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How to choose chicks from a batch... - Page 2

post #11 of 19
Are you looking for pullets or are you OK if some or most are cockerels? If you want pullets and are pulling from pullet bins look for the chicks that don’t look or act sick. Avoid ones with poopy butts in addition to what others have said.

If you are pulling from a straight run bin, there is a trap waiting for you. Even at that age the cockerels have more personality. They are the ones that will be curious or brave and walk toward you instead of hanging back. They might position themselves between you and the rest, trying to protect the flock. They stand more upright and look very alert. You are going to fall in love with them they are so adorable. You might want to pull chicks from back in the mix, not the ones that stand out. Cockerels often stand upright, with their heads held high. Pullets are often more level to the floor.

Not all cockerels look or act this way. Most probably don’t. There is no guaranty picking chicks this age but you can improve your odds by avoiding the obvious ones. It also helps to be there fairly soon after they come in. Some people are pretty good at not picking cockerels so if a few of them have been there first you may have mostly cockerels left to choose from.

My local is a Tractor Supply, that’s the one I deal with. From reading on this forum it’s obvious that different Tractor Supplies have different people managing chick days. Some know chicks, some don’t know that much. I feel that mine take care of them properly but aren’t very knowledgeable about breeds and such. They do have a fence built around the bins so a customer can’t just pick up a chick and put it back in the wrong bin. The chicks are not constantly being handled or mixed. Different Tractor Supplies get them from different hatcheries too. There are some national Tractor Supply policies but a lot of local management is left up to local management.

Good luck on picking your chicks. That should make for a pretty flock.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

Are you looking for pullets or are you OK if some or most are cockerels? If you want pullets and are pulling from pullet bins look for the chicks that don’t look or act sick. Avoid ones with poopy butts in addition to what others have said.

If you are pulling from a straight run bin, there is a trap waiting for you. Even at that age the cockerels have more personality. They are the ones that will be curious or brave and walk toward you instead of hanging back. They might position themselves between you and the rest, trying to protect the flock. They stand more upright and look very alert. You are going to fall in love with them they are so adorable. You might want to pull chicks from back in the mix, not the ones that stand out. Cockerels often stand upright, with their heads held high. Pullets are often more level to the floor.

Not all cockerels look or act this way. Most probably don’t. There is no guaranty picking chicks this age but you can improve your odds by avoiding the obvious ones. It also helps to be there fairly soon after they come in. Some people are pretty good at not picking cockerels so if a few of them have been there first you may have mostly cockerels left to choose from.

My local is a Tractor Supply, that’s the one I deal with. From reading on this forum it’s obvious that different Tractor Supplies have different people managing chick days. Some know chicks, some don’t know that much. I feel that mine take care of them properly but aren’t very knowledgeable about breeds and such. They do have a fence built around the bins so a customer can’t just pick up a chick and put it back in the wrong bin. The chicks are not constantly being handled or mixed. Different Tractor Supplies get them from different hatcheries too. There are some national Tractor Supply policies but a lot of local management is left up to local management.

Good luck on picking your chicks. That should make for a pretty flock.


Wow - great insight! I love hearing about people's experiences. I am definitely not looking to get any cockerels. The store has a pretty good track record of sexing chicks so hopefully with your advice in mind it will improve my chances of getting all pullets. Thanks!

You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'!
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You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'!
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post #13 of 19

I have heard if you pick a chick up (gently!) by the back "scruff of the neck" that the females will kick and settle down, but the males will put up more of a fight. I have tried this and it seems to work most of the time. Do you think this works?

Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biddiquack View Post
 

I have heard if you pick a chick up (gently!) by the back "scruff of the neck" that the females will kick and settle down, but the males will put up more of a fight. I have tried this and it seems to work most of the time. Do you think this works?


That's an interesting method that I hadn't heard of before. I'd be curious to see if others got this to work too. But, unfortunately I don't think I will be allowed to implement this at the feed store that I am buying from. They will allow me to choose chicks myself, but still discourage much handling before purchase, which I can understand. Thanks for sharing the interesting method though - I am going to google this!

You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'!
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You have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin'!
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post #15 of 19
We heard if you flip them on their backs cradled in your hand. It's had a 99% accuracy for us so far.
post #16 of 19

Neither of those tricks are accurate. Anything you try has a 50/50 chance of working, and if the big hatcheries aren't using it then it most likely isn't effective. The most accurate method is vent sexing for all breeds, and feather sexing for select breeds. 

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by forgetful View Post
 

Neither of those tricks are accurate. Anything you try has a 50/50 chance of working, and if the big hatcheries aren't using it then it most likely isn't effective. The most accurate method is vent sexing for all breeds, and feather sexing for select breeds. 


You sound like my hubby. I guess there is something to be said for science :). But folklore and old wives tales are more fun ;)

Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biddiquack View Post
 


You sound like my hubby. I guess there is something to be said for science :). But folklore and old wives tales are more fun ;)

T​here should always be a time/place in raising chickens for the 'more fun' to happen. Dangling a bird by its neck and flipping them around might even be fun for YOU. It is not the right way to treat and handle a bird though so please DON'T do that. As stated before some breeds can be sexed based on their feathering. Most cannot though and it will be difficult for any amateur to tell the difference having no baseline to compare. UGH, I know science again. 

~Chicken Philosopher~

Our flock as it roosts:

21 Black Jersey Giant Chicks ((20 Females 1 male))

1 Black Cochin ((Free Exotic from MMM whom we adore, gender unknown))

2 Red Sex Link Hens ((Britta and Adventure Chicken))

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~Chicken Philosopher~

Our flock as it roosts:

21 Black Jersey Giant Chicks ((20 Females 1 male))

1 Black Cochin ((Free Exotic from MMM whom we adore, gender unknown))

2 Red Sex Link Hens ((Britta and Adventure Chicken))

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post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenChaser9 View Post
 

T​here should always be a time/place in raising chickens for the 'more fun' to happen. Dangling a bird by its neck and flipping them around might even be fun for YOU. It is not the right way to treat and handle a bird though so please DON'T do that. As stated before some breeds can be sexed based on their feathering. Most cannot though and it will be difficult for any amateur to tell the difference having no baseline to compare. UGH, I know science again. 


I see you, Jake Sully :bow

Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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Beautiful Delawares, Salmon Faverolles, Lavender Ameraucanas and one very protective dog.
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