Buying Adult Chickens
If you’re ready to start with chickens and want to have eggs right away (you just can’t wait), you’ll need to purchase adult chickens. While it is possible to purchase started birds from hatcheries, it’s pretty expensive to get them this way.
Your best bet for buying POL pullets, or Point Of Lay, is to find someone locally who is selling birds. They’ll be considerably more expensive than purchasing chicks, because the seller will have taken into account the cost of raising the birds to adulthood.
buying adult chickens
Depending on your part of the country, you could try Craigslist, eBay Classifieds or a local farmers market listing to find your birds.
When going to someone’s farm to see birds, the first thing you should look at is the cleanliness of the property, the conditions the birds are kept in, how clean and spacious the birds’ living area is, and how healthy the other birds on the property look. It is important, even as new chicken keepers, that you trust your gut instinct; if there is any question in your mind about the health or viability of the birds you are considering purchasing, you should pass, and find other birds. There’s plenty available.
Buying adult chickens
The age of birds should be considered when purchasing. It’s very difficult to tell the age of birds when buying, you can only really take the sellers word for it. Chickens begin laying roughly from between 16 to 24 weeks of age, some breeds mature slower and take longer to begin. They produce fairly consistently for the first two or three years of their life, molting in between seasonal laying cycles, and then their production starts to tail off. At that point in time, some people decide to send them to the big soup pot in the sky, others allow them a benevolent retirement in the yard.
What you want to try to avoid doing is purchasing a bird that is well past it’s best egg laying days; again, using your discretion as to the honesty and trust-worthiness of the seller is key.
When you bring your adult birds home, if you plan to eventually allow them to free range that’s fine, but be sure to lock them in a contained area for a couple weeks so that they can get used to their surroundings and learn where to lay their eggs. Moving a bird can cause it to become stressed, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get eggs right away, it may take them a little time to get back into the swing of things.
After a few weeks, it is safe to let them out during the day to free range, offering them as much protection from predators as possible, and you will find them to be able and willing garden helpers.
Hoegger Farmyard Contributor
Happily returning to her farming roots, Katy raises Nigerian Dwarf and Angora goats, chickens and Dutch rabbits in North Georgia – alongside an ever-expanding four season garden. The goal of sustainability and complete self-sufficiency is never far from her mind, and she seeks to share the love and inspire others to get closer to their food and provide for their families from their own back yard.