Is my Delaware pullet a cockerel?

coloradocoop

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 20, 2012
19
1
24
Fort Collins, CO
I'm new to chickens and I'm afraid that my favorite pullet might be a cockerel. Gasp! She is a Delaware around 5 weeks old and it looks like her wattles are coming in awfully dark. She is solid white minus a few tail and wing feathers--no markings on her back. Is she an early bloomer or a cockerel? Let me know if you need more pics. Thanks!





 

coloradocoop

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 20, 2012
19
1
24
Fort Collins, CO
I purchased 6 pullet-sexed chicks--all different breeds. After some reading on BYC, I'm worried that a few of them might be cockerels. Eek! At what age can you be certain of their sex? I am wanting 6 chickens total, ideally all egg laying hens. One roo wouldn't be the end of the world, but 2 is out of the question since eggs are our goal. My question is... should I prepare in advance to have a few roos that I need to find homes for (ie. purchase 8 chicks to insure that 6 are hens)? Or do I wait it out and hope for the best? Sorry I am new to chickens and I didn't anticipate this issue. Thanks in advance for the advice.
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Ah, this is chicken math at it's finest. There is no easy answers. If one MUST have pullets, sex links gets you that. With almost everything else, the error rate, purported to be only 10% on hatchery sexed chicks is often more like 15-20% in reality. In some breeds, sexing is extremely difficult. Buying straight run chicks almost seems to assure an abundant crop of cockerels.
 

1muttsfan

Up Northerner
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Mar 26, 2011
21,323
8,029
697
Upper Peninsula Michigan
Delawares can be difficult to sex, some pullets look roo-ish, and some cockerels look a lot like pullets. I would wait a while longer before getting worried.
 

coloradocoop

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 20, 2012
19
1
24
Fort Collins, CO
Good to know! She is by far the sweetest of the flock--she sits in my lap unsolicited and follows my every move. If she is a roo I might have to keep her anyways. I will post more pics in another week or so. Will I know for sure in a couple weeks or months?
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Good to know! She is by far the sweetest of the flock--she sits in my lap unsolicited and follows my every move. If she is a roo I might have to keep her anyways. I will post more pics in another week or so. Will I know for sure in a couple weeks or months?
Early precocious behavior is often a sign of a cockerel.

Between 7-12 weeks, a cockerel sports secondary sex characteristics, comb, wattles, and the feathering becomes clearer. Sickle, saddle and tail feathers are useful in identifying a cockerel. Finally, there's just that peculiar walk that a budding rooster has. Oh, did I mention the attempts at crowing?
 

speckledhen

Intentional Solitude
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 3, 2007
78,799
12,639
936
Blue Ridge Mtns. of North Georgia
Delawares, both male and female, are usually extremely friendly chicks. The males usually get lots of "smut" down the back between the shoulder blades, but not always. And some of the pullets have thicker legs than you'd expect, too. I'd say in a week or two, you'll have a better idea.

Here was the last Delaware cockerel I hatched at 4 weeks of age-he had less color than I usually get on my Delaware males at this age, but you can see the comb and wattles, both size and color, were unmistakeable:
 

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