How to you determine age of a full-grown chicken?


5 Years
Jul 9, 2016
Russell, Kansas
OK. So, after buying 4 chicks from the bin marked "pullets" and getting roosters, finding them new homes, and then buying 3 supposed young "sex-linked" pullets from someone only to have them turn into roosters, I'm at the point where I want to buy full-grown pullets so I KNOW they are pullets and not roos.

I'm going to this auction:

How do I tell by looking at a pen of chickens how old they are? I'm concerned I will buy old maid hens that don't lay.

(PS: I wasn't sure where to post this. There wasn't an "age" forum, so this seemed like the correct one. Move this if needed...)


Crossing the Road
10 Years
May 22, 2012
Hi! and

I'll start off by saying sorry for your unfortunate luck in getting all roosters with your initial attempts at getting chickens. I suspect that someone knew they were roosters and decided to lie to you, I know the feeling.

There are ways you can tell the age of a chicken. You can tell that an adolescent chicken is a pullet by her small comb and wattles, as a cockerels would be large and red. But if their fully grown hens, than some good indicators that she is still in good laying condition are nice, red wattles, a plump body, and fairly wide hips.

Good luck!


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon
That's going to be an iffy thing. You can't always tell the age of a mature bird.

This is the time of year lots of folks unload their 18ish month hens. that's the age where they're going to molt and take a break for the winter, unless you supplement with lights. I'm thinking that's not what you're wanting.

You'll need to be looking for young pullets who are just reaching point of lay. Smaller, paler combs and wattles, and smaller bodies. Thin legs, no signs of mating damage (feather loss to the back of the head, wings and lower back).

Can you find an experienced chicken person to go with you? Auctions are fraught with folks who are ethically compromised when it comes to making a buck or two.


8 Years
Aug 14, 2011
all auctions will have mislabeled birds be it gender, breed, or variety. You really have to know what you are looking for and at. I recommend reading my sexing article. This will help you out a lot in iding genders.

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