I think I may have put cockerels into my laying flock pen by mistake, now they are 22 weeks, how do

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by NTBugtraq, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. NTBugtraq

    NTBugtraq ex-Surgeon General

    My birds are a cross between BCM roosters, and red-sexlink hens. As such, there has been an explosion of color, comb size, leg feathering, etc... I have been moving birds at 12 weeks based almost entirely on comb size. Small comb, pullet. Well, now at 22 weeks I have a number of birds with enormous combs. They don't have huge tail feathers like their fathers, but the tails are generally erect...its really the huge comb size that has me questioning my choices.

    I am fairly new to chicks, but is there something I can look for in the vent at this age (22 weeks) that will confirm them as male or female? Nobody but my roosters crow, so I can't use that. I've tried to look at them lifting their head when something happens, but I see that in small combed birds as well as the large combed ones.

    I would have thought the cockerels would have been attacked, or at least chased, by the Roosters, but there seems to be no concern by the Roosters. FWIW, the 3 BCM Roosters I have (1 is nearly 2, the others are still only 25 weeks) do have issues with each other...

    Suggestions please?
     
  2. Lozuufy

    Lozuufy Pigeons are nutty Premium Member

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    I go by feathers, (adult feathered) males will have pointy saddle (base of tail) feathers and females will have rounded saddle feathers.

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    not my photo - but shows the difference in feathering
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Many of us, even highly experienced people have at one time or another, glanced at what we thought was a pullet and later thought, "Hmm, I think that is a rooster.

    However, the size of the comb is not a great indicator, however, generally speaking, kind of, sort of, the comb will be much redder much sooner in rooster chicks, where as pullets tend to look pale pink until they get close to laying.

    I too, go by feathers, and any green feathers, unless your breed of birds is all black feathers. If there is a green feather, in a speckled or red colored bird, they have always been roosters for me. If the tail feathers begin to curve, and of course the hackle feathers.

    In my experience, if I ever think, "oh is that a roo or not... well it generally is ;-)

    Mrs K
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    At 22 weeks, the shape of the hackle and saddle feathers should clearly tell the tale.
    Post full body side shot and clear closeup pics of the hackles and saddles of the birds your not sure of and someone will be able to tell you the gender.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I agree at 22 weeks your males should be showing sex feathers. Neither of your parent breeds are exceptionally slow maturing, so that would be the way to go.

    Any black bird with red on the wings/shoulders is going to be male. Any red bird with darker red shading on the wings/shoulders is male.

    I agree if you can post a few pics we can help you spot males. It's quite possible the production blood in the hens' line simply brought out ginormous combs in the offspring.
     
  6. NTBugtraq

    NTBugtraq ex-Surgeon General

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    My concerns
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You're right to be concerned. The first white bird is a pullet, the second looks like a cockerel but younger than 22 weeks. The first three birds are all cockerels. You can see saddle feathers on most of them, and darker shading on the wings.
     
  8. NTBugtraq

    NTBugtraq ex-Surgeon General

    Quote:So is there really no way for me to vent sex at 12+ weeks? It has to be by feather shape??
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Honestly, I have no idea about vent sexing at that age. I'm not sure why you'd do it, though. Comb size at that age should be a pretty reliable indicator....any 12 week bird with a red comb is male. 12 weeks is kind of the low end of the age range for getting sex feathers in my experience--sometimes as young as 10 weeks, but usually 12-15. Color is also a great indicator. You can see the difference in color between your males and females. The hens' brown/red is a smooth, even shade over the entire body. Your cockerels have patches of darker color on the wings and are overall flashier and more eye-catching.

    But hey, you could do an experiment and see if we could all learn something. If you want to check vents, check them of the known birds and see what the difference is. There may be a huge, obvious difference....I just don't know of anyone who has ever tried it [​IMG]
     

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