Starting a new flock from scratch...Age?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hodawg, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    I should have our first coop ready in a week or two, and I'm thinking of starting out with 3 or 4 hens. My primary desire is to have good egg layers, not meat chickens. No roo's since we live in a suburban neighborhood. My question is, should I start off with grown egg layers or should I buy little peepers and get them acclimated and just wait for eggs for sometime in the spring? What are the pro's and con's of starting with established birds vs. starting with young'uns?

    Beers y'all,
  2. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    I only recently started in chickens. The first hen was--is-- a sweet gril, older, in need of a new home. As an adult she was easy to care for. A great place to start. Pullets aren't the easiest to find as they are the most coveted. But with some effort, they can be found.

    Since then I have purchased day olds and incubated eggs. Unless you want the experience and emotion of hatching eggs, skip that. Raising the chicks is an effort and a challenge, too. Hacheries and breeders ship 25 at a time; there are 2 places, My Pet chicken and Meyers possibly, that sell as few as 6 or 3.

    Disease is a consideration too. YOu can follow the all in and all out rule: all birds from the same source, and when done with them, they all leave together. Perhaps I should say, just get all the birds from the same place at the same time.

    Other sources: Craigs list, swaps, state thread

    Hopefully this is of some help.
  3. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    If you've got the time and ability, get sexed chicks. They're easy to raise, you get to bond with them and ensure that they are used to you/your family and being handled, and they are ADORABLE! Several hatcheries sell small quantities (3 minimum) of chicks as well, or you can find them at local swaps/farm supply stores/breeders.

    If you don't want to wait for the eggs and aren't concerned about how people friendly your birds are, get started pullets. They can be acquired at the same places as the chicks. As was mentioned, though, get them all from the same place in this case due to the potential for disease and merging birds.
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Beers to you too! [​IMG]

    I like to start with chicks because then you can raise them up to be more like pets....Very friendly. The downsize is, I guess, would be the time it takes to do that.

    If you buy hens that are already laying, or just about to begin laying, the plus side is you get eggs quickly, but the down side is, they are often not real friendly.

  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I don't know where you are located. You could do a search on the Where am I? Where are You? section of this forum and find your state or country thread if you have one. You might find someone local who has what you are looking for in quantities you want. Or you might find someone that is willing to split an order so you can get around the minimum shipping numbers.

    The pros for starter pullets to start a flock is mainly that you know they are pullets. You don't have to get the brooder and chick equipment and you don't have to wait as long for the eggs. Even getting sexed chicks from a hatchery, you have a chance of getting a rooster unless you get the sex links.

    The advantage of getting chicks is that it is easier to make them into real pets. You can do that with older pullets, but you may have to work at that.

    It is really just your personal preference. Good luck!!!
  6. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Eudora, Kansas
    I've seen some ads for deals on older hens, but you might pay more for good laying hens. And you'd have to trust that they were indeed laying. They do go through adjustments moving them too from what I've seen on BYC. So you might not get eggs right away from them either. You'd be waiting longer for eggs with chicks. And are there certain breeds or colors you want? You're choices may be limited with older hens. So many things to consider.....but I love chicks! [​IMG]
  7. SueBaby

    SueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA

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