NCAT NCAT ATTRA ATTRA

Sign up for the
Weekly Harvest Newsletter!

Published every Wednesday, the Weekly Harvest e-newsletter is a free Web digest of sustainable agriculture news, resources, events and funding opportunities gleaned from the Internet. See past issues of the Weekly Harvest.
Sign up here


Sign up for the Weekly Harvest Newsletter

What Is Sustainable Agriculture?

Master Publication List

Search Our Databases

Urban Agriculture

Energy Alternatives

Beginning Farmer

Field Crops

Crop Insurance

Horticultural Crops

Livestock & Pasture

Value-Added Food Products

Local Food Systems

Food Safety

Marketing, Business & Risk Management

Organic Farming

Pest Management

Soils & Compost

Water Management

Ecological Fisheries and Ocean Farming

Other Resources

Sign Up for The Dirt E-News

Home Page


Contribute to NCAT

Newsletters

Newsletter sign up button

· Privacy Policy · Newsletter Archives


RSS Icon XML Feeds

RSS 2.0: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunities Atom: Events, Breaking News, Funding Opportunities

 

NCAT strives to make our information available to everyone who needs it. If you are a limited-access or low-income farmer and find that one of our publications is just not in your budget, please call 800-346-9140.

 

How are we doing?

 

Home  > Question of the Week

Question of the Week



Permalink I am new to pastured poultry egg production. Should I choose day-old chicks or started pullets?

Answer: In addition to traditional day-old chicks, many hatcheries are now selling started pullets. These are birds that have been raised at the hatchery up to 17 to 22 weeks of age, or the onset of lay. Since these birds spent more time at the hatchery, the price is higher to cover feed, housing, and shipping costs. A chick can cost anywhere from $1 to $3, but a pullet can cost $17 to $20. Buying day-old chicks and raising them until they start producing eggs provides several advantages: lower start-up costs, reduced financial risk, and greater adaptability.

Although every farm situation is different, raising chicks up to lay will usually be more cost-effective than buying started pullets. Feed costs at the hatchery will usually exceed farm feed costs, depending on the source. Furthermore, the added expense of a started pullet causes higher economic risk for a producer trying to make eggs a viable agricultural enterprise. Predator attacks and disease can become even more costly when the starting cost of stock is so high.

Furthermore, although some hatcheries start their pullets on pasture, most do not. The transition to a new, pastured environment is more difficult for an older bird whose habits have already formed. When birds are introduced to pasture at a young age, they can get comfortable with the conditions they will be living in for the long term. USDA's NOP organic regulations require that "Poultry or edible poultry products must be from poultry that has been under continuous organic management beginning no later than the second day of life." If a farm is looking to become certified, it must maintain organic conditions for new chicks, or buy from a pullet producer who maintains organic certification.

You can learn much more in the ATTRA publication Pastured Poultry: Egg Production. This publication examines many of the risk factors that beginning poultry farmers should consider before acquiring a pastured laying flock. It addresses animal-management issues including breed selection, housing, nutrition, predator control, and natural-resource management. It also discusses processing and marketing of the end product, table eggs.

 Permalink

 

« Should I plant pawpaw seedlings or grafted trees? :: What soap is safe to use on organic food crops for insect control? »

Comments:

No Comments for this post yet...


Question of the Week Archives
[Contact]