase sex link birds. Do a quick search online to educate selves what that is and what they look like then go buy them. 100% female every time.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You are getting a lot of good advice here. I’ll wind up repeating some of it but maybe add my own twist.

    Hatching is as straight run as you can get. Most of my hatches are closer to 2/3 one sex than 50-50. It can be either sex. One recent hatch was 14 pullets and 7 cockerels. Another was 2 pullets and 7 cockerels. I once got seven straight run chicks from a hatchery and got all pullets. It could have just as easily been all males. The more chicks you get the better your chances of getting pullets but it’s just odds.

    I agree you need a plan to handle the cockerels. If you get the birds from a show-quality breeder the excess cockerels may not be that hard to sell, but normally it’s a case of giving them away. Once you no longer own them you no longer control them. Most will wind up being eaten.

    With those breeds it’s hard to sex the chicks early. Many sexual traits can start to show up at around five weeks but I find Ameraucana to be especially difficult. I’m not familiar with Barnevelders but here is a link from someone that is.

    This link takes you to a thread that talks about those traits that sometimes show up at 5 weeks. In my experience it is usually easier to say that this one will be a cockerel than it is that a certain one will be female. Some males show these traits a lot earlier than others.

    How to sex chicks

    How long can you brood chickens in the house? For as long as you can stand it. Some people have house chickens, keeping adults in the house. I don’t want to even imagine how that works. I have electricity in the coop so my chicks go straight there into a built-in brooder from the incubator or the post office, whether in the heat of summer or with outside temperatures below freezing.

    I don’t know where you are or what the weather will be like when you get them, but most chicks can go outside around five weeks of age. Most chicks are fully feathered by that time and can handle the weather, but you might have special circumstances. I’ve had chicks go through nights without any heat at less than six weeks and the overnight low in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit. In a ridiculous heat wave a few years back I turned the daytime heat off at 2 days and the overnight heat off at 5 days. There is no set time, each brood is unique.

    I certainly agree to get the coop built before you get the chicks. They grow awfully fast and life has a way of getting in the way of plans.

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