A few questions from a proud new mom


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 13, 2008
Our dream of backyard chickens is finally a reality, much to DP's chargrin:) We picked up 7 straight-run Buff Orpington chicks from a feed store on Saturday and hoping there is at least 3 girls in the bunch. I am learning so much from this forum from all of you, and I'm hoping you can answer some specifics for me.

I forgot to ask how old they are at the store. What do you think? They have some feathers starting already

When can a novice start to determine the sex of these chicks? Due to ordinances we cannot keep roosters so I'd like to rehome them asap.

Should I mark them to determine who's who, and if so, how do I go about this? A book I bought recommends marker, any color except red.

We built a brooder from a large rubbermaid tub. How long will they able to stay in this utb? DP are working on a coop but the weather has been less than COOPerative (sorry I had to:D) We're hoping to get it done in about 5-6 weeks.

Thank you so much!

As you can tell, my daughter is as happy as I


Everybody loves a Turkey
11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Eastern NC
I would say about a week old.

On the sex of Buffs, the males will have thicker legs, plus the combs will be bigger. They will be pretty big at 5 to 6 weeks, they will more than likely need a bigger brooder by then.

I'll give you a trick to help them from kicking shavings in the water.
Put it up on a brick, it will help keep the shavings out. When they are smaller you can pile more shavings around it like a ramp, then as they grow they won't need it.

Steve in NC


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
They are a few days old, maybe a week. In a few weeks you will start to see redder larger combs and thicker legs on what is most likely the roos, but this is not foolproof. You didn't give dimensions but they may be too crowded in that tub before 6 weeks. Maybe do a search on here for space requirements for chicks. Mine at 3 weeks were running full speed and half flying around their coop. They grow fast! I don't mark my chicks.


10 Years
Feb 26, 2009
Hoquiam, WA
I found that i have a hard time early on determining sex with Buff Orps. I have one set of mine, 12 orps, 6 ees and 4 turkeys, in a 55 gallon rubbermaid tub and they are about a week old. The other set of 20 orps and 10 ees had to be moved to a large brooder at two weeks old. It was too cramped and they were flying out already. Most of the time you will be able to tell when they are ready to be moved. Remember that they still have to be kept warm till they are fully feathered. Look up brooder ideas on this site. It saved me a lot of time and money building my own. Good luck!

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