You may see a lot of hatcheries offer ‘straight run chickens‘ for sale (also called ‘as hatched‘ or ‘unsexed’ chickens). If you are new to backyard chicken ownership, then you may be tempted by the idea. After all, straight run chicks are a lot cheaper per chick. So, what does straight run chickens mean? Is there a difference between straight run vs pullets?
That is what we are going to take a little look at on this page!
What are Straight Run Chickens and What Does it Mean?
To put it simply; straight run chickens are a mix of male and female chickens. No chick-sexing has taken place with these chickens. They have hatched, and then they have been sold on.
This means that when you order straight run chickens, you do not know exactly what you are going to get (how much hens or how much roosters).
If you ordered eight chickens, it could be all male. It could be all female. It could be a mix of each of them. This is why the price is so low on this type of chicken. You just never know what you are going to get.
Straight Run vs Pullets – The Pros
Obviously, the major pro when it comes to comparing straight run vs pullets is the fact that the ‘unsexed’ chicks are cheaper. Straight runs usually range from $1.25 – $3.50 per chick.
When purchasing sexed chicks, expect to pay more for pullets than straight run chicks and less for cockerels.
One of the most expensive parts of the whole ‘hatching’ process is hiring somebody to do the sexing. Outside of commercial farming operations, chicken sexing is a highly specialist skill.
Only a few people know how to do it accurately. This means that they are able to charge top dollar for their skills. If the chicken sexer is taken out of the process, then the costs of hatching the chickens will come all the way down. That means these savings can be passed onto the customer.
If you are only using your chickens for meat, then straight run chickens is a good way to go. After all, it doesn’t matter what sex the chicken is when it ends up on your plate, does it?
If you want a couple of eggs in the mix, then the chances are quite high that you will have at least one or two hens in the mix if you are ordering larger quantities of the breed. So, once again, there probably isn’t going to be that much of an issue here.
Basically, you should opt for straight run chickens when you need a lot of chickens and you are not too fussed what their gender is.
Obviously, there are cons to straight run chicks. If you are specifically after hens or roosters, then the straight run is not the way to go. It would be far, far better for you, in the long run, to pay for the birds that have been sexed.
This way you know what you are going to be getting. It also means that you are not going to be overloaded with chickens that you don’t really have any use for.
Obviously, you are also going to need to trust the company (hatchery) that you are getting your straight run chicks from. Some of the less-than-reputable companies are not quite as good as you would think.
They may do a bit of light sexing, and everything that they couldn’t identify (or don’t want) is sold as a straight run chicken, even though they know what the genders are.
This is what you may get when you buy straight run chickens 🙂