Trying to learn how to sex chickens

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by juliejohnson805, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. juliejohnson805

    juliejohnson805 Out Of The Brooder

    85
    9
    39
    Aug 24, 2016
    Central Alabama
    I'm tryin gto learn how to sex chickens. I've been reading about saddle feathers, hackle feathers etc. My roos have finally developed a good showing of saddle feathers at around 17 weeks. They have started crowing and have spur buds. What do you look for before the obvious rooster sign show up to tell them apart? I know there are breed characteristics but are there some general guidelines as well?
     
  2. Cel45

    Cel45 Chillin' With My Peeps

    659
    58
    109
    Oct 28, 2015
    Houston, Tx
    Comb/wattle development is one of the earliest signs. Cockerels, depending on the breed/color can develop red bleeding in on the shoulders.
     
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

    5,686
    1,836
    361
    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Agreed.

    Without taking into breed differences, the best indicator is the comb. Most males in most breeds get a predominantly pink-red comb around 8 weeks with signs usually sooner.

    Ignore behavior. I've had plenty of snotty pullets especially in an all pullet batch. I've also had Amazon legs in pullets as well.

    The girl combs will stay small and yellow, with no more than a peachy tinge, which can increase in tone with activity, until point of lay. Sometimes they have a bit of precocious comb size, but the color is very important. If you've got substantial comb at 6 weeks with true blush pink to pink-red, it will be male.

    If red bars come into the wings, that will almost always be male. (You have to recognize true red bars vs. some brick patterning that is transitional that I've had some mixed breed girls get).

    Feather sexing is not possible unless you have specific lines that are bred so that the females feather faster than the males. I have some females feather slow and some males feather quickly in different breeds. True feather sexing can only be done as a newly hatched chick (I think within the first 3 days) from lines bred for that quality.

    Most importantly among chicks, compare same breed line to same breed line. Different breeds mature differently and even lines within the breeds which makes sexing chicks from the feed store tricky as they commercial lines have a lot of different input in them...and chances are you also get chicks from different batches and thus usually different ages.

    There are some general guide lines with wild type (chipmunk colored) chicks. Usually, tri-color stripes that go from top of the head, down the neck, all the way to the tail is female. Male wild type will have two colors, usually paler on the head, break at the neck, and begin at the back to tail....but that is a generality.

    Barred Rocks are purported to be sexable, but the tricks there only work within the same carefully controlled line as the leg wash and head dot shape vary between the sexes between lines. Commercial quality is extremely unreliable with the traditional BR chick sexing. (ie if black leg wash on front of yellow legs and small defined head dot, female).

    Of course if you get the sexable chicks either from the auto-sexing breeds, [Welsummer (from good lines), Cream Legbar, Rhodebar, etc,] or sex-links (Red and Black), you know from color down at hatch which is which...and that does make life nice.

    HTH
    LofMc
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    82,467
    10,180
    816
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Good to see you back Lady of Mc. I've wondered what you have been up to. Hope you are doing okay.
     
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

    5,686
    1,836
    361
    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon

    Why thank you Diva....just busy with life...my home business has taken off and MIL has needed extra attention (assisted living)...hopefully life will allow me to enjoy my chickens more now. :D
    LofMc
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by