Sexing Question - Feather Trait All Breeds or Just Some?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JoshFig, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. JoshFig

    JoshFig Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2015
    I know many 'sexing traits' are breed specific. I wanted to throw this question out there to see if anyone has perspective on feather sexing.

    Background / My Experience: Many chicks I have had have been obvious at 7 to 10 days based on tail feathers and wing feathers (when I have some of each and can compare them). The pullets have much longer wings at that point - almost touching each other in the back, and they have developed tails. The cockerels have no or stubby tails and much shorter wing feathers.

    Question: Is this true in all breeds or just some breeds? I have a batch of chicks I hatched from a Black Copper Maran Roo over 3 hens - Wheaten Maran, Easter Egger and White Leghorn. All of the chicks either have tails and long wings or no tails and short wings. Am I safe sexing them at this point with the given breeds or do I need to wait on the combs turning red at 5/6 weeks on the cockerels?
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Feather sexing is only ever accurate in the offspring of a sex linked cross of a fast feathering male over a slow feathering female. In any other case it's of negligible relation to sex. I've seen a hatch of ten pullets of the same age and breed feather out ten different ways. The same goes for cockerels.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I always see folks on here saying cockerels feather out slower. I may have seen that some, but basically, when I have a hatch of sex links, I don't see a huge difference.

    I'd mark the birds and wait and see how accurate you are.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Agree in technicality, however, when I have a bird with blunt wings and slow to sprout tail, I often mentally mark that one as a roo. Will have to pay more attention to see how accurate that assessment is. I would not use those traits to cull my flock of chicks! Might find myself greatly disappointed, but... on the other hand, no loss in making mental note. More often than not, the stubby ones are roos.

    Interesting. Are you talking about black or red sex links, or are you talking about feather sexed links? If BSL or RSL follow the feathering pattern, one is then left to wonder if parent birds are FF male over SF female. Or in the case of BSL, perhaps barred birds are naturally slower feathering????
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Feather sexing young chicks only works if they were deliberately bred with that trait, otherwise it's just not going to matter. Time has to pass to know the sex of most chicks, except in some types. Mary
  6. Foristers

    Foristers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feather sexing worked for a group of Buff Orpingtons.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Mine have all been black sex links. Barred Rock or mixed breed barred hens covered by mixed breed rooster, who does have barred Rock in his ancestry.
  8. Choco Maran

    Choco Maran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2009
    Ribera New Mexico
    You can not breed sex link to sex link and get a sex link. If you breed a barred rooster to a unbarred female you will get barred males and unbarred females, every time I believe. There is no way to be sure until they are older. I have trouble since I'm just getting started on sexing chicks. I usually wait until they are crow to be sure. But I make my prediction around 6-8 weeks.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    The line i bolded is on the right track, you just have the genders backward. You need a non-barred, non-white male over a barred hen. Then the males are barred, the females non-barred.

    You didn't quote me, so I'm not sure if you're responding to my post or not. But I'll address it as if you are.

    I'm using barred hens, either hatchery Rocks or mixed breeds. The rooster does have barred Rock in his ancestry, but he himself is not barred. His father was actually a black sex link rooster. I only mentioned the Rock ancestry because it was being theorized the Rock blood contributed to the slower feather rate. Basically, he's a big ol pretty mutt...

    1 person likes this.
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Oh my... he is pretty! What besides BSL was used to make him?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by