Packing Peanuts, always cockrels?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 5, 2012
We were sent 10 replacement chicks by Murray McMurray, because of the small order, they included 6 EE "packing peanuts." On the invoice there was a rubber stamp stating "males added for warmth"...HOWEVER, 2 of the 6 are looking like my hens did at this age(2-1/2wks). I know it is really too soon to tell gender, but 3 of the 6 are getting the "triple pea" and 3 are not(I guess they could be late bloomers).

So has anyone ever gotten packing peanuts that turned out to be hens? We were hoping that due to the time of year and this being the last hatch of the year, we may have gotten lucky and just gotten straight run packing peanuts. Or is this just wishful thinking on my part because I know I will not be able to keep 6 roos and won't want to give any up either.


9 Years
Mar 23, 2010
Rock Hill,SC
sexing chicks is a c**pshoot. you might get luck 50% of the time.

We get outs from Ideal Poultry and every year its 50% males and females.


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
You don't know what you will get. Vent sexing is not 100% accurate. Most hatcheries guarantee 90% which means they think they can beat that, but it is certainly not perfect. And the way odds work, those odds are on each individual chick. With each individual chick, it is either 0% or 100%. The more chicks you have the more the odds mean, but in small groups they really don't mean a lot.

It is also possible if they had straight run chicks left over they just grabbed from them. Probably not but you just don't know. They are handling tens of thousands of chicks on shipping day and have their procedures set up. They are probably not going to change their procedures. That's disruptive to shipping that many chicks.

Something else that some hatcheries do. I'm sure this does not apply to your situation since it was a half dozen extra. But I have received more of exactly what I ordered from Cackle. I ordered six straight run Buff Orps and got seven. All seven turned out ot be female. The odds of 7 out of 7 straight run are less than 1%. That's part of why I said the odds in small groups don't mean a lot. What some hatcheries will do, if they have extra chicks of what you ordered, they will throw one extra in. That's in case one dies during shipping. The customer still gets what they ordered. Since they hatch extra it doesn't cost them anything and it can make for a happy customer.

It is too early to be sure but you never know. Good luck!!!


In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 5, 2012
Thank you for the responses!

Like I said, it may be wishful thinking, but two look/act like hens and only two have defined 3-part combs as of now, so maybe its not just wishful thinking-WHOO HOOO(y'all just made my day!!). 3, maybe 4 Roos I could keep(we have 35 hens and 2 roos now-full grown), we also have 50pullets coming from Meyer this week(25 assorted layers, 13 rare layers, 12 brown layers), and 40 assorted 3wk olds(straight run top hats and feather footed bantams)...we are also hatching 36 eggs, due in 20 days. We have a house full of chickens this winter!!! All started because of 4H project and if we have to winter 25(shipping min), might as well winter 100 ;-) All I can say is that I am glad I have an indulgent husband!!

Ridgerunner-the extra theory does not apply as I did not order EE chicks, but it was worth a shot! The EEs were sent with 10 feather legged bantams. We had lost 4 in shipping and had 3 unhealthy(pasty butt and stuck eyes) due to an unexpected cold snap while they were in transit, but they sent 10 replacements to ensure we had them all since it WAS the last hatch of the year. So overall the MMcM experience was wonderful and I cannot say enough about their customer service!!
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Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
For packing peanuts, you might get anything that hasn't been sold by hatch date. When they are busy, it will probably be unwanted males, but if they have straight run not sold, they might send straight run.

Getting females is not the normal, so one should not expect it, but occasionally someone gets some females and occasioanlly someone gets some rare breeds as packing peanuts.


8 Years
Mar 19, 2011
A house surrounded by chickens
We've ordered from Murray McMurray twice and had very positive experiences both times: very good customer service and minimal chick losses. The first order I placed was with a friend so that between us we could add up to the 25 chick minimum. When McMurray heard that it was a split order, they shocked the socks off of me by sending the birds in a double box, my birds on one side and my friend's on the other, with I kid you not twenty-five Red Star cockerel chicks divided between the sides for "packing peanuts!" I could not believe my eyes--and on top of that they threw in four extra birds of breeds we'd chosen. (One of the Red Stars did turn out to be a hen.) We lost only one chick of that lot. And oh, mercy, did we have a lot of fine fat young cockerels just begging to go into the cookpot later on, with loutish temperaments that made the decision easier. I still couldn't do the deed, but my neighbor made out like a bandit. He was extremely happy.

The second time we ordered, I asked for two millefleur d'Uccle hens and two bantam Cochin hens, along with a bunch of other breeds. McMurray added two free birds to the order: a d'Uccle cockerel and a bantam Cochin cockerel. So just like that, we had two breeding trios. The Cochins turned out to be delightful birds and we still have them; the d'Uccles won the heart of a fellow hobbyist and he bought them for his own breeding project. I was really impressed at the foresight and kindness that had gone into the selection of those particular cockerels to be our extra birds, particularly since that was the second time the hatchery had gone quite the extra mile to provide excellent service. I really like McMurray!

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