Friday, February 14, 2014

Chicken Talk

So you've made the decision to get chickens. You've secured a place for them to call home, the next step is to bring some home. Some folks may decide to bring home hens already laying and skip the chick process. But I think most people decide to bring home chicks. Those oh-so-cute little balls of fluff. You could order them from a hatchery and have them shipped to you or you could wait until your local farm supply brings in their spring supply of chicks. This is what we have done. We wait until the end of February. That is when the first shipments of these sweet little chicks begin arriving. There is a new shipment each week through the month of May for us at our farm supply. Many different breeds.  Now here you are looking at these little chicks sold as pullets and straight run. If you are a first-timer then you might be thinking what on earth does that mean? Is a straight run like a home run? And what is a pullet? These terms are chicken talk. A straight run is the term given to a group of chicks that have not been sexed. In this group of chicks are both male and female. No body knows what they may end up with. If you were to bring 5 of these little chicks home from a straight run group of chicks you will end up with some little soon-to-be roosters. Most likely more of those little chicks will be roosters then future egg layers. Usually these are less expensive as well. Now if you want egg layers this is where the term pullet comes in. These little chicks have been sexed. The term pullet refers to the female chick or egg layer. (Keep in mind there is a 10% chance that in the 5 or so pullets you bring home, you may end up with 1 of these pullets being a rooster.) In the total group of chicks that we have purchased as pullets 3 out of 19 of the chicks (pullets) ended up being roosters. This is also over two seasons of purchasing. Our first season we purchased 11 pullets and 2 ended up being roosters and in the second season we purchased 8 pullets with 1 of these ending up being a rooster. If you have large open space for your pullets, soon to be full grown chickens, a rooster or two would be ok. You should have a minimum of 10 hens per rooster as a general rule. We have a rooster here and kept him with our hens but over time we have decided that it is better for our hens to keep the rooster in his own space. If it is eggs you want then you should be looking to purchase pullets. You spend a bit more but in the end it is worth it.


  1. You did a lovely job explaining this .
    We have had chickens since forever it seems,
    I can't imagine being without them !

    1. Thanks so much. Welcome to the blog!!


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