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Adding Grown-Out Pullets

Our farm has become known in the area for raising pullets past the need for supplemental heat. We enjoy helping folks add new birds to their flocks without having to go through the most fragile chick stage. Read on for details on the steps we take to care for your birds and ways to ease their transition.



We purchase hatchery-sexed pullets from Murray McMurray. As of the chicks we received on May 1st, 2023, they are all vaccinated against Marek's disease. We raise them in Hatching Time brooders and Hatching Time or GQF grow-out pens. This allows use to raise them in the most sanitary conditions to provide you, our customers, with the healthiest birds possible.


Unfortunately, we are not able to vaccinate for coccidia due to the cost prohibitive nature of unmediated chick feed. Chicks who have been vaccinated against coccidia must be fed unmedicated chick starter. To combat this common parasitic infection, we house pullets in special brooders and grow out pens to provide them with the most hygienic environment possible.


We do take pullets outside, as weather permits, for doses of sunshine and fresh air.

What to expect?

A 6-week-old pullet (female).

If we detect signs of illness, we will hold that bird back from sale.


How to introduce them?

If these are your first birds:

  • Place them in a coop with an attached and enclosed run.

    • Young birds are the most vulnerable to predator attacks, especially aerial predators, we do not recommend free-ranging birds until they are larger in size.

If you have an existing flock:

  • Place your pullets in a dog crate or small, adjacent chicken coop for your existing flock to acclimate to their smell and see them without being able to injure them.

  • Always introduce 2 or more birds to an existing flock. Introducing a single bird makes them a prime target for bullying, and your existing flock will bully them.

    • Bullying can include injury, restricting food/water access, and even death.

    • Please do not skip the acclimation period or try introducing a single bird, there is strength in numbers.

How to care for your pullets?

Feed:

  • We feed them Tucker Milling Medicated Chick Starter. This food contains Aprolium to help prevent coccidiosis in young birds.

  • Chicks/grow-outs should remain on a starter/grower formula of feed until they are 16-18 weeks of age. These formulations have a higher percentage of protein needed for growing birds.

Water:

  • ALWAYS provide continuous access to fresh, clean water. We love our waterers with water cups. Cleanup is quick and easy, and you can add them to any bucket or even a rain barrel!

What to watch for?

Signs of Illness:

  • Lethargy

  • Decreased appetitie

  • Fluffed feathers - sitting down, head tucked, and feathers fluffed out

  • Sitting up with their eyes closed or partially closed

  • Bloody diarrhea

Bullying:

  • Feathers missing from their back/tail (or from their top hat in Polish pullets)

  • Being chased away from food and/or water

  • Being chased off roosting bars

Troubleshooting

Signs of Illness:

  • Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions/concerns about illness. Here are some helpful details to include:

    • When symptoms began

    • What symptoms you have observed

    • Pictures of the chicken or even their poop if that is the concern

  • Coccidia is the most common illness we see in pullets shortly after they experience a change in their environment. You can read more about Coccidia, symptoms, and treatments here (coming soon).

Bullying:

  • Separate the pullets as soon as possible.

  • Allow a longer acclimation period

  • Closely observe the pullets when they are reintegrated to ensure the bullying behavior does not start again.

We hope these tips help you plan ahead for a smooth transition, but as always, we are happy to help anytime someone reaches out!

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