Wattles on Black Australorp hens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by kittydoc, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. kittydoc

    kittydoc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2012
    Near Indianapolis
    Do Black Australorp hens have wattles? I have ten 6 week old chicks picked out of a straight run. A feed store employee told me about this "behavioral" test in which you hold young chicks (less than a week old) upside down by their feet. He said cockerels will fight against this until set upright, while pullets would either relax immediately or within a second or two, and just hang happily upside down. I also saw a YouTube video that said that chicks 3-5 days old could be sexed by how many rows of primary flight feathers they had (1 for cockerels, 2 for pullets). All of my "girls" passed both tests. Some have more prominent combs and the now the start of wattles than others.

    Does it mean anything in this breed? I know in many breeds, hens can have wattles and combs, too.

    I really don't want to have eat the unintended roosters in several weeks, but if it happens, it happens--I'd just like some guidance from experts!

    Thanks for putting up with the newbies like me!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I've never had Austral-orps but have had Orpintons and several other breeds and hybrids. Usually I don't see wattles on the hens until 8-9 weeks. Not to say your Australs are cockerels but does give cause for suspicion. At 6 weeks there are a few things you can look for, first is large legs, second is pink coloring to comb, larger than others combs. If you see pink and large legs then your over 90% sure it's a cockerel.

    There is a long list of wives tales about sexing chicks. I like the one where you wave your hat over them, those that lay down are pullets and those that stand up to attack the hat are cockerels. Fun sayings like that are usually just fun with very little validity. Leg size alone as chicks is your best indicator if not a breed with better indicators like barred rocks and such.
     
  3. JesseK

    JesseK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a 5 week black australorp - you can see him in my avatar - that I thought was a hen. Then he started crowing :) A friend raises lots of poultry and we had ordered ours together. So he let me switch him for a hen since I can't have a rooster in town. The difference in appearance between Pearl 1 and Pearl 2 is staggering. Obviously he was devloping very fast - but his comb was so red, he had very long legs, and stood very tall. The hen I have now is more stout - barely any pink in her comb, and has shorter legs. So I would guess that you're seeing cockerels. But I only have this one situation to go off of. Enjoy your chicks!!
     
  4. tigercreek

    tigercreek Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a breeder quality pullet at point of lay. Hatchery birds may not have the same look. She has wattles, but not as large as her brother's. Please do not hold chickens up side down. It causes them to have difficulty breathing and they may pass out. Something about the diaphgram not being able to press on the lungs, espically in heavier birds. ......stan
     
  5. kittydoc

    kittydoc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll have to check the leg length for another clue--I had not noticed much difference, just that the he/she is bigger in all respects (including breadth--this chicken is just big all over). The height difference is actually less now than it was when they were all younger. 2-3 of my other pullets are almost as tall and heavy as the one with the bigger comb/wattles, and they have almost NO comb or wattles. I am afraid the one may indeed turn out to be a rooster, but I read one person's post elsewhere that one of her hens had the biggest comb and wattles in her whole flock, including the roosters. I'm also keeping an eye on their saddle feathers, and guess I will have a more definitive answer in another 6 weeks from the saddle/tail feathers. Right now, they all look the same in terms of their plumage.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  6. kittydoc

    kittydoc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2012
    Near Indianapolis
    Hi Stan,

    I have not held any upside down other than once or twice during their first week of life, and then only for a few seconds. I don't think they would care for it much now that they're much heavier.

    At what age do chickens have "maximum" comb/wattle size? Any idea, anyone?

    Thanks for your reply, too.
     

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