Saturday, September 18, 2010

Considering whether or not to buy "sexed" chicks

Since I've been selling a lot of chicks and hatching eggs recently, I have had many folks ask me about the possibility of sexing the baby chicks so that they can be somewhat sure that they are getting hens. Unfortunately I don't know how to do that, but you can buy "sexed" poultry through hatcheries such as the My Pet Chicken website.

Buying through hatcheries is great, but it can be more expensive than buying through a local source. And buying sexed poultry has a hidden downside that many don't realize when buying the chicks. When you buy "sexed" poultry through a hatchery, keep in mind that there are a lot of males leftover. The unwanted males are simply disposed of. I'm sorry for that unpleasant thought, but if we are trying to be truly conscious of our decisions, we must take that into account.

So should you chose to purchase unsexed chicks and don't want or can't keep the roosters, there are a few options:
-sell or give them away for free on craigslist
-bring the animals to a livestock auction, like Stefrobts View did
-if you eat meat, consider raising them for your table... if you are worried about the noise and your neighbors, the roosters generally don't start crowing until it is obvious that they are roosters.
If you do not know how to do the butchering, there are many local sources that will handle that part for you. You just drop off the birds and they come back to you looking like what you purchase at the grocery store. I've heard that this service costs around $3/bird.
-also, several feed stores will often taken in any unwanted poultry

Another option would be buying fully grown birds. Craigslist is a good source, but you can also look for signs at your local feed store.