A primary lesson for some of us new people trying to sex chicks

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by HeatherLynn, May 13, 2010.

  1. HeatherLynn

    HeatherLynn Songster

    May 11, 2009
    Kentucky, Cecilia
    Ok so saddle feathers are the feathers in back? Pointed male/round female? Is that true in all breeds

    Comb and waddle development So we are looking at 6 to 8 week old chicks and we have red comb and waddle developing. Roo? If so is that true on all breeds or are there exception breeds to this rule?

    What is Roo behavior. I have my 2 roos and frankly I think the hens are more roo like than my roos. I still have a huge rooster that will pretend to lay eggs and sing egg songs to make the gals lay. So what are the roo behaviors we are looking for?

    Some have mentioned how they hold their body. Is there a difference in how they stand?

    In general I guess the information I am looking for is what can we new people look at to help us determine male/ female before they actually lay an egg or crow. I had a year old rooster who never did crow and year old hens that never laid. That would be a long wait for a new person. Just looking for tips that those with experience have found to be helpful in sexing.
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Saddle feathers are by the tail, in the picture you can see the copper colored saddle feathers coming in on my rooster. Hackle feathers are also pointy on roosters.

    Saddle feathers don't come in until around 12-14 weeks. Some breeds get them later like my Olive egger rooster, still doesn't have saddle feathers and he's 15 weeks old. His hackle feathers are pointy though and he's found his voice.

    Clues to rooster but not a guarantee:
    Pink comb/wattles at a young age (8 weeks and under) Easier to tell when you have several, you can see the growth differences.
    Think legs. Rooster legs are a lot thicker than pullet legs.
    Slower feathering (sometimes, but not always)
    Certain breeds you can tell by their feather color (some EE's, Silver penciled rocks, Dark brahma's, Welsummers, Barred Rocks)
    Some people state that aggressive behavior is an indicator of rooster, but I haven't found this to be true. I've had a pullet bite my finger just the same as a rooster bite my finger.

    Here's a shot showing the difference in welsummers comb at 5 weeks. Rooster in the front, pullet in the back
  3. lambchicks

    lambchicks Songster

    May 21, 2009
    North Carolina
    This is very interesting to me also. Anyone want to chime in on the "rooster stance"?
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    This might help....

  5. Tallgirl17

    Tallgirl17 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    St.Louis area/IL
    Those diagrams are great! I've been trying to figure out what wing bows are! Now I know, I have my suspicions!Thanks!
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  7. chickenlittle32

    chickenlittle32 Songster

    Apr 19, 2009
    Rayne Louisiana
    Those diagrams are great! Thanks Chris!
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    These are the things I look for. Many cockerel chicks will start to show more pinkish/reddish color in their combs by 3-4 weeks. A few weeks later many of them will begin to sprout little reddish wattles under their chins, they look like teenage boys growing their first beards.

    Many cockerels will have thicker hocks showing at 4-5 weeks. But don't be fooled by the spur bumps, they're not usually an indication of sex. Both sexes will have them, & some are bigger than others. But roosters don't start growing out their long spurs until about 6 months or so, well after you can tell what they are already.

    At around 9-10 weeks you can start looking for those thin pointy feathers to sprout at the back of their necks & at the base of their tails. Part the feathers in those places & look for the new feathers growing in. There is one breed I know of, the Sebright, a bantam breed, that doesn't get those pointy saddle feathers. And I guess some EEs don't either, I have a year-old roo who never got them.

    The rooster stance seems to be a sort of U-shaped look they get as they mature, starting around 4-5 months. Hens seem more boxy, with their heads & tails not as high above their backs as the roos, who carry their heads & tails higher, making a U when viewed in profile.

    Both pullets & cockerels will peck & fight, and even chest-bump. But cockerels will be interested in mating long before the pullets in their age group. You may hear a pullet squawking in protest while a male flock-mate grabs her neck feathers & tries to climb on her back.

    Young cockerels will also begin to get a more metallic gleam to their tail feathers. They start growing those long curved tail feathers at around 5-6 months. You should be able to tell the gender of most chickens before they begin to crow or lay, but there are always a few who will keep you guessing up to the last minute.
  9. These diagrams are awsome. Can someone e-mail them to me?

    [email protected]

  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    In some breeds the hens have rather large combs (leghorns, for example), so their comb may look larger than a same age bird of a breed with a smaller comb; however, if you compare two birds of the same age and breed, the boys tend to get larger combs earlier.

    In barred birds (including cuckoo and crele, but not including those that are autosomally barred such as campine) males usually are considerably lighter in overall appearance than females due to wider white bars; however it is possible for a male to be as dark as a female if it carries only one copy of the barring gene. Females are never as light as a male with two copies of barring. This does not show in young chicks, but only as their feathers grow in.

    Males pubic bones tend to be very close together; females farther apart and more flexible. This is something you feel, not see. The older the bird the more obvious the difference.

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