Could I estimate chicks age by feather development?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by crossties, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. crossties

    crossties In the Brooder

    Feb 2, 2015
    East Texas
    Hi! I have been looking around here and on a couple other sites trying to find a way to determine how old our chicks are. Not sure if I am not searching with the right keywords or what, but I can't seem to find a chart with chick development after hatching. (Just lots and lots of embryonic development.)

    Our little group of 7 mixed breed chicks came from a local chicken-lady's friend. We were told the chicks had hatched January15, the week before we got them. Well, unless these different breeds feather out at AMAZINGLY diverse times... we have a variety of ages. I would like to know what ages we should expect them to be, so I know when to transition foods, etc.

    Four seem to be quite a way ahead. They have a full puff of inch-long tail feathers, back feathers mostly filled in, and neck and head feathers making little spikes in their fluff, wings have been completely feathers for a week and they have been flying up to a roost (and our arms) since we got them two weeks ago. Two of these were mostly mottled gray and buff wing feathers with one buff one red body. Both are becoming much more mottled gray and red/buff all over now. Other two have white wings, one with buff body and other with white body. Weights are 153g, 162g, 153g, and 134g

    Then there are two (black with white markings, I was told probably from the Barred Rock hen?) that are just now getting their middle covert feathers, and sprouted their tail feathers last week. They just started being able to fly to the top of the cage in the last couple days. 161g (has the least feather development of the oldest 6 chicks) and 149g Their weights were surprising, because they are definitely shorter than three of the other four.

    The littlest was that we were told "had to be from the little bantam rooster she has, because he is so little", came with very new primary wing feathers two weeks ago, and now has six little tailfeathers on his bum. Wants to burrow under our two biggest chicks all the time. Tries to fly and can get to the 2x2 roost that is 4 inches off the ground. 65g

    We'd appreciate any help.
    Tonya and Tabitha
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Pics would help.

    Yes, different breeds do feather out on different schedules. So do cockerels and pullets of the same breed. And sometimes you just get an oddball.

    They also grow at different rates. I had chicks from the same hatch, both pullets, and one girl was four times the size of the other by the time they were 3 weeks old.

    And if you're dealing with barnyard mixes, all bets are off. There's no way to know what to expect of any of them.

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