question from someone starting out...please help!

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by countryboy25, May 13, 2010.

  1. countryboy25

    countryboy25 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    May 13, 2010
    i was wandering how old chicks need to be before you can determine what gender they are? and what do you look for when you are determining the gender?
    thanks
     
  2. happyhensny

    happyhensny Brown Barns Farm

    Some chicks can be sexed at hatch either by the color or pattern of their feathers or by vent sexing. If you are looking at a particular breed just look up sexing and see if you can tell at hatch. Just a forewarning, not many can be told boy or girl definitely until they crow or lay an egg. Good luck!
     
  3. countryboy25

    countryboy25 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    May 13, 2010
    what do you look for when you are lookin at the feathers and what is vent sexing? like i said im just getting my feet wet right now
     
  4. iheartchkns

    iheartchkns Out Of The Brooder

    86
    0
    29
    Mar 8, 2009
    I read on this board that roosters have redder combs, while hens' combs are yellow or pale pink. My chicks are about five weeks old, and so far only one has a red comb, but I agree, the crowing is the perfect clue.
     
  5. countryboy25

    countryboy25 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    May 13, 2010
    good deal...that helps a lot! i appreciate the info
     
  6. HampshireChick

    HampshireChick New Egg

    6
    0
    7
    Apr 18, 2010
    Amherst, MA
    It really depends on what breeds you have, and what method you want to use for sexing. Vent sexing can be done at birth, but you would need training or a lot of experience to be able to properly vent sex. Some breeds are sex-linked, that is, males and females have different characteristics (feather color, pattern, etc.). Another method is feather sexing, but this also requires that the birds be a specific breed (fast feathering x slow feathering parents). With feather sexing, you look at the primaries (wing feathers) on DAY ONE after hatching; females have 2 rows of feathers, males have one.

    An iffy method that I sometimes use to get a feel of how many cockerels or pullets I have is by observing their behavior. It's obviously not nearly as precise, but if you observe the chicks a lot and start to notice patterns, you can sometimes make educated guesses about who's going to turn out to be what gender. In general (and I really mean in general, this is not a precise method), males tend to hold themselves more vertically, neck stretched out, etc. Pullets hold themselves lower to the ground. These behaviors are most evident when the chicks are startled. If there is a sudden noise or movement, the chicks will all freeze for a few moments; the ones who habitually freeze in a more stretched out, upright position are more likely males, and the ones who huddle close to the ground are generally females.

    Most people can start sexing chicks by physical appearance by about a month old (sometimes younger, sometimes older). The physical characteristics you should be looking for in pullets are: smaller, lighter-colored combs, faster feathering, straight tail feathers, no pointed hackle feathers, thinner, more delicate legs, and a longer, finer facial structure. In cockerels: thicker, stronger legs, slower feathering, faster-growing, larger, pinker combs, curved tail feathers, pointed hackle feathers, and a shorter, more "masculine"-looking facial structure.

    However, different breeds are going to look and develop very differently (different feathering rates, different colored combs, different legs, build, etc.). It is easiest to determine male vs. female if you have more than one of a breed. Look within your chicks of that breed and see which ones are feathering out first (females), which ones have combs that are growing/pinking faster (males), which ones have stockier legs (males), etc.

    What breeds do you have? We might be able to tell you if there are any obvious differences between the sexes in particular breeds. Good luck!
     
  7. countryboy25

    countryboy25 New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    May 13, 2010
    we have seven rhode island reds and a few black sexlinks....i think. not really sure tho
     
  8. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    17,489
    88
    351
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    Roos tend to get pointed hackle feathers, these are the feathers around the neck, whereas with hens, their feathers will be more rounded on the end. Roos also will develop saddle feathers, where hens do not. These are the feathers that will flank the tail feathers. You cannot always go by comb size. I had a buff that had a huge single comb. You would swear she was a rooster. When in doubt you can post a pic, not just of the comb, include the neck and tail area. We love to play the guessing game here. [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by