New to the forum and to chickens, so I have some questions.

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Beaner, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Beaner

    Beaner Out Of The Brooder

    In fact, I have *so many* questions! I'll be getting chicks from neighbors in about 2 weeks. They have three hens from a mixed (mutt-heavy) flock, each with chicks that hatched about a week or so apart. I expect to get chicks from the first batch that are now a couple of weeks old and probably from the last group that just hatched yesterday evening, because those are the smaller hens. I've been watching the older chicks develop, and picked one chick from that group that (hopefully) will be a hen. I know it's nearly impossible to be sure at this stage in their development, but maybe someone with more experience can tell me if I'm on the right track as far as possible gender? I'm not concerned about "breed" since the hens are a mixed bag and no one is entirely sure which rooster the chicks came from.

    Here's a picture of the hen with the oldest chicks. The one I've already picked is the brown one there on the hen's back. Any guesses? In the second & third pictures you can see a black chick that I am assuming will probably be barred. Does this one look like it might be female? The rest of the pictures are of the second hen, which looks like a Plymouth Rock (I'm guessing), and the rooster that they currently have (although he is not the only rooster that may have had access to the hens before they met with their soupy fates). I'm going to try and get some pictures of the third hen this week - she's even smaller than the first hen and all black - one of her chicks was half the size of the rest of her hatchlings, and I've already said that if it survives the week I'll take it.

    I'm sure this won't be the first time I ask a dumb newbie question on the forum but any wisdom or advice from more experienced members would be greatly appreciated. :)

  2. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    i am guessing roo on the fellow on her back and looks like it could have wyandotte in it. the 2nd looks like a barred roo. It is really hard to tell on most chicks and these being mixed makes it a real guess.
  3. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    oh, additionally, looks like that roo fathered none of the above. there would be some little bumps on their heads for top knots. the first hen appears to have game in her. If they are her eggs, they may not be the best for backyard habitat. also any chicks from hens that like to go broody (hatch young'ns) will also have this tendancy which also is not usually wanted in backyard birds. just info.
  4. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2011
    Knee Deep
    I'd guess roo on the first one since it has some thick legs. the other I don't know. But if the sliver laced polish roo is the dad to any, the chicks will have a small crest when they feather out on their heads, not necessarily a bump on the head now.
  5. Beaner

    Beaner Out Of The Brooder

    Well, I'll be bummed if the chick I was looking at turns out to be a rooster, but thank you both for the feedback. Although I can technically keep a rooster in my neighborhood (as long as there are no noise complaints), I have more interest in the eggs than in breeding mixed-breed chickens, so I don't have a lot of use for a rooster. Maybe I should be calling that one "Stew"...Hopefully in a couple more weeks some of the combs will be more developed and I can try to rule out the more obvious boys.

    I don't know if all of the chicks from all three of the hens are from the same rooster or not - my neighbors are Cuban, and there's sort of a revolving door of chickens as they acquire birds and then cull. "Ugly" is the rooster they've had the longest, but certainly not the only one they've had at the house in recent months. It's kind of a crap-shoot, this whole chick thing, isn't it? ;-)
  6. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    You unfortunately are going to have to wait a couple of weeks to see how the chicks develop. If you are looking for hens, look for chicks that stay low to the ground, and do not stand up tall. Also, any redness in the comb and wattle area before 12 to 15 weeks is a sign of rooness. In the lighter colored chicks, if they are mutts, watch for red ragged patches of feathers, that is also a sign of roosterness.

    Additionally, a good rule of thumb that your favorite choice will be a roo :p. Hens don't tend to be as curious and friendly as chicks, while roos will shmooze you until the horomones kick in, making it a real disappointment when your friendly cuddler attacks you.

    Hope that helps you a bit!
  7. Beaner

    Beaner Out Of The Brooder

    I figure statistically I'm likely to end up with a rooster. It's inevitable. [​IMG] I checked on them last night and one of the very light chicks now has a very noticable comb. The neighbor says that the barred hen was laying her eggs in other hens' nests so he thinks the lone black chick with the oldest batch of chicks may actually be hers. Thanks everyone! The coop is just about finished, it should be done this week, and then next week we build the run.
  8. Beaner

    Beaner Out Of The Brooder

    I went yesterday to check in on the chicks again and took some updated pictures. They are about 4 weeks old, I believe. I think you can see that some of these chicks have very developed combs, and some are starting to turn color. I'm thinking of still taking the dark brown chick, but I'm very much on the fence about any of the others - possibly the light colored chick in the fifth photo, although I'm not sure about what was going on with those eyes....sleepy chick, or something else? Everyone else was quite alert. They were sure I must have been there to feed them.

  9. Featherland

    Featherland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    I would look for the smallest, lightest colored combs when choosing them.
  10. Beaner

    Beaner Out Of The Brooder

    The first two chickens I picked out are now approx. 10-11 weeks old (possibly a week or so older), so here are updated photos. The barred bird is being called "Pepper" and the buff colored bird is "Mojo" (also called Angry Bird - she is the louder, more flighty of the two). The black & white chicks in the 3rd & 4th photos are a couple of weeks younger and were just added yesterday, so they don't have names yet.

    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012

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