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PICS - Help me sex my 5 week old Orpington chicks!

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by ticketism, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I've just started keeping chickens, and as such I've been lurking on the forums here for the last few weeks, but now I want some advice and I'm hoping someone can help me out. I've looked at a bunch of other threads for sexing Orpington chicks, but I figured a new one with pics of my little ones will help out a bit more here.

    I have three 4-5 week old white Orpington chicks, I got them when they were all 2 weeks (approx) old. They've been so busy eating, pooping and growing in the last few weeks, it's been so much fun and such a learning experience to watch. Now that they're all at 5ish weeks, I'm wanting to figure out what I've got on my hands here. So, please help me sex my Orps!


    1) This is the biggest one, with by far the most feathers. This one has always been bigger and more feathery, started getting proper wing and tail feathers first, now has a big fluffy soft chest full of feathers. Loves to scruffle around in the dirt a lot more than the others, and doesn't seem to start many fights, though is certainly quite cheeky and is seen sparring a bit.

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    2) This is middle sized one - Definitely the most aggressive, often seen starting flapping bouts and jumping at/on the other two. Hasn't gotten as feathered yet, and I'm wondering about that comb as it looks quite a bit bigger than either of the other two.

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    3) This is the little one. The runt. The woman I got them off said that this one may actually be about 5-7 days younger than the others, so it may be 4 weeks while the other two are 5 weeks. The least feathered and smallest of the bunch, she/he is only just starting to get some tail feathers fluffing through and patches of chest feathers. Up until a few days ago, there was only wing feathers.This one is much quieter, loves climbing onto laps and pecking at freckles. Doesn't really ever seem to start any fights, but certainly holds their own when another chicken is starting it.

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    I'm really enjoying keeping chickens and I'm so glad my partner and I made the decision to do it. Thanks in advance for any help!

    -Ticket.
     
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't see anything screaming cockerel in any of them at this point, however they are really too young to sex accurately at this time (particularly the case with Orpingtons). I would suggest posting their pics again in about 3-4 weeks. By then their gender should be more obvious.
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    good advice, I agree
     
  4. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey guys! I'm updating here in case it's useful for anyone in the future. These ones all turned out to be boys =) What are the odds, haha. Three very healthy, huge strapping lads, now about 14 weeks old. And they still don't look too 'rooish', especially compared to fully grown boys. We ended up getting them DNA sexed as it was so hard to sex them. We took them back to the breeder at 9 weeks to see what she thought, and she thought one was a pullet but couldn't tell with the other two. Orps are pretty androgynous chickens, haha. So we got three more, sexed as female, 4 weeks old, and a boy slipped through. He looked very, very similar to the boys in these photos (I should known!).

    Something I noticed about the differences now having seen 4 males and 2 females (DNA confirmed) - The girls were much more feathered, almost fully feathered at 4 weeks, while the boys were still quite scruffy up until 8 week or so. Even at 10 weeks they still had these little 'twin fins' or fluff along their backs, either side of their spine, where they feathered in last, whereas the girls at the same age as the boys in these photos looked like little hens already. The boys were also much heavier even though they were around the same size, and were more angular, bony and harder. The girls were all very soft and fluffy. One of my young girls has a comb and wattle as red as either of my older boys, and the size is proportionately the same. The males, when they were that age, had much smaller combs and wattles, and were nowhere near as red. So... That's pretty interesting. I also didn't notice too much difference in leg thickness, but the males all had much bigger feet. Seems DNA sexing was definitely the way to go (was offered at my local avian vet for about $30p/b, but came to under $90 for all three). Orpies really don't want you know, haha.
     
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for the update. As I stated in my post, Orpingtons are too young to sex accurately at 5 weeks. The first sign that they are males would have been the reddening of the comb and wattles at 2-3 months.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  6. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, 5 weeks was too young. The breeder said she could confidently sex at 4 weeks, but as I said, we took them to her at 9 weeks to check and she couldn't tell. They're very handsome now, but unfortunately we can't keep them! =( Looking to safely re-home a rooster is proving pretty difficult around my area. But I'll keep at it coz these boys are very loved - They were my first chickens. They'll follow me around the yard while I'm gardening, and if I sit somewhere in the backyard to read they come climbing into my lap for a nap. They're so calm and affectionate, with such fun personalities, it's such a shame to have move them on. The girls are very sweet, but they're less affectionate, a bit more skittish, tend to ignore my partner and I and do their own thing way more than the boys ever did. Is this just a difference between pullets and cockerels? Or is it maybe because we got the boys when they were 1-2 weeks, and the girls when they were 4-5 weeks?
     
  7. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    In my experience with Orpingtons, it's likely because you got the boys at a younger age. Orpingtons (both male and female) are typically one of the friendliest breeds in the chicken world.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  8. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought it might be =) That's good, I'm currently looking for another 2 young Orpington pullets, and I'd love it if they end up all attached and friendly too. Orps being friendly and calm was one of the main reasons we decided to go with them. Plus, they're really beautiful birds... And the boys are so big and soft that I pick them up and hug them like a feathery teddy bear, haha. Is it likely that the girls I already have will start getting calmer, more affectionate and more attached to us over time?
     
  9. ticketism

    ticketism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I forgot to mention - One of them started crowing at 10 weeks =/ He has since been re-homed, we couldn't keep a crowing rooster at our house. I first it one morning at about 4am and wondered 'What the hell is that??', it sounded like a weird mix of loud honking and parts of a (fairly pathetic) crow. It was less 'cockadooodledoo' and more 'er-er-EERRR!!' haha. He did it the next few mornings and it got louder, more developed. He had also starting going red in the face and his spur bumps were getting really big. He went to a farm with a huge flock to help protect the hens from foxes and possible breeding. I'm hoping that, while he was dominant over his brothers, he isn't still too gentle to hold his own up on the farm with the other roos.
     
  10. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    From my experience, boys are generally more affectionate when they are young - mainly i guess because they seem naturally more inquisitive / daring. If you handle your girls frequently, they will warm up to you - the one's i have hatched jump up and peck me for attention - silly things!

    CT
     

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