There are many considerations to make when deciding what type of chickens to buy. Firstly, it's important to decide exactly what you will be using the birds for. If you're raising the birds for show and/or for pets, the type of chicken you will purchase will vary as will if you are choosing to raise a flock for egg or meat production. Once you establish what you will be raising the birds for, you can begin to make an educated decision regarding what type of chicken you will raise.
After you've decided what type of chicken you will purchase, you have to realistically establish how many birds you will raise, and in what type of environment. Some choose to raise their flock in a cage, while others pasture their chickens and allow them to roam free throughout their property. As always, check your local zoning regulations for information on legislation regarding raising chickens. It is very important not to purchase any chickens until you know for certain you can properly raise them humanely and within the confines of the law in your area.
Once you are ready to purchase your chickens, you can choose from three options: purchasing fertile eggs, purchasing chicks, or purchasing full-grown chickens. If this is your first chicken buying and raising experience, it is recommended that you do not choose to purchase fertile eggs. Fertile eggs require specific equipment to hatch properly. Even when properly incubated (a process involving a lot of time and work) it is not guaranteed that your chicks will hatch.
Purchasing chicks is highly recommended. Chicks cost the same as purchasing fertile eggs, and require a lot less work. Chicks are beneficial because you will know how old they are, and if you have them sexed you will be prepared in knowing if the birds are male or female. Chicks, when purchased from a quality hatchery, usually carry less disease and parasites, making them the healthier option. However it's necessary to realize that when you choose to purchase chicks you will be spending more time making sure they are raised safely. Chicks can become injured easily, so they require more care. If you do not have your chicks sexed, you will not know whether or not they will be able to lay eggs. Lastly, when you purchase chicks you cannot be certain of their quality until they are 4-5 months mature.
Buying adult fowl comes with advantages and disadvantages as well. It's not easy to tell the sex of older birds, and while you can get help in this arena, some people prefer to know for certain. When you don't know how old your adult birds are, you cannot be sure of how many eggs they will yield. There is also a greater risk for disease and parasites when you purchase an adult chicken. On the other hand, adult chickens are beneficial because you can immediately tell the quality of the bird and you do not have to wait for the fowl to mature before yielding eggs and/or meat.
After you find a quality breeder, discuss your options regarding chickens to buy. Depending on the environment you can devote to raising chickens, and the amount of experience you have in raising chickens, this can alter the age of the chickens you purchase.
It's important to learn what type of chickens to buy if you want to raise them as pets or for eggs or meat. There are different breeds that do better for each one of these purposes and you will have better success if you stay within the suggested breeds when you buy. Pick up a FREE chicken mini-course that will give you needed information raising chickens as well as building chicken coops.
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