How to get pullets and not cockerels?

dcross07

Hatching
6 Years
Nov 5, 2013
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0
7

Bought pullets from Tractor Supply. This morning caught this little fellow practicing his crowing! Not what I expected. This is 8 week old Sussex. Is there a way to prevent this for future chicks? Heard about checking 2 rows of feathers in wings. This only works on some breeds. Apparently not true with Sussex.
 

donrae

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TSC gets their chicks from a hatchery. Most birds from hatcheries are vent sexed at hatch, and hatcheries say they have a 90% accuracy. So, one out of every 10 in those bins in an Oops rooster.

Sex links are a good way to go, if you do your research and know what they're supposed to look like.

Some crosses can be feather sexed, but it's not universal.

Buying chicks, there's always a risk of getting mis-sexed cockerels. Sorry.
 

dcross07

Hatching
6 Years
Nov 5, 2013
6
0
7
Thanks donrae. I heard that most hatcheries gave up the vent sexing. Not everyone can do it and it's getting to be a lost art. Someone told me that you can pick up a chick and if the toes go down, it a pullet, it they go up, a cockerel. Don't know about that one. Then of course there's checking the wings but like you said, not all breeds can be checked like this.
Guess I'll keep the cockerels till full size and then off to Sunday dinner.
 

donrae

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Thanks donrae. I heard that most hatcheries gave up the vent sexing. Not everyone can do it and it's getting to be a lost art. Someone told me that you can pick up a chick and if the toes go down, it a pullet, it they go up, a cockerel. Don't know about that one. Then of course there's checking the wings but like you said, not all breeds can be checked like this.
Guess I'll keep the cockerels till full size and then off to Sunday dinner.
There are tons of tales like that. Dangle it by the head, turn it upside down, startle it, etc. They're all right 50% of the time


Vent sexing is the standard as far as I know, besides the specific crosses they breed to be wing sexed.
 

olderoo

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 26, 2014
58
8
38
Leesville sc
Mother Nature sees fit to hatch about 50:50, male to female. "Which is which," is surely the SECOND question people started asking about chickens.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and echo donrae:

The only reliable sexing method is sex link feathering.
This can be either with color or with wing feather length at the time of hatching.
And you're right, it only works with certain pairings.

Oh, sure, you will hear many lurid and colorful methods for determining sex, from hanging chicks upside down to swinging a sewing needle over their heads, pendulum fashion. My favorite is throwing an old hat in the air above them to see who "ducks" and hides - those are supposedly females
And like all of these "old fashioned" methods, this, too, is just lore and wives tale.

Of course, some one will now appear that says they knew someone, or tried what old Uncle Marvin told them great granny did, etc.,... and it worked. There is ALWAYS somebody to say that.
But we are offered only hearsay, they keep no records and they have nothing but anecdote to go on.

I can tell you this much: I have read many old poultry books from the 19th and 20th centuries and I can't think of one that offers any definitive method other than sex linking to determine boys from girls. Most of them recommended you just wait until it's obvious which are males - and then eat or sell off those you don't want.
If other sexing methods actually existed in that "mysterious" olden time we hear so much about, well, you'd think it would have been noted.
 
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5 Acre Rooster

Songster
6 Years
Apr 18, 2013
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North Missouri
Mother Nature sees fit to hatch about 50:50, male to female. "Which is which," is surely the SECOND question people started asking about chickens.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and echo donrae:

The only reliable sexing method is sex link feathering.
This can be either with color or with wing feather length at the time of hatching.
And you're right, it only works with certain pairings.

Oh, sure, you will hear many lurid and colorful methods for determining sex, from hanging chicks upside down to swinging a sewing needle over their heads, pendulum fashion. My favorite is throwing an old hat in the air above them to see who "ducks" and hides - those are supposedly females
And like all of these "old fashioned" methods, this, too, is just lore and wives tale.

Of course, some one will now appear that says they knew someone, or tried what old Uncle Marvin told them great granny did, etc.,... and it worked. There is ALWAYS somebody to say that.
But we are offered only hearsay, they keep no records and they have nothing but anecdote to go on.

I can tell you this much: I have read many old poultry books from the 19th and 20th centuries and I can't think of one that offers any definitive method other than sex linking to determine boys from girls. Most of them recommended you just wait until it's obvious which are males - and then eat or sell off those you don't want.
If other sexing methods actually existed in that "mysterious" olden time we hear so much about, well, you'd think it would have been noted.

Exactly. Some breeds, or crosses work into sex linking. Some don't. Even feather sexing can be flawed in 1 breed if the wrong bird Is used (I think Sire side). Or if a strain is bred for early/late feathering. Then there is the chance that recessive genes or some from a crossing few generations back pop out on you. Sex links and Auto sexing breeds (Legbars?) are the only definite ways, even vent is only 90% +/- correct.

We should just be happy chickens are not like some frogs and Hyenas.
 

dcross07

Hatching
6 Years
Nov 5, 2013
6
0
7
Yeah. I know the 90% rule. That means that ON AVERAGE, the error rate is 1:10 (10%). My error rate is skewed to the lower deviation of course, 2:9 (22%). LOL
Hope to have better luck next year.
 

oldrooster

One Crazy Nut
8 Years
Feb 19, 2012
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I have not had the courage to do it yet, but I asked on here and searched the threads on the rooster or frypan specials that some hatcheries offer for meat birds, and while the hatcheries advertise 90% accuracy from what I've been told here the rooster specials seem to be 100% roosters, unless they are only sending out the males from sex link breeds I think the hatcheries can be more accurate but decide to "dump" a certain percentage of males on the people who want pullets to get rid of them. but that is my opinion and they are like feet everyone has some and they can stink.
 

5 Acre Rooster

Songster
6 Years
Apr 18, 2013
595
31
111
North Missouri
I have not had the courage to do it yet, but I asked on here and searched the threads on the rooster or frypan specials that some hatcheries offer for meat birds, and while the hatcheries advertise 90% accuracy from what I've been told here the rooster specials seem to be 100% roosters, unless they are only sending out the males from sex link breeds I think the hatcheries can be more accurate but decide to "dump" a certain percentage of males on the people who want pullets to get rid of them. but that is my opinion and they are like feet everyone has some and they can stink.
A good portion of the "fry pan" we bought 1 year was a lot of SL males. Since BSL look exactly like a BPR I can never tell until maturity. Even then I have a couple that are 1 or 2 tail feathers shy of pure. Well in looks anyway. I know these are BSL because I hatched myself last year. What the next gen would throw I may see with some of my BYM soon. 1 that hatched already looked like a BSL male, but has a hint of red on his face fluff. Since it could be upwards of a 4 way cross will have to wait and see what it turns into.
And I agree with your statement about 100% roosters. You always hear the "I got a rooster when I ordered only pullets." But I don't tthink I have ever seen the opposite statement.
 

oldrooster

One Crazy Nut
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Feb 19, 2012
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Quote: No one here would say what breeds they got but they all said they got either no females or 1 or 2 if any, most said none, just seems a little too fishy unless you get most if not all sex links. There was one hatchery that someone referred to (I think it was cackle but cant remember for sure) that had an option that was a kind of a mixed special it was mostly males but did have some hens in one special that was listed seperate than the rooster special for a slightly higher price. I guessed it was likely straight run on a few leftover breeds (like the last 10-15 barred rock or such kind of breed) and finished out with roosters
from where ever.
 
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