Have you been DREAMING of getting chickens for a long time now?
If so, you will LOVE our new series
JUST START – EGG LAYING CHICKENS!
(IF you already have chickens, consider sharing this post with a friend you know should get some chickens! 😉
This series is made up of short, sweet and to the point videos that will help you answer all the questions you need to answer before you get your first flock of chickens.
So far we have covered
This week we released the 7th video in this series.
What is BEST for Starting Your Chicken Flock…Hatching Eggs, Chicks or Point of Lay Hens?
Click the pic below to watch the video
When you’re starting with chickens you can buy them at three different stages
Point of Lay Hens
Which is best for you to start your flock? Consider the Pros and Cons of each.
Point of Lay Hens
A point of lay hen is basically a chicken who’s a few months old and about ready to start laying eggs.
Since they’re older, you don’t need a chick brooding setup, and you don’t need to worry about keeping them warm with heat lamps or mats. Since they’re already covered in feathers you’re not going to lose any to cold weather or changes in surroundings. Really all you need for a point-of-lay hen is a coop and some feed and water ready for them!
Depending on what breed of chicken you have it’ll be around 15 to 18 weeks when they’ll start laying eggs. The biggest pro of the point of lay hen is that you’re getting eggs quickly.
Don’t expect eggs on day 1, they have to feel safe and comfortable with their new surroundings, but you will get eggs very quickly!
It might seem like a no brainer to get yourself some Point of Lay hens, but hold up, there are some cons.
The cost for your actual point of lay hen is going to be more than if you purchased chicks or hatching eggs. That said, when you purchase point of lay hens you don’t have to buy the equipment to incubate eggs or brood chicks, so it’s going to end up being not much of a price difference after all to get started.
One other con, since you have to buy point of lay hens locally, your selection will probably be limited.
Believe it or not our entire homesteading livestock journey began a decade ago with six point of lay hens. We were ready for eggs, and we didn’t want to wait. For us it was the easiest way to start and the fastest way to get our eggs. We found a local farmer who had some egg laying chickens and we bought 6 of em.
One was named Beyonce and another Rihanna. Yep. We wanted all the single ladies.
Point of lay hens are a great option for beginners if you’re ready to jump in and have your chickens and get your eggs quickly, if that works for you it’s a really nice way to get going quickly and enjoy the benefits of chickens!
If you want to have more chickens than you could afford to buy at point of lay, or you want more variety to choose from, you can always get chicks shipped to you!
There are Hatcheries all over the world that you can purchase chicks from! Because you can get chicks shipped to you, there’s a lot more variety to choose from and each individual chick will cost a lot less than a point of lay hen.
Now, you should know that chicks are a little bit harder to raise than a point of lay hen. Chicks are very delicate, they can die easily if something goes wrong in the shipping process or at your farm in the early weeks of raising them.
Chicks need the warmth of a momma hen, and since you are ordering chicks instead of hatching them from your own momma hen, you need to provide the warmth! That means you’re going to need to have equipment for brooding chicks and keeping them warm.
Even your feeders and waters will need to be chick specific. If you are interested in how to care for chicks, click the pic below to watch a video on our Chick Brooding setup.
We have been growing our own flock for years with mail order chicks. We really love doing it with the kids. It’s so cute seeing them play with all those little chicks!
One of the coolest ways to add to your chicken flock (or even start from scratch) is by hatching eggs. You can order eggs of all kinds, the variety of eggs you can hatch out there is almost endless!
Now of course this is probably the hardest option for growing your flock. Not only do you need ALL the stuff you need for a full grown chicken, you also need everything to brood chicks AND you’ll need an incubating setup for your eggs!
You can get an all-in-one incubator, like this Brinsea model we use, or you can kind of DIY it, but there’s a lot of moving parts to an incubator, so consider yourself warned.
Hatching chicks can be really fun to do with kids, especially if you get a clear incubator that allows you to watch the chicks hatch.
Now, if you just want the variety that hatching eggs brings you without the incubation ordeal, here’s a tip for you to save some money and improve hatching rates…
Find yourself a broody hen!
A broody hen is a hen that wants to sit and hatch eggs, and not all chickens are ‘broody’, so choose carefully.
A broody hen is going to be better than you are at hatching out eggs and she’ll teach them to be a little chickens too!
Over the years we have had chickens we have not only hatched our own chicks, but also some guinea keets, and ducklings! It was a really nice thing to do to expand our flock at a lower price point and also a great homeschool project that we did with the kids!
Did this article help you figure out how to grow your flock? It is part of a series that’s designed to help you get started with chickens!
Go back and watch the whole series!
So far we have covered
If you decide to get started with chickens this year, please send pics! AND if you have a friend that you think should get chickens, please forward them this email!
-Lost Count of How Many Chickens He Has Aust