How do I sex my chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jemmerson, May 29, 2010.

  1. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2010
    OK, so I'm wondering how I can go about sexing my birds that are about 2 weeks old now. Little did I know that I could sex them within the first few days by looking at their wing feathers. Figures! [​IMG] But then I did read somewhere that in "heirloom/heritage" chickens this method of sexing does not work, it only only works on hybrids?!?! Well, in my case I have many different heritage breeds and some silkies, some buff orpintons and they have all surpassed the time period anyway of being sexed in this manner. I also read that trying to sex them by looking at their vents is almost like rocket science. So then I read on and pretty much learned that I will have to wait until they are all approx. 4 - 6 weeks old until their secondary sex charachteristics become apparent to tell then apart. But I'm still unsure of what all of these secondary characteristics are. [​IMG] Oh, and then there are the wives tales. Sorry, not interested in those. So yes, I'm feeling a little discouraged at this point and wonder if this is all true and if someone could give a newby some advice. I would like to separate the boys from the girls soon. Thanks for any info!
     
  2. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Sorry for posting this in the wrong topic! I'll do better next time.
     
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    My experience with silkies is that sometimes the males will develop extremely large combs compared to the females. Otherwise you just have to wait for them to crow.

    For most of my other breeds I can look at chicks that are one day old to whatever...compare the legs (especialy ankle area) to see how they compare to the others of the same breed, same age in your flock. You might notice that some of the chicks have really large, thick legs. My experience has been that these turn out to be roos.
     
  4. jemmerson

    jemmerson Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I appreciate the help.
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    You can't sex just any chicken by the wing feathers. They must be bred for that particular trait. Barred breeds are much easier than others. Here is a nice article with pictures on sexing Dominiques, but the same rules apply for Barred Rocks and Cuckoo Marans.
    http://www.dominiquechicken.com/Sexing_Dominique_chicks.html
     
  6. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    A little roo's comb will usually grow faster and get redder more quickly than his sister's of the same age. That's frequently the first indication. You do have to compare apples to apples, though: same age, same breed.
     

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