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Secondary Sex Characteristics

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I found this on the internet and hope I'm putting it in the right place on the forum.  I found some of the points about feathering (Sec.II partB #2) rather interesting and thought some of you who are questioning what sex your chicks are would too!

These are some of the secondary physical sex charachteristics of chicks between 4 and 6 weeks old. 

Excerpt From UC Davis paper:

UC Davis Veterinary Care Program

Office of the Attending Veterinarian
Bird Handling and Laboratory Skills Class
Sherri Goss, RVT, RLATG


Section II Part B Sexing birds is not always an obvious task. Sexing day old chicks can be done by experts using the vent or feather methods. These methods are difficult to learn. There are some guidelines to help determine the differences between females (pullets) and males (cockerels) but they are not always present. Between the ages of 4 and 6 weeks, chickens develop secondary sex characteristics. Sexual dimorphism exist, however, there can be females that exhibit male traits and males that exhibit female traits. A reliable method of sexing chickens that lack sexual dimorphism is laparoscopy or by DNA analysis which is currently the most common method used.

1.  Behavior- Cockerels will instinctively stand erect with their heads upright and will emit a peculiar warning chirruping sound when startled by an outside stimulus. Pullets on the other hand will more likely crouch down low and remain silent. Cockerels exhibit more aggressive behavior towards other birds than do pullets.

2. Physical Characteristics (4-6 weeks of age)   
a.  Comb The cockerels comb is medium size and pinkish, the pullets is small and yellowish.
b.   Legs The cockerels legs are sturdy and long, the pullets are finer and shorter.
c.   Tail The cockerels tail is stumpy and curved, the pullets is longer and straight.
d.   Back The cockerel has a thin line of stub feathers down the center of his back, the pullet has more advanced feathering along the center of her back.
e.   Side of neck, flank and crop The feathering in the cockerel in these areas is poorly advanced, the pullets feathering in these areas is well advanced.
f.  Wing bows In the cockerel the wing bows are bare, in pullets the wing bows are covered with small feathers.

3. Color-crossed chicks Cross breeding birds of particular colors will result in male chicks having a different color down than female chicks. Here are 4 examples:   
a.  Mate a gold rooster (Rhode Island Red, Buff Rock, Buff Leghorn) to a hen which is silver (Light Sussex, Light Brahma, Pure White Wyandotte) and the cockerels will have a whitish grey or pale brown down and the pullets will have a reddish-brown or buff down.
b.   Mate black red type roosters (Old English, Modern Game, Welsummer) to hens that are silver (Light Sussex, Light Brahma, Pure Rock) the cockerels will be grey with black and grey marking while the pullets will have brown stripes and markings.
c.   Mate a non-barred, no stripes on feathers, rooster (Australorp, Black Leghorn, Rode Island Red) with a barred, stripes on feathers, hen (Plymouth Rocks, Cuckoo Leghorns) and the cockerels will have a white spot on the back of their heads and the pullets will have dark brown or black heads.
d.   Mate dark legged roosters (Silkies, Minorcas, Campines) to hens with light legs (Sussex, Leghorns, Wyandottes) and the cockerels will have pale legs and the pullets will have dark legs.

Everyone is in awe of the lion tamer in a cage with half a dozen lions-everyone but a school bus driver.
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Everyone is in awe of the lion tamer in a cage with half a dozen lions-everyone but a school bus driver.
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post #2 of 8

smile  Thanks! This info is really helpful to me! I'm making myself crazy he trying to figure out what my chicks are! barnie   They're all so different depending on the breed! Thank you!yippiechickie

post #3 of 8

Really helpful.  Thanks  jumpy

This kinda confirms some of my roos, though they are just now turing 4 weeks old.

Wilbur, Mr. Whitestone and 19 hens.... a good mix - BOs, Wheaten Marans, Whtn Marans/Whtn Americaunas(Olive eggers), BLRWs, EE, Jarhons, etc. 
Exuberant Josie our shep/lab mx and Cricket our super mouser 

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Wilbur, Mr. Whitestone and 19 hens.... a good mix - BOs, Wheaten Marans, Whtn Marans/Whtn Americaunas(Olive eggers), BLRWs, EE, Jarhons, etc. 
Exuberant Josie our shep/lab mx and Cricket our super mouser 

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post #4 of 8

what in the world is a wing bow?
                                                   v
                                                   v

f.    Wing bows In the cockerel the wing bows are bare, in pullets the wing bows are covered with small feathers.

Sussex,Lavenders,projects,Muscovies,Rabbits and someday Dairy Sheep.
Religion is not a guarantee of moral behavior.         
Better to give your kids your values you have than the valuables you can't afford.
THE PROBLEM IS THE SOLUTION.
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Sussex,Lavenders,projects,Muscovies,Rabbits and someday Dairy Sheep.
Religion is not a guarantee of moral behavior.         
Better to give your kids your values you have than the valuables you can't afford.
THE PROBLEM IS THE SOLUTION.
Reply
post #5 of 8

Great info!  Thank you!!!!!

Happily sharing a small farm (needing lots of work) with my wonderful husband, two kids, and a bunch of feathered and furry babies!  If I'm not here then I'm probably reading at www.lewrockwell.com
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Happily sharing a small farm (needing lots of work) with my wonderful husband, two kids, and a bunch of feathered and furry babies!  If I'm not here then I'm probably reading at www.lewrockwell.com
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post #6 of 8

Thank you for info.

MAMA to 10 kids, , 8 cats,  bunch of fish,, ,and 3 chickens for now....

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MAMA to 10 kids, , 8 cats,  bunch of fish,, ,and 3 chickens for now....

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post #7 of 8

Very good information. I'd like to see it as a sticky, and perhaps with pictures (simple) to support the anatomical references.

Yes, I have been scrutinizing my three month old BO's for a while now. Gender is becoming clearer every day, but I would like to know more about what I am looking at as it develops.

Thanks!

post #8 of 8

you should put this in the learning center!!  http://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/create/type/0 

There is a link

I am a Proud Owner of a male American Black duck and two female Rouen's!!!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

-Matthew 6:26
 

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I am a Proud Owner of a male American Black duck and two female Rouen's!!!

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

-Matthew 6:26
 

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