What are Straight Run Chickens?
You will sometimes see this phrase when buying baby chicks online. On our website we have some breeds that are “guaranteed female” and others that are sold straight run. Straight run chickens are a mix of male and female chicks. Each straight run chick has a 50/50 chance of being male or female when you order them. They are not sexed before they are hatched (you cannot tell the gender of an egg) and they are not sexed when they hatch so you do not know which sex you will get when you order them. Straight run chickens are typically less expensive than sexed chicks, but they do come with the “risk” of receiving a rooster.
The Pros and Cons of Straight Run Chickens
- Straight run chickens are typically less expensive than sexed chicks.
- You have a 50/50 chance of getting both male and female chicks, which can be helpful if you are planning to raise both for eggs and meat or if you would like a flock protector.
- If you end up with a sweet rooster they will bring balance to your flock of hens and protect them from predators.
- You will be actively stopping the killing of unwanted male chicks that large scale hatcheries practice upon hatch.
- Straight run chickens are often more available than sexed chicks, especially at smaller hatcheries like ours.
- You do not know which sex you will get when you order straight run chickens, so you may end up with more roosters than you want.
- Roosters can be noisy and aggressive, the safety of you and your family is always number one. An aggressive rooster should be removed immediately after the first sign of aggression.
How to Choose Straight Run Chickens
If you are considering getting straight run chickens, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Do your research and choose a reputable chicken hatchery.
- Order your chicks early, especially if you are looking for a specific breed. We often sell out months in advance
- Be prepared to have both male and female chicks. If you know you would like three hens of a specific straight run chicken breed then go for six chicks to hedge your hen bets.
- Have a plan for what you will do with the roosters if you do not have enough space for them. Often times local feed stores will take them and resell them to other folks looking for flock protectors.