Started pullets vs. baby chicks pros & cons?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JDelage, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. JDelage

    JDelage Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2016
    Hi - newbie from Seattle here... We're getting ready to get our first chickens and I'd like to understand better the trade offs between getting babies and getting starter pullets. My understanding is that the trade-offs are roughly this way:

    - Initial cost advantage to: chicks
    - Risk of getting a male advantage to: pullets
    - Ease of socializing advantage to: chicks
    - Time to first eggs advantage to: pullets
    - Availability of various breeds advantage to: chicks
    - Coop-ready advantage to: pullets
    - Cuteness factor advantage to: chicks

    What am I missing or getting wrong?
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I think you've hit upon most of the important points. I might say that, depending on where you get your pullets (an auction for instance), it can be hard to determine age. Would hate for you to get some 2 year olds whose best laying days are behind them. Also, if you order from a reliable hatchery (if that's where you were going to get your baby chicks) rarely have I had them get the sex wrong. The bigger problem is that they sometimes add in extra males to get rid of surplus stock. If you go that route you need to indicate you desire no "bonus" chicks. Tough decision. I always go the chicks route for the cuteness factor and I think they just settle in better. Others, however, happily order point-of-lay pullets and are pleased. Best of luck whatever you decide!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Hardiness factor to pullets. chicks can just up and die. Point of lay pullets rarely so.

    Hassle/stress factor to pullets. This may not apply to you, but so many folks stress over the new chicks to the point where they're not enjoyable.

    Cost factor--overall, pullets may be cheaper. Depending on breed and price. By the time you factor in a brooder, smaller waterer and feeder most folks use, electricity, bedding, really adds up.
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  4. Depending on how the Pullets were raised they might be fearful of people? Chicks on the other hand are babies so get used to things quicker...It is not impossible to tame or train pullets or older birds to trust, just takes time...
    I get Chicks and can hardly wait for them to grow up and be Chickens..Chicks take more work...Like buying a puppy...I prefer established Dogs over Puppies too...
    All babies are cute...Decide what will work for your current situation...Buying sexed Pullets is always a plus!

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  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    First time, I would go pullets. It takes FOREVER for chicks to grow up. They get feathers fast and stall. Personally, if you spend time with chicks or spend time with pullets, they will get used to you in about the same amount of time. You are going into winter,(I assume?) in which can be a hard time to get chicks locally. If you can get pullets, I would go pullets.

    However, keep in mind that after a coon attack for 3 days, before we got it figured out, this is the woman that just ordered new chicks, but I have no where to get pullets. January, I just keep saying to my self, January I should have some eggs again.

    Mrs K
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  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I have point of lay pullets I'd sure bring you if we lived closer! Don't think a road trip to the Dakotas is in my near future, though.
  7. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 2, 2014
    Canton, Ohio
    I personally prefer chicks, never lost one yet and am on my 4th generations (4 batches) of chicks since spring 2014. Only had one roo out of 30++ chickens. One reason I like raising them from chicks, I enjoy it, I love seeing all the stages of their growth and see their personalities developed. I also know I took care of them good and fed them good stuff from the get go and no meds and diseases exposure as much as I know. I tabulated cost by the time they're point of lay, I spent $10-12/hen on average.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Bottom line is this: How much money do you have to put into getting your first flock up and running? IMO, it's cheaper to raise your own chicks, unless there is someone very local so you don't have to pay shipping, or the high rates of started pullets from the hatcheries. And, what is your comfort level? If you find starting chicks intimidating, go with started pullets. But, I'd try to buy locally, and all from a single source. Most important thing: be sure your coop and run are big enough: minimum of 4 s.f. coop, and 10 s.f. run per bird.
    1 person likes this.
  9. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2015
    I would argue the cost advantage goes to the pullets, a lot of investment in six months of no return from chicks. And if you single source it, socialization as well, which considering quarantine needs, is really the only way to go.

    If you're keen on a mixed flock, finding someone willing to sell POL pullets may be an issue, but for pure, "get going with birds" pullets are the way to go IMO.

    It's what I did last year. Added chicks this year. I liked being able to get the breeds I wanted as chicks, but beyond that, POL pullets was easier.
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Peeps are a-peeping Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If it's eggs you are after, get started pullets, if it's the experience, get chicks.
    1 person likes this.

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