Cockerel vs. Hen: is it too early to tell?


8 Years
Nov 16, 2015
San Diego, CA USA

I just got 3 (well, it was supposed to be 4, but I'm pretty sure the 4th one is a Barnvelder) New Hampshire Reds who are about 5 weeks old. One of them we named "Diva" because she was bossy from the start. However, Diva now has a fairly pronounced comb and is acting very aggressively with the others. She chases them with her wings out and "flies" at them with her claws out. She hasn't hurt any of them (and I don't think she will, it really seems to be more for show than anything else). But I'm beginning to think that she's a cockerel and not a hen at all, based upon her behavior and comb. But I've also read that comb development is not the greatest way to judge. Can anyone help me determine if she's still a Diva or if he's a Divo?


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The size and colour of comb and wattles, his posture, the thickness of his joints, big feet, pointed hackle feathers and last but not least your description of his antics, which are the mating attempts of an overenthusiastic hormonally stimulated youngster.

Will you keep him?
Thank you. That's really good information to know.

As for keeping him, we're not sure. We live in a rural ag area, so we're allowed to, but I'm not an early riser (and the coop and run are fairly close to my bedroom window). At the same time, I would love to have the experience of raising a roo. The feed store we got him from also said they would take him back, as they have people who look for roosters.

Time will tell. We're currently repopulating our flock and will be adding 4 at a time over the next couple of months and we might get another one.

I would love to hear your opinion about keeping or not keeping.
Do you already have adult hens for him? They could educate him on how to properly "woo" and not molest or even harass a hen. Your pullets will become stressed by him, because they will take much more time to mature.
We have two seniors and believe me, one will DEFINITELY keep him inline (she's very aggressive- and she goes broody quite often).

Would you recommend separating them? I have one that seems to be a bit pale- I'm wondering if he's what's causing it.
Would you recommend separating them? I have one that seems to be a bit pale- I'm wondering if he's what's causing it.

Young pullets are unable to defend themselves and he might even keep them from eating etc.. So yes, I would separate him from the pullets and let him forage with the two adults.

Regarding the pale aspect of your pullet you might check the coop for mites or examine her for lice.

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