What is a Pullet chicken?

Point-of-Lay-Chickens or pullets

Have you come across the word “chicken pullet”?

Are you among those wondering if it’s a female chicken or male? 

Or are you wondering if it’s another breed of chicken just like the Australorps and Isa Brown chickens?

If that’s your thought, then that means you’ve been thinking wrong for a long long time!!! 

In this guide, you will discover what a chicken pullet is. 

And if you want to know how to care for the pullets, you will find a few lines below. 

Stay with me as I walk you through this guide about pullet chickens.

What is a pullet chicken?

So, now is the time to clear the air.

All chickens are called chicks at a tender age until they start to mature. 

When they get to the teenage stage, they start to take form and the time for differentiation sets in. 

And with this comes a change of name.

The teenage males are called the cockerels whereas the females are called pullets.

Now you know!!!

A pullet chicken is a teenage female chicken. 

In other words, they’re the chickens that grow into hens.

What is the age of a pullet chicken?

Pullets are teenagers. 

And unlike humans, they are not within the ages of 10 – 19. 

In terms of the age of pullets, you can not really state it because it depends on the chicken breed.

But usually, pullet chickens are within 15 – 22 weeks of age.

That’s around 3 – 4 months. 

isa-brown pullet chicken

What are the Characteristics of a Pullet?

Most farmers find it difficult to identify a pullet when they see one. 

The reason is not far-fetched. 

Besides age, a chicken pullet differs not much from a chick. 

And sometimes, they always have the resemblance of a hen.

However, to help you identify them, there are some distinctive characteristics that will help you.

Some of them include;

1. Pullets have a full shiny coat.

You will know your chicken has crossed over to become a teenage bird when it undergoes its first molting.

After their first molting, they take up shiny new feathers which makes them really attractive. 

Also, you will discover that their plumage is glossy and tight. 

Pullets have no broken feathers or any sign of baldness.

2. Development of small wattles and combs.

Following the migration from chicks to “pullet-hood”, the chickens will start to develop comb and wallets. 

The comb is a red flesh-like crest that lines a chicken’s head whereas the wattles hang below its beak. 

At this stage, they are bright red, full but really small in size. 

3. Pullet chicken legs are usually clean and smooth.

Unlike the older chickens which have faded-coloured legs, the pullet legs are better-coloured and smooth.

4. They have a clean and pinkish vent.

Generally, these buddies are still at a tender stage and their vents are still pretty much not stained from too many poops.

Their vents are bright pink, clean and even glossy.

5. The pelvic bones of a pullet are tight. 

Because these chickens have not started laying eggs, their pelvic bones are still firm and tight. 

These tight pin bones suggest that these pullets are not yet ready to lay eggs.

6. Pullet chickens are as energetic as a horse.

At this stage, the chicken’s joy can blow the rooftop. 

That’s the typical nature of teenagers. 

They are so curious, busy, energetic and lively. 

At the stage, they easily get excited and can also get afraid at a wink. 

Pullets who get scared by predators usually get affected. And that will affect when the chickens will start laying eggs regularly.

7. Pullets chickens are lightweight

On a general scale, the pullets weigh less than the hens of the same breed.

This is so because they are still gaining the necessary weight required for them to produce more eggs.

At this stage, most farmers feed their flock fermented chicken feed which usually helps them gain weight. 

Also, this feed helps to increase the number of eggs the chickens lay in a week

You might want to read about what to feed chickens to make them lay eggs

Also, our article “what do chickens eat” will guide you in what to feed your pullets and when.

8. Pullets do not lay eggs.

Now, this is a distinguishing factor between a hen and a pullet chicken. 

Pullet chickens are would-be hens who are yet to lay eggs. 

Most farmers give up on their chickens who are not laying eggs yet but know they’re pullets. 

In other words, it’s not yet time for them to lay. 

Find out about the common reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs yet. 

Until pullets get to their ‘point-of-lay’, they will not lay eggs. 

The egg-laying ability makes it a small hen.

What is the difference between a chick and a pullet?

A chick is a newly hatched chicken. 

However, most people refer to a pullet chicken as a chick simply because it’s a chicken offspring. 

But pullets are more like grown chicks. 

Usually, they are bigger and more well-formed than the chicks. 

Why Choose a Pullet Chicken?

Most farmers wonder if getting chicks is more rewarding than getting pullets.

Well, we do not have a well-defined answer about that. 

It all depends on the need and use of the flock. 

But we do recommend that farmers should go for pullet chickens rather than chicks.

Here are some of the reasons why;

  • With pullet chickens, egg-laying is in sight. The farmer will no longer have to wait long to get eggs from the flock.
  • By nature, the first year of egg-laying for pullets is the most productive. 
  • Also, pullets lay larger eggs on the first lay. Find out about the chickens that lay large eggs.

Why should I not go for pullet chickens?

As much as buying pullets will relieve you of a lot of stress from tending chicks, sometimes it is not a good idea.

Buying a pullet suggests that they must have been bred by another farmer on a farm you do not know anything about (probability).

Chances are that they might have some illness or not be in good shape which may infect the other flocks.

Also, you might not have a track record of the kind of feed the pullets must have had.

This may in turn make them reject the ones you will give them. And that’s a lot of work.

With a change in environment, the pullets might not survive. 

That’s why most farmers tend to buy chicks and groom them from birth or at least at a tender age. 

Chicks do not react more to change in environment and food.

How to care for a pullet chicken

Here, we give you the best tip on how best to raise your pullet flock.

Although there are strict rules to it, we have come up with strategies that have proven results.

So, to care for your pullet buddies the best, here are some strategies to employ;

1. Segregate the pullets from the flock:

Now, if you want to get the best out of your pullets, do not introduce them to a larger community on their first visit. 

A smaller hen pen will do. 

Segregating them from the flock will give them a better space to grow. 

Mixing them with the flock will either make the cocks cross them when it’s not the time or will force them to grow up really quicker than necessary. 

Also, this in turn will help you manage the flock effectively. 

Most farmers agree that segregation is a smart policy to employ when raising pullets. 

2. Check their health status regularly:

Most chickens die more at the pullet stage. 

This is so because they are more prone to diseases, bullying and other illnesses. 

So, it’s best to measure the health of your pullet chicken regularly. 

This will help you keep tabs on their health condition. 

Also, follow through on your vaccination plan and schedule. 

And if any bird is affected, take it out of the population immediately.

This is to ensure the disease does not spread to the other flock.

If the pullets are healthy, the future of the farm is healthy. 

3. Weigh the pullet chickens weekly:

The weight of the chickens determines their egg-laying ability.

So, while the pullets are tending to maturity, it’s best you weigh them. 

And just in case they weigh less than necessary, feeding them organic feed will help them add weight. 

For a backyard farmer, weighing the pullets is not quite a task.

But the commercial farmer might find it a little bit daunting. 

In our article poultry farm equipment, you will find the best tools to carry out this task. 

However, we recommend you do weight sampling as they approach the week of their first egg-laying. 

4. Provide enough water:

One way to take care of the pullet chicken is to ensure they have enough water. 

Ensure the water plumbing and piping is working adequately if you’re a large-scale farmer.

But if you’re not, ensure the drinkers are always filled with fresh water. 

5. Ensure you move the pullets to the laying house on time:

The pullet chicken flock starts laying in their 16th week. 

When they are about to get to their point-of-lay, put them in the laying house.

This is to prepare them for that moment.

That’s why segregation is a policy to adopt when raising pullets. 

6. Feed the pullets the right meal:

Ensuring the pullets are fed well will determine the quantity and quality of eggs they lay.

And if you’re raising them for meat, the fees will contribute to their weight and fluffiness.

And that’s definitely good for the business.

What type of feed do chicken pullets eat?

Feeding a pullet chicken wouldn’t be much of a problem if you have plans and a schedule.

We recommend that you feed the pullets chicken layer feeds after feeding them the chick starter feed from day 1 through 18 weeks.

However, when they begin laying, they will need extra nutrition.

At this point, we recommend an 18 per cent layer ratio.

When do pullets start laying eggs?

Generally, pullets start laying between their 16th and 24th week of age. 

However, some breeds do not obey that rule. 

Some can start laying earlier while others take their time.

The Rhode Island Reds start laying between 18 to 20 weeks.

Whereas the Orpington can get into their business of laying eggs at 28 weeks. 

On the other hand, the chicken breeds that lay early are generally considered production breeds. 

How do I know my pullets are laying hens?

What most farmers do not know is that not all pullet chickens become laying hens.

And that’s a sad truth!

So how do you know your pullet chicken will lay eggs?

Here’s how;

  • A pullet chicken that will lay eggs starts laying between 16 and 24 weeks.
  •  They will appear to be fully grown with clean and new feathers.
  • Also, pullets that will lay eggs have swollen red combs and wattles.
  • In addition, the pullet chicken pelvis bones will begin to separate. Originally, they were tight and firm.
  • Sometimes, they will start to seek privacy. That’s why we recommend you move them to the laying house when they draw near their point-of-lay period.

With these, you can quickly differentiate a pullet chicken that will lay and the ones that are simply ornamental.

How much do pullets cost?

The cost of a pullet chicken will depend on many factors. 

Such factors include;

  • Breed of chicken.
  • Location of purchase.
  • Quantity of pullets the farmer wants to purchase.

However, on a general scale, pullet chickens cost about $7-10.

Conclusion

With all that being said, I believe you now know what a pullet chicken is.

And just in case you see one, how do you know it’s a pullet?

As a farmer, would you rather go for pullets or chicks?

Tell us your choice in the comment section.

References

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