There are a few ways to get chickens. You can get then when they are only a few days old, referred to as ‘chicks,’ which is the most common. You can get them when they are a few months old, at this age they are referred to as ‘pullets.’ Or you can get them as adults.
Let us discuss why you might choose to get them at the different ages. My preference is to get them when they are only a few days old. This way they get to know you from a young age and will view you as a parental figure in a sense. You can feed them a little by hand, as well as hold and pet them. This will get them accustom to you, and as a result they will be friendlier and less likely to run away from you later on. Getting them as chicks requires a little more work during the first 5 – 8 weeks. Read the article about raising chicks here.
Pullets are chickens which are almost fully grown, and have all of there feathers. Unlike chicks, pullets are ready for the outdoors, so when you get them they won’t need a lot of care, or a heat lamp. Pullets are still a few months away from laying eggs, and they will have some time to get used to you.
Adult hens typically are already laying eggs. You won’t have to wait to get those tasty eggs. Remember that chickens will lay eggs extremely well for 2 – 2 ½ years and then their egg production will slowly decline. This is one on the down sides to getting adult hens.You can’t be certain how old they are and their most productive egg laying years might be behind them. They also might be set in their ways and not warm up to you or be as friendly as if you got them at a younger age.