Just got the chicks home!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JenNY99, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. JenNY99

    JenNY99 In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    First timer here! Just brought home 6 Orpington chicks from TSC. The bad news is that they did not come sorted - hopefully I don't have 5 roosters!

    Within the first hour, 5 of the 6 were eating and 3 drank. They all stretched out and started snoozing near, but not directly under, the heat lamp, so I'm feeling pretty good about the temperature.

    I also have some Brahmas on order, but they aren't going to arrive for another month. When will I be able to tell which of my Orpingtons are male and which are female?
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I am notoriously bad at sexing chicks unless they're sex-linked [​IMG] so I generally wait until they either crow or lay eggs before I 'm sure.

    I do know that Orpingtons are not easy to sex early, especially by me. I have a friend who tells me if I've got boys or girls as they grow, though. Hopefully other more savvy folks will check in and give you some tips.

    Good luck!
  3. WildWalker

    WildWalker In the Brooder

    May 4, 2010
    Congrats on the babies!

    Careful tho - chickens are VERY addicting. They're like potato chips - you can't just have one (dozen).

    I'm not an expert at sexing chickens by any stretch of the imagination - but I can usually sex them reliably at 3-4 weeks of age. It depends on the breed, but the things you want to look at are the comb's development, feathering speed/patterning, and perhaps the most obvious - whether they're trying to crow or not. The most reliable way I've found for me is by looking at the feathering, which takes longer - but there are times when I've had hens grow bigger combs then the males lol. Roosters by this time should already be having blood go to their comb, giving it a pinkish color and/or a larger appearance. Hens (iirc) usually feather out faster then males, and you can tell a male from a female by the presence of saddle feathers at the base of the tail. They should appear like little triangles pointing out and down from the tail. It's unusual for roosters to try to crow until a few months of age, but there are some who try their best to get ahead of the competition, stretching out their necks in a soundless attempt to play the macho card.

    Hope hope it helps and have fun!
  4. JenNY99

    JenNY99 In the Brooder

    Jan 31, 2011
    Happy to report all babies made it though the night and are active this morning. We had a bit of an issue in the brooder - it is in our basement which is still really cold (around 46 degrees) so we, of course, have the heat lamp on. I got up around 3 AM and directly under the heat lamp is was 105 degrees. YIKES. But about 14 inches away from that, it was 65, so I figure they could move around to what suits them. I'm going to adjust today to see what seems to be the ideal for them.

    I know that this is old hat to you chicken experts, but I have to tell you - I was fascinated yesterday when 1 very unlucky fly was awakened - maybe by the heat lamp? - and got into the brooder. All made a mad dash and one lucky chickie caught it and then ran around the brooder with her prize playing keep away from the other chicks so she could scarf it down!
  5. TBJumper0514

    TBJumper0514 Chirping

    Mar 7, 2011
    New Orleans, LA
    LOL, I love watching them catch bugs and play keep away!
  6. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Crowing

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Congats on your new chicks. They are such enjoyable creatures. [​IMG]

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