I have 21 barred rock chicks, and I'm wondering what are some of the signs to look for to tell them apart, and how early can I get a hint? They are ten days old, and I ordered a straight run--I'm just curious who's who and what the breakdown is.
I can't find the link to the original post right now, so my apologies to Gindee77, who provided us with this info.
According to UC Davis Veterinary Care Program.
2. Physical Characteristics (4-6 weeks of age)
a. Comb The cockerels comb is medium size and pinkish, the pullets is small and yellowish.
b. Legs The cockerels legs are sturdy and long, the pullets are finer and shorter.
c. Tail The cockerels tail is stumpy and curved, the pullets is longer and straight.
d. Back The cockerel has a thin line of stub feathers down the center of his back, the pullet has more advanced feathering along the center of her back
.e. Side of neck, flank and crop The feathering in the cockerel in these areas is poorly advanced, the pullets feathering in these areas is well advanced.
f. Wing bows In the cockerel the wing bows are bare, in pullets the wing bows are covered with small feathers.
When I bought my BR chicks the breeder showed me some tricks to tell male from female, this isn't a hundred percent accurate, but very, very close. The females tend to be more black than gray, the white barring is lighter or thinner than on the males, and the females tend to have darker feet. Look at their toes sometime, the girls' toes look sooty, while the males are less so.
He said sometimes you get a male who has female characteristics when they are still quite small, but those are the best ones to keep for breeding down the road. I found this to be really accurate for me, and it helped me tell males from female pretty young. Within a few more weeks you should start seeing the combs growing too, and the little boys combs grow faster and turn red waaaay before the girls' combs change color.