A couple of chicken questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mistylady, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. mistylady

    mistylady Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Ohio near Coshocton
    1. Most of the 3 week old babeis have no tail feathers. Does that mean they are roos? Most have the lighter color legs but one has darker legs, no tail feathers and the start of a bigger comb (Dominiques)

    2. It looks like I'll be chicken sitting for the winter. How can I make sure I can tell my hens from the others? They're all Dominiques. Are leg bands good or not?

    3. How many babies should be kept together for warmth? They're three weeks old and I want to give the ones away that are promised but I don't want to have so few left that mine get sick or something.

    4. We have 9 full size hens. Hubby wants to keep two roos through the winter to be sure we have a roo that survives the winter. The roos are the babies right now (3 weeks old). Will it be bad to keep the young roos when they are near full size with the hens? How old are roos when they realize the hens are hens?

    Thank you in advance for any help!

  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    They aren't going to get their tail feathers in until they're older.

    The best way to tell roos from hens at that age is to look for any of them developing a comb, if they are, then it's probably a roo. Other than that, they are a bit young to tell.

    Even just a few babies can keep each other warm, but they will need a lamp for heat for a few more weeks regardless.
  3. mistylady

    mistylady Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Ohio near Coshocton
    Thank you!
  4. schmije

    schmije Songster

    Aug 25, 2008
    Peoria, IL
    Leg bands are great for telling the chicks apart. You can buy them, but we used cable ties when we were sorting 4 week old chicks. Just make sure the bands are loose enough, and check them often - especially on the babies, since they grow so fast.
  5. 12 Acres

    12 Acres Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oak Harbor, OH
    It's been my experience with heavy breeds that the females get their overall feathering earlier. The girls have body feathers and tail feathers while the boys still have their chick fuzz. Also, the boys have shorter tail feathers in the chick stage (not talking about a full rooster tail). Cable ties work well while the chicks are growing. Once their leg bones are adult size I switch to plastic leg bands.
  6. ScottK

    ScottK In the Brooder

    May 1, 2008
    Redmond, WA
    I don't think the roos will have much interest in the hens until 16 weeks or so. Roosters are easy to come by, so if you get rid of one now, and you lose the other, you can get another one easily on craigslist or at your farm supply store - maybe would be a different breed though. Just tell the stores you want one - people always are trying to get rid of them around 16-20 weeks old.

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