Making Sure that my Big, Red Boys are Actually Boys?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by 3KillerBs, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No photos at the moment, just a question.

    Assuming that the ID you all provided for my Big, Red, Boys being either Production Reds or hatchery-quality RIRs is accurate, at what age can I expect them to be showing pointy hackle and saddle feathers?

    They're 8 weeks old and haven't made any attempts to crow yet. I managed to catch one today and saw spur buds.

    I'll post photos at some point when I have a helper to assist me in catching them individually.
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm not sure on the exact age, but by twelve weeks or so, you should be able to tell. If they are roosters, you should also be seeing large red combs by now.

    There are other indications, too. Rhode Island Red or Production Red males will get uneven coloring over their bodies. Often times, the surface of their wing (called the wing bow) will be darker than the primary and secondary feathers and the body. The hackles and tail will also get darker.

    They might start crowing soon; my birds have started crowing at as little as six weeks. Of course, this will be an obvious indicator of their gender, as young pullets do not crow (hens can crow, but only if they are dominant and rather mature).
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You can normally see the distinct difference at 7-8 weeks. Plenty enough distinguishing features. Most chickens have spur buds so don't take that as much of an early sign. Long before the male feathers appear, you still can tell. The cockerels are the first to sprout their combs and wattles. The pullets don't show much of anything until much later, when they are close to sexual maturity. Once your eye notes the difference, you can sex them at 6 weeks with 99% accuracy. The males also have that tendency to stand taller on their stouter legs as well. Most don't crow at 8 weeks, but they're all boy.

    Here's some photos.


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    12 week pullets. Still not showing any combs/wattles. Low bodies, thinner legs.


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    13 week pullet and no comb, no wattles, low body, thin legs.


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    8 week old cockerels. Note the combs and wattles showing big time.


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    7 week old pullets. No combs, no wattles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  4. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have any known pullets to compare them to. They're my packing peanuts. I'm trying to get rid of them -- which I'd do even if they were female because I don't care for red chickens.

    I'll get photos as soon as I can round up help. Its the first day of school so the potential helpers aren't here.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The purpose of my post and the photos was to hopefully provide a teaching moment. If folks can learn to make the discernment themselves, can develop the knowledge and the "eye" to see the differences between male and female chickens, even at a young age, then we've taught something, caught something and learned something.

    You don't need your own females to compare them. Just look again at the enormous difference in comb and wattle development between a male and female at 6-10 weeks. They just do not look the same, because they do not develop the same.

    Further, if a hatchery puts in "body warmers" in the shipping box, you can just about bet the farm that they are getting rid of some of their excess males.




    [​IMG]
    Here are three young Barred Rocks. The cockerel sticks out like a sore thumb. Again, he's the one with the red comb and red wattles at 7 weeks. The pullets? Nothin'.


    [​IMG]

    These are all cockerels at 7 weeks. They've all got their red comb and red wattles flashing. The females have nothin' showing at that age.

    If your red chicks have red combs and wattles at 8 weeks old? They're cockerels.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  6. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most of my pullets are not single-combed breeds so I don't know what a pullet that age would look like.

    Without catching them for close ups these are the only pictures I have:

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    They are the same size or smaller than the Light Brahma probable pullet. I caught one yesterday when I didn't have a camera operator and ruffled up the hackle and saddle areas but didn't see anything pointy.
     

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