How do I sex 3 wk old chicks?

neww2chickens

Hatching
Jul 13, 2016
3
0
7
Hi, I am new to having chickens and I got 9 3 wk old chicks, 5 Lavender Orpingtons and 4 Easter Eggers. I have been wondering how I will be able to tell if they are roosters or Hens? Unfortunately I can not have roosters and I am a little nervous about if they are. I thought maybe if they have bigger tails they might be roosters but if that is the case I would only have 4 hens. So Can I get some help on how to sex them? thanks
 

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
28,951
47,737
1,232
Colorado Rockies
Cockerels get their flamboyant tails last of all around four to six months.

At three weeks, the only signal you have a cockerel is a distinctive reddening of the comb and the appearance of tiny red wattles under the lower beak.

Sometimes behavior is a give-away. If you happen to have more than one cockerel, they seem to find each other fairly young and will play fight and chest bump.

A cockerel may have slightly thicker legs and larger feet.

Most of these indicators don't appear until five or six weeks, though.
 

neww2chickens

Hatching
Jul 13, 2016
3
0
7
ok, thanks a lot! So the tails have nothing to do with their sex? If so, I am so relieved. Thanks so much!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
20,510
42,966
1,142
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I've learned with some breeds males feather in more slowly, so a lack of tail at that age might actually indicate roo instead. Sounds a little contradictory when the males are the ones with the showier tails in the end.
 

MeepBeep

Crowing
7 Years
The short answer unless it's a breed that has distinct sexual differences at that age, you can't reliably sex short of DNA testing...

Since Easter Eggers are not a breed and their genetic makeup can vary all over the place it can sometimes take much, much longer to properly sex sometimes they wont' fully reveal their sex until maturity...
 

dekel18042

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
2,200
320
251
Pennsylvania
The best indicators are either when they crow or lay an egg. Before then it can be a guessing game depending on the breed. I've had both pullets and cockerels chest bump. Sometimes behavior is a giveaway.
And yes on the thicker legs and bigger feet ...usually. We hatched out a clutch of eggs that unbeknownst to us were all pullets. Now what are the chances of that? This was a breed with a cushion comb and little to no wattles, so we thought we had them sorted out. I was happy there seemed to be mostly girls, but three looked like they had thicker sturdier legs. Finally after months we realized we had all girls and I had really wanted a rooster in that bunch.
I recently separated chicks, not ten weeks old into two pens, one for the pullets, one for the cockerels and just yesterday we heard the first crowings from the pullet pen.
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I was suspicious but was really hoping for a girl on that one as a fox recently got the mother.So there are indicators, but it is easy to be driven crazy.
Now I have only one I'm not sure of. Really want it to be a girl for the same reason as the other, but if I had to bet.......For some reason I almost always hatch more cockerels.
 

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