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Growing Pains of Growing Out

The most common question we get is, "Do you have laying hens for sale?" In the past we have always had to answer this wilth an apologetic no. In addition to many changes here at PAF, we are hoping to change this also! I wanted to explain our process and answer some common questions, so here goes....


TIME AND MONEY-

If you have ever brooded baby chicks and raised them to adults, you know this is neither an easy nor a cheap endeavor. Each brooder pen we have has a minimum of $100 worth of equipment (not counting the brooder itself!) We believe that quality feed helps create a healthy, productive hen. Brooders require frequent cleaning and bedding is a huge expense. These costs add up.

Much like raising a child, raising a chick can give you gray hair! They require constant monitoring to make sure their temperature is correct, they have plenty of food and fresh water, they are safe in their environment, and they are playing nicely together. Chicks have thier equivalent to diaper changes in the form of pasty butt. So, we do often have to wash baby chick bottoms and make sure they are clean and healthy.

Chicks do not get their big kid feathers until they are 6-8 weeks old, depending on the breed. Prior to that, they must be kept in a warm, dry enviornment because they are unable to regulate thier body temperatures.

All things considered, paying $30-40/ hen really doesn't seem that expensive!


GENDER CERTAINTY-

With the exception of auto-sexing breeds, the average breeder does not have the training required to accurately sex chicks. Hatcheries have the means to hire trained experts, but even then, they only offer a 90% guarentee on accuracy. There are lots of old farmer's tricks out there, but I have not found any of them to be accurate.

The only guarenteed way to know 100% if a chicken is a pullet or a cockerel is time. You have to wait for saddle and hackle feather growth, comb and wattle growth and coloration (which varies by breed), and utlimately wait and see if they let out a big crow or a big egg!

With most breeds it is easy to tell gender by 12-14 weeks old. By waiting a little longer, you have a much higher chance at guarenteeing you get a pullet.


NO WAITING-

The majority of breeds start laying eggs at 20-24 weeks. Some production breeds will start closer to 16 weeks, while some heritage breeds can take up to 30 weeks. When you are growing out your own chicks, that is an excruitating wait time! By purchasing grow out pullets, you can reduce or possibly eliminate your wait time. You can get a much faster return on your investment!


HOW DO WE DO IT?

In addition to the breeds we currently raise, we do purchase hatchery pullets to grow out. This allows us to focus our breeding efforts on improving the quality of the genetics in the breeds we have and raising great birds. It also allows us to offer more variety for our customers. We do not have to maintian breeding stock for 20 breeds to be able to offer customers a huge selection.

We have spent the last couple of years improving our brooder capabilities. We can currently comfortably brood over 200 chicks at a time.

We have had a lot of practice! We cannot deny that we ABSOLUTELY LOVE the babies and watching their antics!


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CUSTOMERS?

We have pullets growing out now and more orders expected every couple of weeks. This will ensure that we have a variety of breeds and ages to offer. We update our website daily, so customers can always know what we have available. We do take pre-orders. We will also make special orders for customers if there are certain breeds they want. Please see our Policies pages for details!




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