What to know BEFORE you click “buy now”!
We at Purely Poultry are all about, well, poultry.
We’re all flock owners, except me (and I’m working with our Home Owners Association to get my own flock started). We will be the first people to tell you that owning a flock is rewarding beyond what you ever thought possible, but also incredibly difficult at times. The truth is not everyone who wants a flock should have a flock.
Yup. I’m actually going to discourage some sales in this blog.
If you Google “Things to know before you buy chickens”, you may be surprised to find there are a lot of blogs, vlogs, and articles written about it. Seems crazy, right? Homesteading and poultry purchases have skyrocketed since COVID-19 hit the United States. People are suddenly aware of how quickly supplies can sell out in their communities and are looking for ways to be more sustainable. We applaud that. If we all moved just a little closer to self-sustainability the world would probably be a healthier, happier place.
The truth is that not everyone should raise a flock. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and sometimes money. So please, take some time to read through these facts and questions before you click “buy” on our, or any, website. As always we love to support our customers and their flocks. We are here to answer any questions we can.
You probably won’t save any money
Crazy, right? I mean, it’s gotta be cheaper to let my chickens eat grass in the backyard and collect the eggs, right?!
Not necessarily. And not when you first get going.
It can vary from species to species and location to location but on average hens won’t start laying eggs until around 6 months old.
Cool. They just freeload for the first six months and then I’m in the (egg) money, right?
It’s not as easy as picking up your box of chicks from your local USPS, setting them free in your backyard, and collecting eggs in six months. They need to live in a brooder to start with, complete with a heating lamp. Chicks need to be warm. Chicks also need room to thrive, and boy do they grow and thrive quickly! They need food and water-free range grazing doesn’t happen immediately.
Setting up all the chicken equipment you’ll need can ruffle some financial feathers. Chicks, brooder, food, accessories (I mean heating lamps and the like, not matching bedazzled jackets for each chick)…it doesn’t take long to surpass a budget!
We, of course, think it’s absolutely worth it. Again, the point of this blog isn’t to discourage you from becoming flock owners but rather to think about some big factors before you bring these living, breathing, baby chicks home.
Raising a flock requires education
Now, I’m not saying you need to go to Cluckster University and get a B.A. in Chicken Rearing. But it requires a bit more educational effort than picking up your chicks and throwing some feed out to them every day before you collect your bounty of eggs.
Simply put, if you don’t have time to read some articles and/or talk to some local flock owners, you don’t have time to raise chicks. It’s not a huge time commitment, but raising a flock is. Fortunately, we’ve done a lot of the work for you and put it together in this easy-to-read guide. Like any hobby or a new skill, it takes a little research to get all your…ahem…ducks in a row.
Also, before you order is the right time to make sure your town or community allows a backyard flock. There are different restrictions for just about every community and unfortunately, we can’t help you with that. Contact your local government for guidelines and restrictions. These are a few starter questions to get you going:
- How many birds are allowed?
- Are both hens and roosters allowed?
- What are the restrictions/guidelines on where I can build my coop?
- Am I required to have a permit to build the coop, or raise chickens?
There will be death
This is my least favorite part of going on this journey. I know there will be death. While we do everything we can to make sure your chicks arrive safely, sometimes not everyone survives the trip.
The yolk sacs provide enough nutrition to feed and hydrate the chicks until they arrive at their destination. We ship the chicks in specially designed boxes with proper ventilation holes and packaging material. Additionally, we include a substance called “Gro-Gel” which will provide additional nutrition and hydration while in shipping.
Chicks and chickens die. Sometimes there is an obvious reason, such as old age or becoming the unfortunate meal for a coyote, but other times there’s no discernible reason. You can do everything right and still experience loss. These little guys and gals can become like family members so their deaths are hard to endure. We really do understand that. It’s something you need to be prepared for, especially if you have young kids joining you on your dream of raising chickens.
It’s incredibly rewarding to raise a flock and I want to stress that while death is inevitable, it’s not the norm, either. We have an excellent survival rate for shipped chicks and stand behind our “Alive and Well Guarantee” in the event of loss.
There are variables
This seems like a given, but oftentimes new flock owners don’t consider the variables. For instance, chickens can live on average for 6-8 years, but won’t produce eggs that whole time. Are you going to let the chickens live out a peaceful life on your little farm, or are you going to cull the older birds?
Poop. There’s a lot. Trust us.
Some communities prohibit the sale of extra eggs.
The coop generally needs to be cleaned out and bedding changed every few weeks.
While we do offer a sexing guarantee on certain breeds, mistakes happen and sometimes you end up with a Roo. This may not only wreak havoc in your coop but may violate your local rules and restrictions.
Chickens generally smell worse than you expect. Again, poop. Lots of poop.
The bottom line is raising a backyard flock is work, but we think it’s worth it. With a little bit of planning and research, you can be on your way to sustainability in a whole new way. Just make sure you’re ready for the commitment!
As always we are here to support you! Give us a call at 920-472-4068. Email us. Visit us on FaceBook. Take a gander at our website. Connect with us in any way you can and we will help guide you through this process as best we can.
In the meantime, from our families to yours-stay safe, stay strong!