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Why Are ‘Straight Run’ Chickens Cheaper to Buy?

Why Are ‘Straight Run’ Chickens Cheaper to Buy?

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Why are ‘straight run’ chickens cheaper to buy? If you are a new-comer in poultry keeping, there are terms that will leave you more confused than before. One of such terms is ‘straight run’ chickens. This refers to the chickens or chicks that aren’t sexed prior to buying them. In other words, they are sold as a mix of female and male chicks. If you’re getting started with chicken keeping, I will help you understand why ‘straight run’ chickens cheaper to buy?

This is because straighten run chickens are not sexed before they’re sold. The task of sexing these birds is expensive and time-consuming. As a matter of fact, the process involves separating males from females in readiness for sale. Once they are separated into males and females, they become more expensive than before. 

Straight-run chickens are sold without determining their respective gender. You can acquire them in batches that come as a random mix of females and males. In most cases, half of them would be male or female. 

You can purchase straight run chickens in different sized batches. Now that they aren’t sexed, you will find these lots to be relatively cheaper than buying all pullet lots. In the end, you will have a mix of roosters and hens. 

The main reason why straight run chickens are not separated into male or female is that the process is costly. This explains why you should order all straight run chickens rather than going for all males or females. 

Buying Straight Run Chickens

  • So, Why why are ‘straight run’ chickens cheaper to buy? If you buy straight run chickens, you are simply casting the dice between male and female birds. This is due to the fact that you cannot be sure of the number of each gender you will get. 
  • In terms of numbers, you can base this argument on a group of eight birds. This means you would have the probability of getting zero to eight males and zero to eight females. In reality, you would end up getting an even number of females and males. 
  • But playing the odds does not guarantee you a win every time you roll the dice. Chances are you might end up raising more of one gender than the other. 
  • Quite a number of chicken sellers determine the gender of their chickens based on the anatomy of each bird. This helps in knowing the number of males and females in a given batch. 
  • As explained earlier, the entire process is expensive because it requires specialists to make it a success. Usually, these birds are young, sometimes a few days old. This should tell you that sexing such young chicks is a very difficult task. 
  • At that tender age, they all look the same and are quite delicate to handle. So, if you have ever seen incubators full of little chicks, you have probably seen straight run chickens.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Straight Run Chickens

Advantages of Straight Run Chickens

  • Baby Straight Run Chicks

    Baby Straight Run Chicks

    As a newcomer in the world of raising chickens, the decision you make will affect the success of your project. This decision may include buying chickens to get started. In this case, you may go for pullets or settle for straight run chickens. 

  • Whichever choice you make, ensure that it will work for you. But I can encourage you to buy straight run chickens for good reasons. Key among these reasons is that these chickens are affordable and you are likely to have a few roosters around.
  • Raising mixed breeds of chickens is a great idea not only to starters but to all poultry owners. Taking care of mixed breeds means that you have several cockerels or roosters for meat and breeding in the future. At least, you will not have to worry about acquiring fertilized eggs for hatching.
  • Also, getting a mix of different genders among your flock of birds can be exciting and fun. Watching your little feathered friends grow without knowing their gender makes you curious each passing day. This motivates you to monitor their progress closely while observing their physical transformation. 
  • On the other hand, knowing the gender of your little birds is important as well. But sexing chickens is a challenging task for many owners, making ‘straight run’ chickens cheaper to buy?
  • Besides, these birds come from different sources, allowing you to have a variety in your backyard. You may order them from commercial hatcheries or acquire a handful of them from your friends.

Disadvantages of Straight Run Chickens

  • On the flipside of acquiring straight run chickens, you may not be able to have only one gender. That is, if you are looking to raise hens only, straight run chickens are not a good option. 
  • Even if sex your young chicks on your own, deciding the fate of your cockerels might be a challenge. The cost of feeding them while looking for their new home may strain your pockets as well. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pullets

Pullets are female young birds that are usually sold separately from cockerels. They tend to be more costly because their main function is the production of eggs. Regardless, your overall cost of setting up an egg-laying farm will be significantly lower since you are sure of getting mostly female birds. 

Advantages of Pullets

  • PulletsPullets are a great choice for you if you don’t want to raise your chicks right from the eggs. Also, this option is great when you want to raise chickens for eggs or meat production.  As such, roosters may not be necessary. 
  • Raising roosters among your group of pullets means that when your hens get older, they will mate to produce more birds. Consequently, you will have a large population of chickens to look after. And this is another expense that you should strive to avoid by all means. 
  • Keep in mind that chicken keeping is an investment that should bring you some profits in the future. To avoid making losses or incurring more expenses, you need to buy pullets. This way, you will be in a better position to keep your operation simple and economical. 
  • How about when you need cockerels in the future? If you feel that you might want a few male chickens in the future, you can purchase cockerels to raise them on your own. Otherwise, you may ask your friends to lend you their roosters if you want your hens to hatch fertilized eggs. 

Disadvantages of Pullets

  • The only major downside of buying pullets compared to straight run chickens is their cost. These birds are expensive at the start because of the sexing process to determine their gender. This could pose some challenges to new chicken owners who may not have an idea of how to go about. That is the reason buying pullets remains the best option for experienced chicken owners.
  • Apart from being expensive, buying pullets has another disadvantage. This comes in the sexing process which may not be 100 percent accurate. Having said that, you may purchase a chick that is identified as female only to realize later that it was male. Unless chicks are hatched with specific traits that determine their gender, it is difficult to sex them accurately. 

Sexing Chicks

  • There are several ways of sexing chicks. But the most reliable method is vent sexing, which is carried out mainly by professionals. Vent sexing entails checking the young chick to find out if it is male or female. Even though this may sound easy, the entire process is tricky and messy. That is the main reason why well-established hatcheries hire professionals to do sexing on their behalf.
  • There are other methods used to identify the gender of young birds. Unfortunately, these methods are less accurate. Nevertheless, you can get information about your chicks’ gender differences by observing their plumage. 
  • But this technique will only work for some breeds and not others. Most chicken breeds have noticeable differences in their wings when they are still young. This helps you to tell their gender right from day one after they are hatched. 
  • For instance, the newly hatched female chicks have well-developed wing feathers, unlike the males. Once you are aware of this physical difference, you can easily sex your young birds regardless of your experience. Most hatcheries will separate chickens by the use of the sexing method before selling them to poultry owners. Basically, this is the purpose of sexing chicks immediately after hatching.

Related Questions

Why should you buy straight run chickens only? You may purchase straight run chickens if you will be comfortable dealing with excess males. Also, you may choose this option if you live where roosters are allowed. Most importantly, buy straight run birds if you are starting to raise chickens because they are cheaper.

What could be the reason for buying sexed chickens only? You are advised to buy sexed birds only if you are a beginner, not willing to deal with excess roosters and if your zoning doesn’t allow male chickens.

How expensive are sexed chickens over straight run? Typically, sexed birds cost 30 to 50 percent more than straight run chickens. But this factor depends on specific breeds of chickens. 

Final Thought

Straight run chickens are less expensive compared to pullets or sexed chickens. These types of birds are suitable for you if you are starting poultry farming. In addition, straight run chickens are an economical choice for anyone who wants to raise hens for fertile eggs.

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!

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