Sexing your Silkies (PICTURES AND TIPS - Updated July-5-12)

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by aoxa, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    I really think we need a thread describing key factors that are used to foretell the sex of their silkies. I know there is a thread for sexing EE's, but have yet to find one describing the difference between one of the hardest to sex breeds.. So many people are asking if their silkie is a hen or a rooster on here every day, and I have heard from silkie breeders that by the age of 3 months old you should be able to tell determine the sex of your silkie with ease.

    Please feel free to send me photos of your cockerels & pullets. I would love to include some of your pictures in the original post [​IMG]


    #1: Streamers coming out of the back of their crest. These streamers will begin to develop between the ages of 4-6 months.

    Picture of my Roo's crest.

    **Note: I'm noticing streamers in his offspring as young as 8 weeks old**


    **Edited** I have chicks as young as 8 weeks old that have a very round feminine crest**

    #2: Generally Silkie males will hold their bodies much more upright than silkie pullets.


    Year old hen

    #3: Silkie roosters will have long hackle feathers which are rough in texture.



    #4: MOST Silkie roosters (Not talking SQ stock here) should have a larger walnut comb than a hen when mature.
    **Bearded silkies have the big poofy beard under the beak and should have barely no waddles (or the mature boys will have very little ones you can barely see ) where non-bearded will start to grow waddles pretty early (boys and girls will develop noticeable waddles with the non-bearded (clean faced) variety) **


    Besides the obvious - roosters crow and hens lay eggs. Are there any other signs anyone would like to contribute?

    NOTE: These are all visual determinations of the sex difference. There are many behavioural aspects to sexing silkies as well. Not sure if I should get into that yet or not [​IMG]


    Remember, I have limited experience with silkies. I am just stating what I see between my pullets and my rooster, and what I've read online. I do spend WAY too much time reading about chickens. [​IMG]

    If you have time (on a weekend or a day off), sit outside with your silkies and watch their antics.

    You will soon begin to notice behaviours in the boys that you will not notice in the girls. *Do not sex them as chicks based on behaviour.*

    #1 Cockerels will be on watch a lot of the time. Even my young cockerel (4 months old, though not a silkie) has stood watch from a very young age. The boys are more social than the girls. If they are with others their own age they will most likely be head of the flock. If you have more than one rooster, one will be Alpha, one will be Beta.

    I only have two roosters, both get along great. My silkie is my obvious Alpha rooster. My Barred Rock cockerel is Beta. Steve will not permit Jagger to breed any of 'his' hens. I'd like to see him try to mate my silkie pullets [​IMG] Poor girls..

    #2 Silkie roosters start crowing (on average) between 4 and 6 months old. Don't let anyone tell you their crows are meek compared to that of their standard counterpart. My silkie rooster is LOUD.

    #3 Silkie boys have a natural instinct to protect their girls (as do 99% of other roosters). Most silkie roosters are docile (up to a degree), but will do things like.. Flare their hackle feathers.
    ** Someone mentioned that their hens have done this, however, I have never noticed my silkies doing it. My other breeds do. Not my silkies**

    as so. I have yet to see any of my female silkies do this. I spend WAY too much time with my chickens [​IMG]
    I am out watching my chickens almost full days on weekends (weather permitting), and from after work until dark. I hope to one day soon own a small hobby farm. [​IMG]

    #4 Normally the lowest on your pecking order will be bullied by nearly every other chicken besides the rooster. My rooster is more apt to peck the head hen than the underdog. He will break up fights between the hens. It doesn't take much of his assertion to end the squabbles.


    #5 You will notice "tidbitting" from ONLY roosters **or hens with chicks, but if you have a hen with chicks, you obviously already know they are hens and not roosters!** They will make a strange call that I've only heard come out of my roos. They will pick up a piece of food, drop it, pick it up, drop it, etc. until they have the girls paying attention enough to come over and claim the piece of food. Youngest I've seen this is 4 months, but that's just my experience.


    They will also do this in attempt to mate even if they have nothing around them. It's sneaky.. [​IMG]

    #6 Of course mating.. This behaviour can start as early as 3 months old, but for those roosters that are not alpha, it may be much later. My rooster will drop a wing and shuffle around the hen until she submits or runs away. This behaviour is best observed in the morning when you first let them out.

    Mating Dance
    Here is a video of a rooster doing the mating 'dance' as many call it. Do not let him do this to you. I most definitely would not let him do this to my kid. This is not my rooster. Just a good video showing the dance only a ROOSTER will do.
    **Note: I was informed that some gamey types of hens may do this wing cutting if they are without a rooster in the flock. Just as some hens may crow. It is definitely not as common as a rooster doing it, but it could happen**

    Hormones RAGE in the early morning [​IMG]

    I will have to take a video of my rooster doing his morning activities. I will not tolerate aggressiveness towards the girls. He is such a great rooster, so I normally don't need to intervene.

    Please feel free to send me photos of your cockerels & pullets. I would love to include some of your pictures in the original post [​IMG]

    Some extra notes:

    Sonoran Silkies: Longer feathers = better quality silkie.

    Female colour area is breast; male colour areas are shoulders, wing bar, saddle.
    Photo courtesy of artsyrobin (thanks!)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012
  2. I found this very helpful and thanks to your tips, I do believe I have 2 silkie boys with 6 silkie girls.
    Thanks so much!
    Some of the behavioral info would be helpful as well when you get the chance.

    P.S. Dear Mods..... STICKY! [​IMG]
    VolailleAmant likes this.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Quote:There [​IMG] I added some of my behavioural observations (along with some I have heard of many times over).

    Thanks for reading! I'm glad it helped you even a little [​IMG]
  4. You have done a good job. I hope you will get some feed back on show quality silkie sexing as it becomes more difficult to sex them. Two reasons that I know of are the cockerels often have very small combs and their crests do not necessarily slick back. The crest may be very full and fall forward. [​IMG]
    BlueBaby and aef1000 like this.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing

    Quote:Good to know! I have seen a couple on the auction here like that, but not many! I just love full crests. It seems the majority of the cocks have the slicked back crests. Even the ones that have a full crest have streamers by 6 months old. So at least they have that to help sex them [​IMG]

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    BlueBaby and UThobbyfarmer like this.
  6. KristyAz

    KristyAz Songster

    Jan 29, 2011
    Mishawaka, Indiana
    Great information post! Thank you for taking the time to write it and post pictures. I have 1 Silkie chick, 1 week old today. I'll be observing to see if I can determine sex based on the tips in this thread.
    Ellie Bush likes this.
  7. littlecreekfarm

    littlecreekfarm Songster

    Jun 1, 2011
    this is great. will really help me with the tons of silkie chicks i hope to have next year!!!!
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Crowing


    Quote:I'm glad I could help! [​IMG]

    Definitely can't tell the gender for a few more weeks at least [​IMG]
  9. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

    Mar 1, 2009
    Muskogee OK
    good thread, something i ran across, one of those 'duh!' moments- my silkie about 2 months old at the time was in a pen next to my banty cochin rooster, and he knew right off to dance for her- and he was right, she is now laying-


    here is a comparison of a pullet and cockerel- feel free to use it if it helps

    BlueBaby likes this.
  10. Quote:There [​IMG] I added some of my behavioural observations (along with some I have heard of many times over).

    Thanks for reading! I'm glad it helped you even a little [​IMG]

    Thank you very much!

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