Early rooster indicators?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Skwishface, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. Skwishface

    Skwishface Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2012
    My apologies if this has been addressed elsewhere on the forum - if so, please just point me in the right direction. :) I'm a first-time chicken mama, so I'm just figuring this all out as I go along.

    I've got a flock of six chicks all about the same age - about 3-4 weeks - and two are starting to stand out a bit. One is a Barred Rock who has always been a little larger than the other chicks, and the other is an Ameraucana who used to be one of the smallest. They're both now noticeably larger than the other chicks, more filled-out in the chest and with bigger feet. All of the birds pick on each other a bit, but these two bigger birds seem to chase each other around more.

    So my question is - are size and behavior possible early indicators that a hopefully-hen is an actually-rooster? Or will I never really know until they either crow or lay an egg?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello! Good question, asked by many but we don't mind helping!

    Rooster indicators: Thicker legs, larger combs/wattles, saddle feathers coming in, bigger tail feathers....

    Chest bumping and things like that will be done by both males and females. They play and try to sort out the pecking order at a young age.

    Sometimes you can tell early, sometimes you have to wait a while. Cockerels (young roosters) crow at all different ages. I've seen bantam cockerels crow as really small chicks, stretching out their necks and letting out a tiny squeak! It's comical. For large fowl, I haven't seen them crow at all until they almost look mature. It truly varies.

    Your suspicions might just be correct. I love just watching the little chicks interact and grow.

    I hope you get all hens, if that's your wish,
  3. Skwishface

    Skwishface Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2012
    Thanks for the input! :)

    I certainly hope my girls stay girls, but if they turn out to be boys ... well, my suburban area doesn't have rooster restrictions, and my neighbors would be hard-pressed to make a case that my birds are noisier than their yappy dogs. But keeping these birds would open a whole 'nother set of questions. Can you keep two roosters in the same coop? What are the pros/cons of keeping a rooster at all? My goal is just eggs, not breeding or meat, so what to do with an extra mouth to feed that doesn't lay eggs?

    The BR is kind of standoffish, so I wouldn't cry to let her/him find a new home. But the Ameraucana is a funny little cuddler, and going to be a gorgeous bird someday soon. All chocolate brown with caramel highlights. I'd miss that one quite a bit. Nobody told me that keeping chickens was going to be so involving!
  4. kipper

    kipper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with the other comments, also if you have some that are much larger, that can indicate roos, too.

    2 roosters? When they are young, they will be okay, but as they mature, they will usually fight. If you have a large open area (free range on 1/2 acre or more) and plenty of ladies, they will sometimes create their own flocks and hang out in different areas.

    Best of luck!

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