Pecking order, boredom, possible roo?


7 Years
May 15, 2012
New chicken mama here, and I've been reading everyone else's threads to learn from all of you. I have six chicks, coming up on 5 weeks old, 4 different breeds. They are outside during the day, but I still bring them in at night - the coop isn't finished yet but hopefully this weekend.

One of the chicks is far bigger than the others, and I"m trying to figure out if it's just her breed (she's an austra white; the others are golden-laced wyandotte, columbian wyandotte (they seem a bit smaller than the others) and an Americauna (so they said - she doesn't look like the pictures of Americauna's I've seen online - she's tufted, but a charcoal grey color.)

Anyway, the Austra White is quite aggressive - she chest bumps, pecks the other chicks' butts (she reminds me of how my two daughters pick on each other!) and sometimes even jumps on top of the others. Is that just her establishing that she's the top chicken, or could she be a rooster? How do they sex chickens and could I tell by examining her?

Also I've read that preventing boredom helps - I never knew chickens could get bored, but watching them, they do seem to like it when a bug flies by, or someone gets a worm and they all go chasing around. What kinds of things can I put in the pen to keep them entertained?

ps I've been blogging about them and posting lots of pictures at

Hens can and do fight as aggressively as any roo sometimes when it comes to working out their pecking order (which is what yours seem to be doing). However, if you can post a good photo of the chicken in question and at least one of your other smaller birds, we may be able to tell you straight off if you've got a cockerel. When I looked at your blog, I didn't see any photos that were large/close enough to figure it out.

"Snow White" is in the foreground, with one of the Columbian Wyandottes behind her. She's not THAT much bigger, it's just the perspective!
Here's another one - again, the perspective is odd especially since the other chicks hear her have their heads down, but you get a sense of her size!
Her comb is small in the first one, but pretty red for the age...definitely a bit of a size difference noted in the second photo, though she's not carrying herself as a roo (at least in that instant). Do you have a good pic of her comb? If she's a roo, her comb and wattles will come in red and soon, especially compared to hens. Watch for thin, pointed hackle (neck) and saddle (top of rump) feathers, too.
I'll take a closer look when I go home - I never noticed the comb seeming red, but she is developing one and the other chicks aren't yet.

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