Can a rooster sex chicks?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by RobG7aChattTN, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. RobG7aChattTN

    RobG7aChattTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    At some point chicks seem to know who is a boy and who is a girl...at least the cockerels seem to like to play fight with each other. I was wondering if either an adult rooster or a slightly older cockerel could tell a pullet from a cockerel easier and at a younger age. Now, I really don't want to have a rooster killing a bunch of chicks, but would it work? Would a rooster only kill the male chicks? Would, say, a four week old cockerel be able to tell the cockerels from the pullets in week-old chicks? Has anyone already tried this experiment?
     
  2. KittyKat3756

    KittyKat3756 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chicks that we have raised have generally been sexable at 4-5 weeks by comb changes and we found that the females play fight as much as the males at that age. Adult cockerels shouldn't see babies that young as a threat regarless of the gender, so should react the same to all of the chicks.

    Which breeds are you trying to sex?
     
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  3. RobG7aChattTN

    RobG7aChattTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think I do a fair job at sexing the chicks at 4-5 weeks but I usually try and sell chicks before they are a week old. It would be beneficial if I could sell sexed chicks at a week old or less. I guess the only times I thought that I was really bad at sexing the chicks was when I hatched out a new breed to raise for breeding stock and the usual reaction that I had was "I can't have THIS many more males than females" and yet that was exactly the case. This time of year I might hold on to them for a few weeks anyway since demand is probably lower. I just need to find an outlet for all the extra cockerels.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think the roosters and all the other flock members can tell the difference in male and female, it just doesn't matter with the littles. My roosters sure don't treat the juveniles any different until around 3ish month, until then they're just babies to be protected in his eyes.
     
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  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Based on my experience over the years with roosters, I agree with donrae.
     
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  6. KittyKat3756

    KittyKat3756 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I think that the only way you can guarantee sex at a week old is to breed sexable at hatching chickens. This could be the auto-sexing breeds (Legbars and so on) or sex-linked crosses (colour sex links, slow/fast feathering sex links and so on).
    The alternative is to spend a few years learning to vent sex on birth, but it doesn't sound like a pleasant process for the chicks.
     
  7. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    X3
     
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    X 4 Now all we need to do is learn how to speak 'chicken' so they can tell us......
     
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  9. RobG7aChattTN

    RobG7aChattTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    I haven't hatched out any of my own cream legbars but when I hatched out my breeders It seems that all the chicks that were "in between" were all just poorly colored males. Even if those weren't auto-sexing the cockerels get color to their combs very quickly and those combs get large very fast. I also hatched out some Black-Copper Marans and although I don't remember exactly how they came along I do remember thinking fairly early that I had two cockerels and four pullets and that is what I ended up with. I was thinking that with my Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, and Blue Laced Red Wyandottes that the chicks that feathered out faster were more likely to be pullets (I know that they aren't a feather-sexing cross...but I have found that the pullets feather out more quickly) but the first chicks that I sold last summer I specifically tried to pick out pullets based on this because the person buying them was a neighbor. He only got 6 and I do remember having trouble finding Buff Orpingtons with faster feathering at a few days old. Well, the guy came by the other day wondering if I wanted any of the cockerels back...for free...before he put them on Craigslist. He had only one Buff Orpington pullet, 3 Buff Orpington cockerels, one Black Australorp cockerel, and one Blue Laced Red Wyandotte cockerel. So...I'm thinking that going by feathering is not as perfect as I had thought. It does seem that you can judge by feathering as they get to a few weeks old but by then the cockerels are starting to get color to their combs. If I had an outlet for cockerels at the four-week size maybe I could keep the chicks this long once the weather warms up a bit but for now I'm afraid that I'll just have too many chicks for that by then as I'm hoping to hatch out 100 chicks every week so at the month mark I'd have 400 chicks plus whatever was waiting to be sold. Even if I was able to find good material to teach vent sexing it just wouldn't be possible much of the time since they have to be sexed before they eat their first meal and I'm often out of town when they hatch and my daughter is the one putting them in the brooder.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Do you have a wildlife or raptor rescue nearby? My local wildlife rehab has agreed to take my male chicks. Selling as reptile food is another option, will depend on your local market.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014

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