Friday, April 10, 2015

Raising Baby Chicks vs. Pullets

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.

raising baby chicks vs. pullets

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.

raising baby chicks vs. pullets, silkie chick, mille fleur d'uccle

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}

-You will get eggs sooner
-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.

raising baby chicks vs. pullets, integrating a flock

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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  1. We got our last chicks from a feed store and they were several weeks old. The reason we got them was because they let us buy just a couple and not the 10 or 25 that some places require. I prefer day old because they are so cute, but we don't need many. Enjoy your flock!

  2. Thanks for giving the pros and cons of both. Something to keep in mind when we are able to raise chicks. I'd love for you to share this on The Maple Hill Hop!

  3. Oh I love your little chicken sanctuary, we livening a small village so I am not sure what we would be allowed but I am thinking Bon getting a couple we use to have chickens were we lived before here and I do miss them......I love your coop set up too.....
    Stop by and visit my blog add me to your blog roll if you wish and sign up for a spring giveaway I am having..

  4. One good thing I like is there is no flock integration since they've all been together. I made the mistake once of buying a laying hen, who turned out be be VERY aggressive. We kept her a bit until we saw how she was starting to attack the other hens, after quarantine. We sold her right away. I would never buy hens again. I like controlling the whole process health wise with chicks- feed, cleanliness, etc. Many hatcheries can be filthy...