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I am very glad I came across this site. I have been doing a lot of reading about chickens and can not wait to get some. I am currently debating on buying chicks or incubating hatchery eggs. What do you recommend?

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You will have mediocre luck with eggs as shipping can damage them even if they are packed well. Eggs, when laid aren't built for a lot of jostling around. It also depends on whether it's OK that 50% will end up being roosters vs. sexed chicks which are 90% likely to be pullets. If you do want to hatch eggs try finding breeders in your area so that you can pick up the eggs to reduce internal damage.

I was concerned about that Rachel.  I was just kind of thinking it would be interesting/educational for my 3 girls and myself to experience.  I also thought that I could wait and use my own chicks eggs at a later time when I am ready to increase my flock.  

Rachel Hoff gives you very good points to consider.
I would only add that unless you want to go to the time and expense of incubating just for the "experience" of it (kids seem to get a kick out of it, at least the first time, lol) it is much simpler, cheeper (pun intended) and less smelly (if you get a dead egg or two, which will gas the others to death in very short order) to mail order or buy known chicks from a farm supply store. My grandkids and even my 17 year old really enjoy a trip to the feed store when the new chicks are in. (I somehow end up buying a few even when we don't need them.) 
Later, if you get a rooster, you can always pick eggs from your best layers or biggest hens to stick under a broody old gal to raise chicks for you. I keep a some mixed bantam hens around for brooders. Even my smallest ole banty hen can succesfully sit on 4-5 large eggs.

I agree it would be expensive for just a one time experience.  Maybe it is better to just let them observe nature taking its course.  (considering I am on a low budget).  I just remember growing up with a small flock of chickens only one was broody and our dog slowly stole an egg a day when she got up till she was sitting on an empty nest.  Not to mention, I was not thinking about the smell of a dead egg.  thanks for the info 

I agree. Buy chicks, let a hen set on a clutch later.

I've been doing this for a year now, and looking back on it -- I would have felt a little overwhelmed by hatching vs. buying chicks.  Now that I have quite a bit of experience under my belt, I NOW feel comfortable enough to incubate & hatch my own chicks, just haven't gotten that far.  However, this is just what I feel comfortable with -- and starting out it is much cheaper to buy chicks vs. eggs plus the cost of an incubator etc.  Curious to see which way you go!




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