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Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Aussiechooks, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Aussiechooks

    Aussiechooks Hatching

    Sep 17, 2008
    Hi All

    New to board so hi from Australia! Excuse my ignorance, I'm sure I'll ask silly questions, but am sure you guys will be able to help me!

    I am just about to get chicks for the first time (no idea of breed) and I have to pick them (3-4) from a group of about 20 chicks. They will be about 2 weeks old when I choose them.

    Question is: is there any way of determining sex of birds when I choose them? Local council prohibits roosters and I'm worried my kids will fall in love with them, and I'll have to ship them off if any of them turn out to be roosters.

    Also any advice on the first few weeks? I have my draft free area/cage organised, am heading out for heat lamp (does it matter what colour) and feed. Any other things to be aware of? Can you recommend any good books for the novice?

    Finally, are there any breeds better to be around children?


    Keen, but confused..... chicken gal.

  2. There is an old wives tale that states if you hold the chick upside down by the feet and it tried to upright itself then its a male. If it hangs upside down, its a female. Dont know how true it is....

    However I would suggest picking chicks with the smallest comb possible. Even as chicks, males are usually born with bigger combs. They'll only appear as bumps, or tiny ridges, but they will be considerably larger than females. And of course its going to depend on what breed they are.

    You might also look up poultry sexing. I seem to remember reading something about primary pin feathers being longer than secondary or something to that nature...

    And it sounds like you've prepared well enough. As for heat lamps, red tends to reduce picking in large numbers of chicks. If you only have a few and crowding is not a problem then white should do fine.

    And as for a good book, Storeys Guide To Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow, Living With Chickens by Jay Rossier, and Hen And The Art of Chicken Maintenance are good books to start with.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2008
  3. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    This worked for me...well mostly..out of 12 I got 2 wrong. I would hold them in my hand on their backs with my fingers gently around them. The boys would put up quite a struggle to flip back over and the girls would lay their heads back and relax. I was told by the Amish around here that this is what they do. So I gave it a try and turn out I had one laid back roo and one feisty hen!! But I didn't think that was too bad out of 12!!!

    Of course it isn't 100%..nothing is until you see an egg!!

    Good luck!!!! Please post some pics when you get them!!!
  4. Aussiechooks

    Aussiechooks Hatching

    Sep 17, 2008
    Thank you kindly for your replies.

    I will certainly post pics when I get them.... perhaps you can help me identify them!

    I look forward to learning more through this forum, what a great place to be.

    Thanks once again.

  5. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    Last year was my first time with chickens...the people on here are so helpful and kind! You never have to feel silly when asking a question, no matter how many times they have seen the same question, they still reply kindly! I have learned so much ...nothing like expanding your chicken knowledge!!
    Can't wait to see your babies!!

    Welcome to BYC!!!


    I wanted to edit to add that at 2 weeks old, you might be able to look closely at their combs and tell a slight difference in size. The color won't be there for a while, but as mentioned above, the boys will be raised a bit and maybe wider...what kind of babies are you getting?
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
  6. heatherspangler

    heatherspangler In the Brooder

    May 5, 2008
    NW Ohio
    Ok...i know this might sound crazy and i know most people call it an old wive tale but it has always been about 99% accurate for us...
    Get a bottle cork, you can buy at most any hardware store. Stick a needle in the small end of it sticking out. Thread the needle with 8-10" of thread. Hold it over the chicken and it will wobble until it stops then it will either spin in a circle for female or swing back & forth in a line for male. You can try it over you or your kids also and it will work. I've done it on myself when i was pregnant and it was right with the sex of the unborn babies even every time.
    I have no idea how it works but it has something to do with the natural energy of the body. Doesn't hurt to try!
  7. BFeathered

    BFeathered Songster

    Aug 29, 2008
    North Texas
    Heather! You've used the time-honored pendulum method for sexing, and it's far more accurate for human babies than the "drano" test (just try to get your hens to pee in a cup!). I've used the pendulum on pregnant humans, but never thought to use it on my chicks -- clever girl. Thanks for the reminder, Mother Nature gives us all kinds of clues, if we just pay attention. (of course, she does have a wicked sense of humor, as well)
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Aussie, the only advice I can give you and it's not fool-proof is to pick the chicks that are feathered out the best. Especially across the wing bows (shoulders). Male chicks are typically slower to feather out than females, but at 2 weeks of age it could go either way.

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