When it comes time to raise some backyard chickens for the first time or to add to your flock, you may come across the term “straight run chickens” as you’re perusing some chicks for sale.
Straight run chickens are chicks that have not yet been sexed to determine whether they’re male or female. This means that you don’t know whether these chicks are going to be hens or roosters, or a mix of both.
Generally, you’ll find that with straight run chickens, you’re going to get a mixture of both hens and roosters, sometimes in a ratio of 50:50.
These chicks normally cost a little less than if you were purchasing just pullets which are generally guaranteed to only be hens.
What Are The Advantages Of Buying Straight Run Chickens?
Apart from the cost savings, there are other advantages of buying straight run chickens. If you plan to continue to grow your flock and want to end up hatching your own chicks, you’re going to need at least one rooster to fertilize the eggs.
Without a rooster, all the eggs will be sterile, and if you happen to have a broody hen, she’s going to be very frustrated when she is unable to hatch any eggs. You might even find that you’ll have to buy special sterilized eggs to keep your hen happy.
Additionally, a rooster provides great protection for your flock. You would be surprised at how seriously he will take his job of keeping his flock safe and secure.
Plus, if you have an excess of roosters and you don’t mind processing your own meat, this is a great way to keep your family well-fed and happy.
However, you do need to consider the local laws, as some municipalities don’t allow roosters to be kept in backyards due to their crowing. But, if you live in a rural area and don’t mind waking up to the sound of a rooster greeting the sunrise, this is definitely a good option.
What You Should Consider Before Buying Straight Run Chicks
First, you need to know whether you are allowed to keep roosters on your property. If not, do you have friends or family in a rural area who would be happy to take a rooster off your hands?
Remember that a rooster may start crowing from as young as two months old, but some will start later. At this time, you’re either going to have to give it away or process it for meat. While this might make you feel a little uncomfortable at first, remember that you’ve given the rooster a good life this far, which is more than he would have had if he had been sexed at birth.
You see, many commercial hatcheries have no option but to kill young male chicks because there is just not enough demand for them. At least your young rooster got to enjoy a comfortable life in your garden or backyard.
If you are adding to your flock with straight runs rather than starting a flock from scratch, you might want to separate the cockerels from the rest of the flock. Especially if you already have a mature rooster. This is because the rooster might decide to fight with one of the cockerels and even kill it.
You might also find that the cockerels may well gang up on the pullets or hens, and this can cause some stress to the female birds. Therefore, consider keeping the cockerels separate for a time until you decide what you are going to do with them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a straight run chicken and a pullet?
A straight run chicken is one that has not been sexed and can be either male or female, while a pullet has been identified as a female hen.
Can you breed straight run chickens?
Absolutely! In fact, this is one of the best ways to diversify your flock and get a further bunch of happy and healthy chicks.
Are straight run chickens more aggressive than sexed chickens?
The sexing of chickens has no effect on their temperament. Therefore, straight run hens will be no more aggressive than pullets. However, some roosters may be naturally aggressive depending on their environment and how they’re raised.