Anyone else heartbroken when chick turns out to be a rooster?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by andreaharris, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. andreaharris

    andreaharris Out Of The Brooder

    13
    3
    26
    Jan 31, 2016
    I live in Northern California and two weeks ago I purchased 3 one-day old chicks (we named them-Roxy, Penny and Dannie) from the Vacaville Farm and Feed store. I had the store clerk choose the chicks (assuming she knew better than I would if the chicks were female or male) and I'm 99% sure my favorite chick (Roxy) is a he and not a she. I know it's still too early to be certain so of course I'll wait till I know for sure before I do anything but the thought of having to give back Roxy brings me to tears. Am I being rediculous or am I not alone in feeling this way?
    I went back to the feed store today to pick up more chick feed and pine shavings and while I was there I talked to a different employee than the one that was there before. I told her my concerns and she reassured me that nothing bad will happen if I do end up having to bring him back.
    She also told me that one way to tell a male from a female at this age is by the yellow part of their beak and how it goes up towards the top of their head. If it's a narrow long section that goes up to the top of their head it's a girl but if that part is wide and short then it's a male... Again this is not 100% accurate all the time however Roxy's is wide and short compared to the others.
    At two days old I checked how the feathers were layered on all three baby chicks; Roxie's feathers were layered different than the other two's were.. I also held each of them on their backs in my hand and Dannie and Penny kept their feet to close to their bodies while Roxy's feet came straight out... All signs that she is in fact a he and I'm having a tough time coping with the idea that I might have to give her back.
     
  2. Doc McCluckins

    Doc McCluckins Chillin' With My Peeps

    229
    188
    116
    Feb 3, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    I used to work at a feed store and we used some of the methods you mentioned to try to sex them. They are not always accurate! I actually get excited to have a rooster. I would be sad if I had to give them back though [​IMG] I find roosters to be so much prettier than the hens and in my experience they are usually friendlier. I had a polish one time that I just knew was a he. I named him Steve and was so happy. I was so disappointed when I realized I was wrong. I sold her to a neighbor and to this day they still call her Steve. I hope Roxy turns out to be a she so that you can keep her. It is easy to get attached to the little rascals!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,814
    4,271
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You see that a lot with hens ending up with boy names and rooster with girl names. I think it's funny.

    But it's not so funny when you end up with roosters you don't want or can't have due to town ordinances. It has happened to me almost every time I get chicks, including three times this past year. It's disappointing and very stressful.

    But I agree, I've ended up falling in love with every rooster I've ever had.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. andreaharris

    andreaharris Out Of The Brooder

    13
    3
    26
    Jan 31, 2016
    Okay, new problem... My husband; in an effort to try to make me feel better went to the feed store after I got home thinking it would be a good idea to pick up another chick the same breed as Roxy (he did this without telling me thinking it would make me feel better(?) I'm not sure what he was thinking). Luckily since it's only been two weeks since I picked up roxy, Dannie and Penny; this new fourth chick is actually from the same bunch of chicks they were from... however Roxy Dannie and Penny do not like our new Lucy and they are picking on her. What should I do?
     
  5. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Poor baby. Can you put Lucy in a separate container in your brooder so she can see the other chicks and they can see her for a few days? Warmth will be important since she is by herself but hopefully in a day or two they will accept one another. The important thing is that she not get picked on to the point that they do her any real harm. Their pecking order can be a bit hard to witness. Lucy might always be at the bottom of the pecking order but you can never tell.

    As for being sad about unexpected roosters, let me tell you about our boys. We bought 8 Buff O pullets and two cockerels along with 4 Welsummer pullets. From the start we recognized our two Buff O boys, then we noticed something. One of the pullets was growing faster than the others and at 6 weeks grew a bodacious set of wattles and comb. Yep, she was a he and a big he at that. Then wen discovered that two of our Wellie 'pullets' weren't going to be doing any egg laying any time during their lives. Suddenly my two rooster flock was up to 5 roosters and 7 pullets. Good Grief. I knew I was going to have to get rid of at least two of the roosters. But which two. I immediately noticed that the two Buff boys who were supposed to be boys had a decidedly mean streak to them. The 'surprise' Buff rooster could keep them in line but they had the nasty habit of trying to kill the Welsummer roosters who had developed into really sweet boys who were great with the hens. So after getting beat up myself a few times by the two bad boys I passed them onto an Amish neighbor for breeding and Sunday dinner. At that point I had one really fantastic Buff O rooster named Fred the Red or Red for short and the two Welsummer boys, Bo short for BOHICA and Chester named after the character on Gunsmoke that had a bad knee. Chester got hurt in one of his tussles with the two bad boy Buff O's that left him with a bowed leg. In spite of handicap, he has risen to Apha male with Red his sergeant at arms. Now in the meantime, I got a young Lavender Orpington pullet and guess what! She was a he also but hen or rooster, I wanted a LO in the flock so I looked at my 4 boys and the flock of hens which is now up to 12, told them to work it out among themselves and walked away.

    The flock is a year old now. I have a broody hen sitting on a pile of eggs, Chester is still gimping about with Red following him around leading the hens who seem to prefer him over Chester even though Chester is Alpha. and finally, Bo and Larry (started out as Lily but you cannot call a junior rooster Lily. The other boys will just beat him up worse) who stay on the outer edge of the flock trying to impress the girls. Was I sad when I learned about my influx of roosters. Well, yeah. But I tell you, I love our boys dearly. The hens are sweet and funny but the boys have the charm and personalities. I know I will have to part with any cockerels spring hatchings produce and yes, as much as I would like to, I know we cannot keep them all.

    I sure hope your Lucy settles in ok and I hope you can find a way to keep your potential boy. If you can you will never regret it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    580
    61
    118
    Feb 3, 2016
    Hello Andrea!
    I read your posts and have a few thoughts to offer you for both present and future situations. Regarding the sex of your birds, have you considered doing business with a hatchery? They are often able to sex your birds ahead of time and in my experience offer some guarantee. You can also select the most appropriate breed for your situation/climate rather than whatever your local store has on hand.
    As for the problem in your new pecking order what is likely happening is that when a new bird gets introduced to the flock the established birds tend to want to place the new arrival at the bottom of the pecking order. This is natural and you should not necessarily intervene. If the 'bullying' is resulting in any sort of harm or injury beyond a lost feather than you can do a few things to adjust the situation. You could partition the living area temporarily in such a way they could all see each other and become accustomed to the presence of the new bird without allowing them a chance to peck. Make sure there is enough space for them to move around and get away from one another. Tight quarters will make for restless chicks. Restless and bored chickens peck things. Keeping them entertained can be as easy as giving them a few roosting poles to hop up and down on like a miniature jungle gym. Hope this helped.
     
  7. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,184
    260
    211
    Jul 18, 2013
    Pennsylvania
    The methods you are using for figuring out if someone is a rooster may or may not work. Often I'm thinking a young one looks like one sex and it winds up being the other. If I have several the same breed and age it is often easier to tell plus now I can sometimes note behavioral differences fairly early.
    Hopefully in a short time your new chick will be accepted, but I do think it helps if you can introduce at least two instead of one.
    Last year I had a hatching timed to coincide with chicks purchased, but the purchased chicks arrived a week later then initially planned and they were a smaller breed which meant they were smaller and I had planned to raise them together.
    At night when it was dark I put them under the brooder with the week olds and twice as bigs (I have a Brinsea Ecoglow20 which is dark which was good in this case, so I just tucked the newbies under it. when I came out in the morning the little ones were already following the big ones to the feeder and waterer and were settling in nicely. The smaller ones would scoot up against them when the bigger ones settled down and they got along fine from the get go.
    Hopefully Roxy will be a girl and soon they will they will all be friends.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,814
    4,271
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chickenchaser makes some very good points. Two-week old chicks are not too young to have a very operational pecking order, and the secret to dealing successfully with this sometimes brutal ritual of bullying, is to have plenty of space.

    I highly recommend scrounging up some nice big cardboard appliance boxes, duct taping them together if you can't find one really huge refrigerator size box, and cut a nice pass-through between them so you end up with a chicken condo with space for the chicks to run from one end to the other to get away from any bullying.

    Even small chicks enjoy perches, and it's real easy to get sticks and insert them into the cardboard sides to create some "climbing equipment" for the chicks. Chicks are like little kids, enjoying stuff to climb on and sit up above the others, and that helps the bullied evade the bullies. It's a lot of fun creating a luxurious condo for the chicks out of cardboard because you can cut out windows and cover them with clear plastic so they get plenty of light and can watch the world go on around them. This makes for more self confident chicks than if you keep them in a small box they can't see out of.

    And finally, please sit down with your well meaning but ignorant husband and lay down the law against bringing home any more chicks because any more new chicks is going to really make an unmanageable zoo out of your little flock if you get any more that happen to be of a different age and size, and as the pecking order becomes established, another new chick could end up getting killed.
     
  9. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    3,971
    320
    233
    Jan 17, 2013
    California
    Hi if your bird DOES end up being male you can make his crow no louder than a hens by going online to "my pet chicken" and in the search box type in CROW NO MORE OR "NO CROW ROOSTER COLLAR" results very on different birds but the collar can make a big difference!! it can quiet the crow hopefully enough to keep the bird. Hope this helps. :)
     
  10. andreaharris

    andreaharris Out Of The Brooder

    13
    3
    26
    Jan 31, 2016
    I don't know if this was the right thing to do but it worked out very nicely.... I put Lucy into a separate brooder next to the other chicks. I placed only one chick in with Lucy at a time for about 12 hours each. Each chick that came into Lucy's brooder snuggled up with her to sleep under the light and there were no problems. After each of the 3 chicks had time with Lucy I moved all 4 chicks into their new bigger Brooder that my husband made. All 4 chicks are doing great together, they sleep all together and while sure, there is still an obvious pecking order between them but it seems they understand and accept Lucy now.
     
    2 people like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by