Expert Problem Re: Sexing and Feed

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Hello All,

I have 11 pullets, 2.5 months of age in an outdoor coop with 300 lbs. of soil for waste management that I turn over every day. I am from the U.S. and retired in the Dominican Republic. In Spanish my breed is referred to as jabao. I will do a separate post with pix for help with breed identification.

Meanwhile . . . when you are new at something and don't know much, e.g. raising chickens, and you speak to the local expert, that can be a problem, for you never know if what s(he) is saying is correct or not because you lack experience. But you can make deductions by observation over time.

So, regarding sexing, when I purchased my chicks at maybe 2 or 3 weeks of age, my expert neighbor sexed them and checked for health. At that time, I had 9 females and 3 males. Now, two months later s(he) comes by to check my flock and Voila! I have 4 females and 7 males! This indicates to me that my "expert" doesn't know how to sex chickens. But how about at 2.5 months? Could s(he) sex them correctly now? My expert wants to swap out 3 of my males for 3 adult females. But what if he's wrong? I hate to give up any of my beautiful birds, exp. when there might be another mistake. I'm thinking, why rush? Wait until they are adults and there is no doubt how many hens and roosters I have. BTW, one is crowing now.

And as regards food, I'm buying what is probably a fine, mixed grain and high protein for the chicks to gain weight. Unfortunately, the company does not list the ingredients on the sacks or the website and the company that sells this product has no idea what's in it. But my chickens at 2.5 months are huge! How much of that has to do with the breed and/or the feed, I cannot say. My expert comes by and says that they will become obese, asphyxiate and die if I continue to feed as such and he suggests I start to mixed in whole corn, maybe 20%, so they can acclimate to the new feed. I figure there's no harm in this, so may as well.

Your thoughts/advice much appreciated!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
10,898
17,850
726
western South Dakota
I like a little corn in my feed - makes for yellow eggs. But as to the rest of the feed issue, I might try this, do not feed free choice. Put out some feed, check at night, if it is empty, feed a little more the next day, if there is some left, feed a little less the next day. Remove the feed at night - chickens don't eat it, but rodents do.

Often times people just getting started, over feed their birds. A lot of feed goes to waste, as there is so much, the birds just bill it out, and trample it into the dirt. This can make your run stink. Your comment of turning over the soil each day makes me wonder about that. I never turn over the soil, but I will sprinkle scratch on bedding so the chickens will turn it for me.

As for the sexing - it is very common for experienced people in poultry, to take a guess and be wrong at 2-3 weeks of age. At 2.5 months of age it is MUCH MORE CLEAR. Generally speaking, if I ever think "wait, is that a cockerel?" it generally is. So, I WOULD take those old girls in a heartbeat, and keep the ones they tell you they are pullets.

Or post pictures on here, people are often asking what sex is this, and we love to chime in. Sometimes it is obvious, and sometimes not so much, but we are pretty honest bunch, and are generally right.

Welcome to this site, it is a great bunch of enthusiasts.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
My Coop
I will do a separate post with pix for help with breed identification.
That would be good, because quick google got me this:
"Jabao is a Spanish Caribbean slang term for a person of mixed race, commonly used on the islands"

So, regarding sexing, when I purchased my chicks at maybe 2 or 3 weeks of age, my expert neighbor sexed them and checked for health.
Is this expert the person you bought the chicks from?
With most breeds the gender is obvious by about 6 weeks, due the com and wattles size and color.
 

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
That would be good, because quick google got me this:
"Jabao is a Spanish Caribbean slang term for a person of mixed race, commonly used on the islands"


Is this expert the person you bought the chicks from?
With most breeds the gender is obvious by about 6 weeks, due the com and wattles size and color.
My expert raises a large flock and is honest but, like many Dominicans in this developing country, semi-literate, and sometimes mistaken in his assertions because he does not investigate. No, he was not the seller, and when we went to the place to buy, a place with many, many types of birds, including peacocks and peahens, he was very wary of the seller, and did not listen to him. Besides sexing at about 2.5 weeks, he was on the lookout for coryza.

Many of my birds now do have distinct combs and wattles, so I will upload photos and we'll see if I can get an answer on how many males.

If "jabao" is to be taken as a metaphor for this type of chicken, that would suggest a hybrid. But this type of chicken is distinctive, so I'm not sure. We'll see what people say when I upload photos today.

Your comments are much appreciated.
 

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
I like a little corn in my feed - makes for yellow eggs. But as to the rest of the feed issue, I might try this, do not feed free choice. Put out some feed, check at night, if it is empty, feed a little more the next day, if there is some left, feed a little less the next day. Remove the feed at night - chickens don't eat it, but rodents do.

Often times people just getting started, over feed their birds. A lot of feed goes to waste, as there is so much, the birds just bill it out, and trample it into the dirt. This can make your run stink. Your comment of turning over the soil each day makes me wonder about that. I never turn over the soil, but I will sprinkle scratch on bedding so the chickens will turn it for me.

As for the sexing - it is very common for experienced people in poultry, to take a guess and be wrong at 2-3 weeks of age. At 2.5 months of age it is MUCH MORE CLEAR. Generally speaking, if I ever think "wait, is that a cockerel?" it generally is. So, I WOULD take those old girls in a heartbeat, and keep the ones they tell you they are pullets.

Or post pictures on here, people are often asking what sex is this, and we love to chime in. Sometimes it is obvious, and sometimes not so much, but we are pretty honest bunch, and are generally right.

Welcome to this site, it is a great bunch of enthusiasts.

Mrs K
Hello Mrs. K.,

Your comments and suggestions are much appreciated.

(1) You have suggested a feeding method but I don't really understand it. Why don't I tell you how I feed and you tell me if I should keep my procedure as is or how I should change it. When I wake up, the flock is out of water and food and hungry and thirsty. They get a full drink and feed, then, one by one, as s(he) finishes, lies down in the shady part of the outdoor L shaped coop (the short end of the L has a roof) for a rest. Around noonish, the food is gone and all are hungry again. Another full feeding. Around 4:00 P.M. or so another, and the last feeding before roosting, around 7:00 P.M. So I am feeding directly into the feeder, without waste, around four times per day. Daily, I also hand feed stalks and leaves of the green vegetable cilantro, which they really like.

Keep doing what I'm doing or change something?

(2) It's rainy season and it rains every day. This means that my soil is compacted from the driving rain, and very wet, so they do not scratch. As soon as I turn the soil over, they start scratching and digging. This also submerges the poop so that it has a better chance of decomposition.

(3) You mention sprinkling scratch on the bedding. I don't know what scratch is (I'm thinking that it's food like unmilled corn) that you throw. I believe that 100 years or so ago, that people did not use feeders but rather cast or threw the food items. And I don't understand how that helps with turnover. My chickens scratch, instinctively, looking for food, even if there is none, but only if the soil is loose.

(4) Regarding sexing, I'm now going to take some photos and upload them.

Your comments and thoughts much appreciated.
 

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
@Mrs. K
@aart

In a moment I will attach photos. I'm not going to tell you how many males my "expert" says I have. When you tell me your best guess, I'll compare the numbers! It was not easy taking photos. It's not as if they pose. If these photos are too hard to decipher. I will have someone hold each chicken, a grab a couple of shots per bird: then entire bird and a closeup of the head, wattles and comb. But let's first see if this works . . .

I have taken pictures. What confusion! I have included two pictures. One has 7 and the other has 2, all different, so 9/11, two missing. What's your best guess? How many males?

I think that what I'll do next, is take a shot of each individual; another day. That would be best.
group of 6.jpg
group of 2.jpg
 

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Oh my. I'm pretty sure every chicken in the top pic is male. I can't see the 2 in the bottom pic well enough to say.
Wow! There are six in the top pic clearly visible, one is standing on boxes and cannot be seen, one can be seen but you cannot see the wattles or comb because s(he) is preening.

Are you including the one who is preening as male, total of 7, or only the 6 clearly visible, total of 6?

So it looks like our friend is right, that we have more males than females. As we want laying hens, it looks like we need to reverse the ratio. Our friend wants to swap out 3 males for 3 adult females. Do you think we should do it? I know it's an individual decision but I'd like your input, pros and cons.

Thanks much.
 

linuxusr

Chirping
Jan 1, 2021
63
124
88
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
@ All

As we are talking about breeds, I want to add of couple of things to the mix. First, can anyone name my breed according to the pics? Second, my understanding of chicken taxonomy is that there is one one genus and four species, all descended from wild Asian jungle fowl. If that is so, why whenever you look at the literature of poultry associations, you see a long list of "breeds." Are these "breeds" varieties of various species that in modern times are bred for particular characteristics?

Can anyone hear clearly name and distinguish species by phenotype or does that require genomic sequencing?
 

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