I usually have my roos identified by week 6. Bigger feet and legs, larger redder combs, and the carry themselves a little different, they stand a little taller with the head held high. I raise Buff Orps and Australorps. They start crowing at about 8 or 9 weeks old. I have 4 10 week old roos and they are really starting to put their crows together. Sounding Good! I have a bunch of 5 week old RIR roos and they aren't quite identifiable, but I have my hunches. But the Orps and Australorps show signs fairly early.
This is the smallest but nicest 10 week old Rooster
The longer you have chickens, the better you will get at indentifying roos. One tell-tale sign is a larger and more red comb and wattles. However, not all birds will show this difference very well. Young rooster tend to look more awkward and gangly in my experience. As another poster mentioned, they have longer legs and bigger feet and walk more upright. Hens tend to walk more hunched over. Of course, crowing is a pretty sure sign you have a rooster!
Some breeds, like silkies and polish are more difficult to tell apart. These breeds often have crests that are less puffy and sweep out backwards.
For my sons first birthday we were given three chicks... not the best gift but we had just bought a large property and had toyed with the idea of raising chickens. After nearly burning my house down and many other fun and interesting experiences the chickens are now happily living in a heavily reinforced (snake story to follow some day) coop and run.
We named them.... first was Alpha (the one that ran from the fire), second was Smokey (got a little singed in the fire) and my favorite, Chicken (afraid of everything but me!) About two weeks after the hens had moved outside from my walk in guest shower (yes, thats where they ended up after the fires) i was woken from a dead sleep by what I though was an injured child as the scream was horrible... NOPE. Turns out... ALPHA is actually Alpha the rooster. He just sounded horrible until his voice came in.
There are moments (daily at about 4:15) that I want to kill him but generaly, he is an OK guy. However, my putting the hen house right outside my master bedroom window in an effort to keep the hens safe, not gonna work. We are definiteley going to have to move them farther out on the property or I will loose my mind.
Now that Ive given you the drawn out story.... You will know if you have a rooster after watching them for a couple of hours. That and it does become pretty obvious, quickly!
That's a pretty hefty rattler you offed there! And he looks like he mighta enjoyed a hearty last meal of chicken eggs...grrrrr. Just be on the look out for smaller ones coming in looking to stake out the place he used to rule. We killed a great grand daddy rattler the last year we lived in Tucson and for the rest of the summer our place was fair game for the smaller, less alpha snakes to come in and try to claim. I think I killed over 50 snakes all by myself, don't know how many my hubby ended up having to kill. BLEEHHHH!
Looks like I may have 2 Roosters heading for freezer camp. They are only 15 weeks old and all ready have a mean streak. Last night I was carrying my Turkeys to their Roost. One of the mentioned roos came at me, I took an off balance kick at him and accidentally caught him in the head. I thought I had killed him. His wings dropped and staggered around. He ended up hiding under the coop until it got nearly dark. then he went into the roost angry and cackling. This morning he's out there crowing, so I'm sure he's fine. I'm heading out to let them free range. Will see if his attitude changed any.
He has definitely changed his attitude. Right now he's really stand offish. He was crowing this morning. He was the last to leave the chicken run when I let them out. He is staying away from me and staying away from the main flock. He has a couple girls with him but staying away from the other alpha roo. I believe he's still recooping from the shot he took yesterday.I went out to the garden to get the cull ears of sweet corn for them and some of the thousands of cherry tomatoes to treat them this morning. When I was giving the treats I notice he was back in the run by himself. I offered some sweet corn as a peace offering and he ate it, but is still very wary. I hope he learned his lesson, because body wise and the way he treats the hens is pretty good. If his attitude towards people was better he'd be at the top of the list for my keeper. I have 4 roo's and only one will make the cut. Roosters that don't get along go away.
I have a New Hampshire roo he is about 8 months and is crowing like a pro now. He is starting getting MEAN about 3 weeks ago before we could pick him up and pet him. It started one day after my son had picked him up and turned his back pecked at his feet about drew blood. The second time he chased me down got in between my legs he waited intill i had my back turned i was laughing at first because i had told my son not to back down from him and when the dang thing came after me i RAN !!! He (AKA Bob) is starting to get spurrs so im hoping its just because he is young and maybe will calm down but im thinking he wont. When i let them out he will follow me down the fence line just hoping i will go inside with him so for now i on i have something in my hands just incase i need to protect myself. I dont want to consider him as food but if he keeps it up were gonna have to.