Feather Growth and Sexing

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mommabice, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. mommabice

    mommabice Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2012
    Mississippi
    My Coop
    I have 8 chicks. All of them seem to be growing feathers at about the same rate (they are 18 days old) across the breeds (4 EEs, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Black Austras). Except one little one. One of the Barred Rocks is not feathering at the same rate, or rather the feathers are shorter than her sister.

    Is that normal, for feather length to vary in the same breed? It seems to have the same amount of feathers, but they are just not as long. I have tried to take a picture, but the silly things won't hold still for long enough to get a good pic of what I am talking about.

    I have heard that slower feather growth can mean you have a roo on your hands...I am really hoping this is not the case since I live in town and can not have a roo. Any experience? Like I said, it doesn't seem to be slower, just shorter.
     
  2. mommabice

    mommabice Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2012
    Mississippi
    My Coop
    Bumping this up...hoping for help?
     
  3. chkinut

    chkinut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    Leesburg, Ohio
    well, in my experience, the roos have the shorter tails and stubbier wing feathers (squared off wings for roos, longer v-shaped for hens). i can usually tell who's gonna be roos and hens by about 10 days to 2 weeks. and it's been right about 90% of the time.
     
  4. dragonmorgan

    dragonmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2012
    South Alabama
    With barred rocks you should be able to tell if its a roo or not by the leg wash, the spot on their head, and the color of their baby chick fluff. I have 2 barred rocks and one has long wing feathers and the other has shorter ones but im pretty positive they are both hens. One of mine is just a little runt.
     
  5. Fly Fisher

    Fly Fisher Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I had read somewhere that barred rock can be sexed by the barring. Males will have barring that has equal amounts of black and white.
    In hens the black will be double the width of the white. This will give the hens a much darker look. The males will look lighter.

    I have found this to be a very accurate method

    fly
     
  6. mommabice

    mommabice Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2012
    Mississippi
    My Coop
    hmm...if I can get them to hold still (or catch them) I will take a close look. I am just hoping it is a runty girl.
     
  7. Zach123

    Zach123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    Denver, Colorado
    Quote: What you may be refering to is called feather sexing, in which a person can compare the length of a chicks primary feathers and compare them to the length of the coverts to determine sex.

    For example:

    This would be a pullet:
    ---------- Primary
    ---------- Covert
    ---------- Primary
    ---------- Covert

    and this is what the wing of a cockeral would look like:
    ---------- Primary
    ------- Covert
    ---------- Primary
    ------- Covert
    (This is just an example to help you understand how feather sexing works, and should not be used as guide for actual feather sexing since I may have things backwards, I am no expert.)

    Generally, I think, this is something that has to bred for and so my guess would be that you cant just take any old commercial hatchery/feed store chick and do this. So, baisically, you very well may have two pullets, or even two cockerals for that matter. As far as I know rate of feather growth would not be a very reliable way to sex chicks. (although, as Im searching around a bit on google, it appears that this indeed is used as a sexing meathod, I still wouldn't count on it.)
     
  8. dragonmorgan

    dragonmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2012
    South Alabama
  9. Zach123

    Zach123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2012
    Denver, Colorado
    Yeah, Dragonmorgan, probably. Like I said, my example may have gotten things backwards. I have never feather sexed so Im not 100% familiar with it.
     
  10. dragonmorgan

    dragonmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2012
    South Alabama
    Im new to it too. These chicks are my first and thats the site I used to sex some of mine. I dont know if its right since mine are still too young but its fun to guess. I think the chicks have to be bred to be feather sexed so I dont know if it works on every chick. Its kind of like the cabbage test or the needle and thread trick when your tryin to guess what your unborn baby will be.
     

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