What age can I tell hen or roo?

Discussion in 'What Breed Or Gender is This?' started by Animal-lover101, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Animal-lover101

    Animal-lover101 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2015
    Hi all I wanted to know what age I can start to tell if my chicks are rooster or hens. I have an araucana, barnevelder, silkie and a polish
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I guess it varies depending on your experience in spotting the tell tale signs of gender in each breed. From what i have seen posted here on BYC, members seem to make a better attempt at identifying gender at around 8 weeks. Personally, i think its more a sport than a science [​IMG]

    All the best
  3. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    The Barnevelder should become apparent fairly soon, often by 4 weeks, sometimes at hatch with carefully controlled lines as the chick down breast color is often different between male and female (one is cream while the other is more white, I've forgotten which is which at the moment). As they grow, the hens and roos are colored differently. Black breasted will indicate roo (usually) and gold lacing on the breast, with overall gold lacing, will indicate hen. Hatchery quality stock skew results a bit as the birds may not be correctly colored, but the hens should have a laced appearance while the males will be more solidly black and mahagony with red/gold color blocks, typically on the wing tips, and have a darker overall color. Lacing is visible, but it is as the sun hits the feathers and dark against a dark background. Comb development is fairly early too in males.

    Silkies are notoriously hard to sex as they have similar feather types for both sexes and develop slowly. The males tend to be taller, lankier, and have a "mohawk." They will also develop a pronounced black walnut comb and some wattle. The females will be lower to the ground, more tear dropped shaped, little to no wattle, small comb which will be hidden beneath their large top pom-pom, which is full and round.

    Polish also can be hard to sex. I've not owned these personally, but I know that the fellas usually get far more crazy in their crest, typically have the horn comb showing, but not always, and will be taller. The girls will be a bit plumper and lower than the boys. I'm not sure how soon these show, but I do know that it is hard to know earlier like Silkies are hard to know.

    Araucanas will be harder as well...depending upon if you got an Araucana or an Easter Egger. True Araucanas are rare and almost always have to be purchased from a breeder. If you bought it from the feed store, or a Craigslist back yarder, it is almost certainly an Easter Egger. Easter Eggers are hybrids, meaning a cross between two breeds (or more). For an Easter Egger, there should be Araucana or Ameraucana in the background. If you are in America and there are signs of beard and muff it is not Araucana but Ameraucana in the background, a more common bird type, but still uncommon except for true poultry breeders. What is sold in the store with beard and often green legs is an Easter Egger and these are often called Americana or even Araucana in error. A true Araucana, in the US, should be rumpless (no tail) and half will have ear tufts (ideal, but the tuft gene is leathal if 2 copies are inherited, therefore one must breed a non-tufted to a tufted).

    In case of Araucana, you will need to watch comb development. Usually 3 rows of peas indicate male, and the comb will be more red and fleshy earlier. You should have indication by 8 weeks.

    If you have an Easter Egger, color pattern can help a lot. The common gold partridge pattern, with black ticking at the neck, and patterning over gold on the back with even coloring is almost always female. A white with black pattern is usually male. There are exceptions. Overall, even color pattern, like a kaleidescope, is female. Blotchy color pattern, like a block quilt, is male. If red appears on the wing bows, it will be male. Comb development appears earlier in males. 3 rows of peas is typically male. You should know again by 6 to 8 weeks for those with solid colors, or multi-color, earlier if the typical male or female color (with some exceptions possible).

    Overall, you typically have a guess by 6 to 8 weeks of age if it is a male or female, although there are exceptions. Usually by 12 weeks, you've got them figured out. Some breeds you have to wait for a crow or an egg.

    The only way to know for certain very early is to purchase a sex-linked hybrid (i.e. Red Sex Link or Black Sex Link) or an autosexing breeed (i.e. Rhodebars, good Welsummer lines) where the chick down from hatch indicates male or female. If you are lucky, the breed telecasts early due to adult color differences, like the Barnevelder, or comb growth (like a Marans, a breed you are not mentioning).

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    X2 on LofMc's post.
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    x3 on Lady of McCamley's post.
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    x 4 plus polish males generally will grow wild,rock star crests while the pullets will have a bushy, orderly, rounded crest.

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