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Chicks or Pullets? Which to Choose for Flock Expansion

So, chicken fever has hit hard, and you want to expand your flock? The hard part comes when you need to decide, are you going to get a batch of fresh baby chicks, or more mature started pullets? Which is best for you?

Every chicken keeper gets to this point, because chickens are just like potato chips, once you start you just can’t stop!

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When expanding your existing flock the big question is always chicks or pullets? Each comes with it's own benefits and drawbacks, but this post is sure to help you decide! #homesteading #homestead #backyardchickens #chickens #raisingchickens #poultry

When adding to a flock of laying hens, you have two choices:

Chicks or Pullets?

Will you start from scratch with some tiny adorable chicks, or will you take on the task of integrating a couple of pullets into your existing flock?

Chicks or pullets is a tough decision, and both options come with their benefits and drawbacks.

The choice really depends on your setup and your own personal preferences, but before you make that decision, educate yourself!

Chickens

The fun of having baby chicks is terrific, and if you have children, an excellent learning experience.

There are some factors to consider both good and bad when deciding to add to your flock with fluffy chicks.

Benefits of raising baby chicks:

1. Custom design your flock by raising baby chicks. You can have a few of one kind and a few of another because the availability is higher with baby chicks.

2. You can socialize your birds much better by handling them when they are young. Socialization cuts down on the number of problem birds you have in your flock later on.

3. You control what they eat and what medicines they have, unlike when you buy a pullet.

4. Fluffy chicken action is a real thing! I’m almost positive that your joy level increases by holding these wee ones, hearing them chirp, and watching them grow into fine feathered beauties.

Drawbacks of raising baby chicks:

1. The cost of raising them is higher than if you bought pullets. You must purchase a brooder box, special feed, heat source, and more. Find out all you need in Brooding Chicks the Easy Way: 5 Essential Supplies You’ll Need

2. Raising chicks requires a hefty amount of time. They are babies, after all. Keeping them safe and well requires being attentive to your little flock. 

3. The survival rate in raising chicks can be as low as 50%. These wee ones have problems navigating their surroundings and can drown in their water, have too little heat or too much heat, and are susceptible to disease. 

4. Even though you have more control over what breed you want for chicks, if your supplier sells them “unsexed,” your chance of getting a rooster is 50%.

5. It will take six months before your hens will lay eggs and even longer if you hit the fall and winter season before they lay. Then it may be as long as nine to ten months. That’s not a big deal to some, but if your main goal is to have eggs, it would be a factor for you to consider.

Pullets

There are a variety of types of pullets, but the primary definition of one is ten weeks and older who have developed their adult feathers. You can find these from a local farmer, animal sale, or sometimes the Classified ads. 

You can also buy started pullets which are 15-22 weeks old. They are ready to lay but are much tougher to socialize when they are that old.

Benefits of pullets

1. There is no additional funding needed to place a pullet in your flock. They don’t need a brooder box or supplemental heat and are ready to be assimilated right after quarantine.

2. Buying pullets assures that you have all hens and no roosters in your flock. 

3. It takes much less time to deal with pullets.

4. Egg-laying comes much quicker with a pullet; it could be as little as three months before they begin to lay.

Drawbacks of pullets

1. Socialization to you and the rest of your flock diminishes when you choose a pullet. The younger the chicken, the better chance you have to acclimate them to you.

2. Pullets do cost more than a baby chick, but you don’t have any additional costs.

3. When buying pullets, both the feeding history and environment exposed to is relatively an unknown. So there is a risk of putting them with your flock, it’s always best to keep them separate for a time: Introducing New Chickens to the Flock Step-By-Step.

4. Diseases are also a concern when buying pullets. Many pests and diseases may go undetected for a time, so purchasing your pullets from a reputable chicken owner is vital.

There are some of the benefits and drawbacks when adding either baby chicks or pullets to your flock. 

Let us know which you choose and why. We always love to hear from you!

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