Sexing days old chicks?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Studio2770, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Studio2770

    Studio2770 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm wondering if the chicks that stand more erect and/or are bigger turn out to be boys? Perhaps there are facial difference's. I don't think this is so because I think it would've been found out by now.
     
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting...maybe... Something to think about....We had gotten ten one day old peeps, supposedly sexed as girls. One was bigger (taller) to the point we thought (s)he was a day or two older...or even a different breed.
    Nope, he's turning into a beautiful rooster.
    I just have to wonder if we noticed such differences in the beginning why he wasn't sexed correctly?
     
  3. Studio2770

    Studio2770 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bring up this question because in our second set of chicks(3), one was bigger and more alert. "She" also stood taller. She eventually became a handsome cockerel.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Your chick was probably vent-sexed. He was in a tray of hundreds of chicks, and they grabbed him, squeezed the poo out of him, and looked for a little nub inside the vent. It took less than a second. They didn't observe his behavior.

    The people that do this for a living are highly skilled and go from hatchery to hatchery sexing chicks. I think they do an amazing job, and I find it impressive that they end up making errors less than 10% of the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  5. Studio2770

    Studio2770 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure he was. I know what they do. I'm not concerned over their skills. This question is if chicken owners have seen different characteristics and behaviors in the chicks regardless is they were sexed correctly or not. I'm wondering about sexing chicks days old after they've been vent sexed. I've had eh luck with chicks seeing how I got cockerels twice in a row with sexed pullets, that 10%.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I was replying to this post, not yours. I've emphasized what I was replying to specifically. I hope this clarification unruffles your feathers.
    As to your specific question, I would say that no, there are no truly reliable ways to tell a cockerel when they are very young and still in the baby-down phase. You have to wait for than physical development over time. I have had my share of birds that I would have SWORN were pullets, except for male secondary sex characteristics when they were young. Boys that had male-type patterning and were slow to feather, but had pale combs and didn't stand out behavior-wise in any way. I've also had pullets that I was sure were going to be boys, and I'm really glad that I didn't cull them early like I do many males.

    There are certainly some male-type behavior characteristics to watch for that could make you think boy--
    Thick legs
    Upright stance
    Slow feathering
    Braver, more aggressive

    --but none of the above traits are definite ways to tell a male from a female. Comb/wattle development and sex-specific feathering patterns are the best early ways to tell, IMO. Some birds, particularly black or white purebreds with pea combs, are very difficult to be sure on before sex-specific feathers grow in on the hackles and saddle area.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  7. Studio2770

    Studio2770 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't mean to sound mad or anything; just trying to get my point across. But thanks for specifying. Our cochin cockerel was pretty much all of those characteristics, he was also bigger. Even size doesn't matter?
     
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Not always. There certainly can be early indicators that a chick is a cockerel in the first week, and I've been known to band those babies as "ones to watch," but I have been surprised before, especially with purebred birds. As an example--I hatched nine purebred black and blue Ameraucanas this summer. Out of the nine babies, I was --so sure-- that six of them were cockerels based on leg size, stance, behavior and even comb development. Now, I consider myself to be darn good at sexing chickens by about six weeks. I practice here on BYC a lot, and can only think of once that I've been wrong. I was definitely wrong about three of those so-called "cockerels." The Ameraucanas just turned 18 weeks old, and it was only obvious two weeks ago that I really had three cockerels and six pullets.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can get an idea, but I personally wouldn't cull based on those early characteristics until I saw something physical like comb, wattles, or feather pattern that made me certain. And even then, you can be fooled. I thought the bird in the photo was male and almost culled it--but things caused me to not get the culling done and when I caught her, I was able to see that she'd fooled me. Look at those shoulders!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I had a very manly little girl as well. Stood erect. I pegged her for a male from day 1, but it was not meant to be. Now I won't sex chicks by behaviour without other signs.

    Here are examples of my tricky girl:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    See what I mean?

    [​IMG]
    Here she is at 16 weeks
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  10. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Yep, I've had a masculine pullet AND a meek cockerel (and not at the same time). If it weren't for the feather pattern, I would have worried about my Agnes (aka Moose). She was always upright and sticking her neck out as a chick, had a blocky head and thick legs, and she grew like crazy in the earlier weeks. She eventually grew into her legs and she lays large, blue eggs. This is my butch girl:

    extend-a-neck pose (she's exactly the same age as the rest but much larger)
    [​IMG]
    Legs like tree trunks
    [​IMG]
    Upright stance
    [​IMG]
     

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