Raising chicks vs. pullets, the pros and cons. I have done both and I like raising new chickens both ways. When you have an extreme urban chicken coop like me, you only raise a few new chickens at a time so you enjoy both options of bringing home baby chicks or finding older pullets to add to your flock and urban chicken coop.
Spring means chicks and if you go to the feed store this time of year, it is easy to fall for those little peeping balls of feathers. Kids love chicks and they are sweet and easy to hold and fun to watch but along with the cuteness there is more work involved in bringing home chicks. I will give you my low down on the pros and cons of both ways.
You have to keep chicks warm which means you have to have a heat lamp. I have used desk lamps and mine have done fine but we are not very cold here. They also are vulnerable so you have to make sure they are contained in something with a lid and kept safe and prevented from jumping out. Many raise chicks in the house at first, which I have dis once but will not any longer. We are not cold here and our garage does fine.
-You will wait months for eggs and that is if you didn't get a rooster by mistake.
-You will need a grow out coop or space before you can integrate into the coop
-Raising them from chicks gives you lots of opportunity to handle them and get them used to you though I do not hold my chickens much once grown, so I don't care if the chickens like holding. I don't force it except when necessary. My daughter however loves to pick them up and they seem to not mind and let her catch them with ease.
When you bring home pullets, or older chicks, you can avoid some of the labor of baby chicks. We just brought home two new chickens 2-3 months old. We have puppies right now so I did not want the work of chicks. We have a second coop, our original coop, to put the pullets for a few weeks. We wait for a quarantine period to make sure they are healthy. Here are some of the things to remember with pullets.
-You know you are getting hens at this point (way easier to tell by appearance)
-No lights or chicks in the house
-No cuddly chicks to hold and many pullets may not be used to handling and harder to catch (treats and holding daily helps with this}
-Pullets are more expensive than chicks. I usually by 2-3 at a time so the feed of chicks over the extra couple of months costs more, but usually it is a little more for a pullet in the long run. I find it worth it for the ease in work load.
-Flock integration can begin sooner.
We currently only get eggs from bantams so I am looking forward to the eggs from our two new Buff Orpingtons. Either way, I love raising chickens. If I lived in the country, I would have a large flock and a rooster and let nature provide new babies but I am in a very urban environment and controlling what I bring home is a must. No roosters in this town so hens are a must.
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