how will I know ... if it's female when I buy?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by wannabe4birds, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. wannabe4birds

    wannabe4birds In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2018
    I'm a ways from doing it, but .... when it comes time to buy some chicks (probably at a local hardware store), will I be told they're female? My town only allows hens to be kept (sorry, guys). Would the store guarantee/certify they're female?

    Is it standard for these places to just stock females? I'd prefer not to have to deal with roosters -- esp. since they're not permitted, and what do we do with unwanted birds anyway?!

    If we have such birds, do we find a farmer or chicken-raiser in the county who might want one. Do they ever want them?

    Thx for any insights into this. I'm getting ahead of myself, maybe, but ... it's something to be considered.
  2. Chickie7

    Chickie7 In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2018
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    My parents bought chickens a couple of years ago and were told that they were most all going to be hens. Well 3 of the 16 ended up being roosters. At first, they kept the roosters (because my Mom loved them I guess). They told me that two of them got along (they were silkies) and the other one was a Rhode Island Red and the reds were in a separate pen from the silkies. The red one started becoming very territorial of his flock and would chase my Dad whenever my Dad went out to feed them. So Dad ended up driving up to the Amish store where they sell baked goods and traded his rooster for bread. I think a few months later, he took the other two roosters up as well and traded them for pies. I've heard of some people taking them to flea markets or advertising them on Craig's list. There may also be groups on FB where you could see if there is anyone in the local commuting area who would be interested.
  3. keesmom

    keesmom Crowing

    Jul 28, 2008
    For large fowl, feed stores usually order pullet chicks. However hatcheries on average are only 90% accurate in vent sexed chicks. An exception are sex linked chicks. Those can always be sexed correctly by down color. Bantams will always come straight run (mixed sexes) no matter what an employee tells you.
    aart, Ducklover2, lclark and 4 others like this.
  4. Farmer Connie

    Farmer Connie All My Friends Have Hoofs

    Feb 28, 2017
    Florida Peninsula
    My Coop
    lclark likes this.
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    It depends on the store. Most do try and stick to sexed chicks where I am. TSC buys straight run. That means lots of males mixed in.

    You have options.
    You can buy birds labeled as pullets. Your chances of males would be greatly reduced. You can shop craigslist and Facebook for started pullets. They will be around 13 weeks and older so males will be clearer.
    You can order from a hatchery directly. Ordering pullets is not a 100% guarantee of no males. I myself have had a few oopsters.

    I have been lucky in that I know folks living in the country that could take them in.

    My advice is to learn what the chicks of your desired breeds look like. Look closely, from beak to bum to help you get the right breed. Buy only sex linked birds or cross your fingers and post the chicks on here at about 6 weeks for folks to help spot any oops males.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    CSAchook, Trish1974 and lclark like this.
  6. Farmer Connie

    Farmer Connie All My Friends Have Hoofs

    Feb 28, 2017
    Florida Peninsula
    My Coop
    The proprietor should have a sign posted stating "Pullets" or "Straight run".
    Approx. stats..
    • Pullet Runs: 90ish% females.
    • Straight Run: 60-70% males.
    When chicks are sexed at a said Hatchery, the separated cockerels are placed into the straight run bins. They just don't cull them. They are their bread and butter.
    I have purchased straight runs in the past where I received 7 out of 10 chicks were found to be cockerels at a later date.
    As well as cockerels in pullet runs but in lower numbers.
    If the proprietor isn't knowledgeable in the aspect of what kind of run they purchased, it is time to say no thanks and choose another proprietor.
    lclark and 21hens-incharge like this.
  7. HenHouse4Life

    HenHouse4Life GrandmaOnDuty

    Mar 22, 2016
    Mid Michigan
    Sex link poultry are a great option for you. There are also breeds, such as cream legbar, that are gender identifiable from day one. I would do research on several breeds. What size are you looking for? Temperament? How many eggs do you want? What is your climate? Etc.
    For those who can only have hens there are still many options. You can also buy pullets that are already 6 weeks old.... another option.
    If you buy online my pet chicken claims to sex their poultry but I'm not sure how accurate they are.
    Purchasing at a local store is risky in my opinion. I believe the birds are labeled to sell, not based on accuracy, and usually the employees have little to no knowledge of what you're purchasing.
    Explore options, research and have a plan B just in case.
    Best wishes! :frow
    Trish1974 and 21hens-incharge like this.
  8. llombardo

    llombardo Crowing

    Mar 11, 2018
    Well I got 4 females. There is a very strong possibility out of the four--2 are male. What are the odds of one person getting half males out of 300-400 chicks? Pretty good odds, if your me.
  9. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Some stores order straight run, some sexed birds. If the sign says pullets they should be female (errors can be made, but the odds are in your favor that you'll get a girl). If it says straight run, you don't know what you'll get. If you buy a sex linked breed, then you can tell by the color/feathers if it's male or female, this is your best guarantee. Have a tentative plan for roosters before bringing your chickens home. Keep an open mind to giving the roosters away as dinner for someone. People eat chicken all the time, and the hatcheries exist not only for egg producers but also for meat producers. At least you gave the rooster a better start at life than a factory farm. I'm a vegetarian myself and would have a hard time culling and eating my own chickens, but I'm still open to the idea of someone else having a chicken dinner. I will raise my birds humanely either way. Also be open to the idea of purchasing older pullets instead of day old chicks. I bought my sexed pullets from a farm at about 6 weeks of age and my sexed ducks from another person at about a year and a half of age. Sometimes it's nice knowing what you're getting.
  10. wannabe4birds

    wannabe4birds In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2018
    Hi -- I haven't researched "sex-linked" yet; does that mean some hybrid-or-other that can't be ascribed to any particular breed? I'd like a mixture of types (opingtons, araucana, etc) for my "flock (5 birds) so .... is there such a thing as "sex-linked opington"?. Kinda confusing.

    Pullets're probably the way I'll go. I'm not secure with the idea of having tiny, fragile chicks to tend to. Almost certainly won't order birds online.

    Still need to do research, too, re: climate, etc. I'm hoping for a fairly large bird (not mandatory, though), with a docile temper, able to take both eastern NC heat and our short-term deep-freezes. Egg production isn't necessarily a big deal; it's just me at home, and I don't eat a ton of eggs. I expect to be giving most away to the folks clamoring (already) to get free eggs.

    Thx much for the recommendations; food for thought .....

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