Do Hens and Roosters Mature At The Same Rate?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Cheesay, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. Cheesay

    Cheesay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    I have a barnyard mix of chickens that are all under a year old. I know for sure I have 2 roosters and 2 hens. The other is still a mystery. They seem like full sized birds now, but there are no eggs being produced. I heard the roosters crow for the first time the other day and saw one attempting to mount one of the hens. I'm just curious, since the roosters seem to be coming of age, should the females be laying eggs now/soon? They get crumbles in the morning and free range in the evening.

    I've had other batches of chickens in the same set up that laid just fine too.
     
  2. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    Usually roosters mature faster than hens. How old are your chickens?
     
  3. Cheesay

    Cheesay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know how old exactly. Was told under a year, which I believe as they have grown quite a bit since having them. I've had them a month. They seem fully grown. I did see pappa rooster when I picked them up. He was quite large with the biggest waddles you've ever seen. The roosters aren't quite his size, although they aren't purebred so who knows if they'll get that big.
     
  4. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some roosters mature fatser some pullets mature faster sone all do it at the same time.0
     
  5. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    You could post a picture, then we could see how close the pullets look until laying.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Look closely at the feathers. Pay particular attention to the tail fligh feathers. What I look for is the flight feathers are completely in with no further blood supply. It is at that time you will see the changes that indicate maturity where pullets will be likely to come into lay. Roosters may try to mate with hens prior to this point but you will be able to see a marked difference in behavior when the feathers are fully in. Voice will deepen and behavior around hens will become more dignified. Further weight increase can be expected over the next year. With some chickens you will be able to see additional marked changes as they molt into the second set of adult feathers in their second fall season of life.


    Generally, males take an additional two to three weeks to mature relative to female siblings. We may need to define maturity better, as with humans, chicken maturation comes in stages with respect to sexual competence, size, coloration, and behavior. The behavior in particular can vary with social setting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2016
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Different males mature at different rates. Different females mature at different rates. Cockerels normally go through a very long puberty period, usually a few months before they actually become adults. I’ve had some males start this process just after 3 months, some not start until 5 months, some I butcher before I see any real signs of males maturing. Even their sexual organs inside are still tiny compared to what the others have.

    The transition through puberty usually isn’t that long for pullets, although they continue to grow in size after their behavior changes. It’s normally closely associated to when they start to lay. Often, about the time they start to lay they begin willingly squatting for males. But I’ve also seen some that refuse to willingly squat for a cockerel or rooster for months after they start to lay. They are living animals with their own personalities, it’s hard to get real specific as to how individuals will behave because different chickens behave differently. Part of how a pullet or hen responds to a male is the maturity and behavior of the male.

    Even if you knew the age of the pullets it would be hard to tell when they will start to lay. I’ve had pullets lay their first egg at 16 weeks, I’ve had some wait for 9 months. There are a few clues that pullets might be about to lay. The combs and wattles become bright red, though sometimes it doesn’t take long for them to go from bright red to pink and back again. It’s a clue, not a guarantee. If you check the distance between the pelvic bones the wider they are the closer they are to lay. Sometimes pullets start squatting for a male, or even you, when they are ready to start laying, but I once saw a 13 week old pullet willingly squat for a 13 week old cockerel two months before she started laying. These things are clues that they might be close to laying, not absolute guarantees.

    I can understand it sometimes being hard to tell the sex of an older chicken. Most of the time I can tell sex at five weeks but some take a lot longer. Some pullets can look a bit masculine and some cockerels just take forever to actually start that maturing process. If you can post some photos of the one you are not sure about we might be able to tell, but then maybe not. A shot of the head showing comb and wattle development is good, but so is a shot showing posture and legs. Heavy legs and upright posture are signs of a cockerel. At a certain stage of maturity the saddle and hackle feathers become pointed for a cockerel and rounded for a pullet. If a tail feather is curving down instead of growing straight you have a cockerel. There can be a lot of clues but sometimes they are conflicting clues.
     
  8. Cheesay

    Cheesay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The two white ones are roosters, at least I'm pretty sure. Pretty sure the 2 brown ones are hens. The black spotted one is my mystery. It is the same size as the hens, but just seems to have a bit more flare to it's back feathers and bigger waddles. The 2 roosters will occasionally size each other up...puff out their feathers and stare at each other. No big fights or anything. The black spotted one doesn't do that nor do the roosters bother it like that. It is the lowest ranking chicken though.

    [​IMG]
    Perky Tail Rooster

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    Droopy Tail Rooster and Hen
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    Unknown
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    Unknown next to rooster
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    Hen #2

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    Unknown looks like a rooster here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Your unknown is handily the easiest of the lot to call a rooster at a glance. His color type is either golden or silver duckwing.
     
  10. TheKindaFarmGal

    TheKindaFarmGal Overrun With Chickens

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    Unknown is definitely a cockerel. And the pullets aren't ready to lay yet. When their combs start getting big and red, you know they'll start laying soon. Right now, they aren't mature enough.
     

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