When can you say Hen for sure?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MTchick, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I have eight pullets, maybe...

    Six of them were sexed as female chicks, while two were straight run. They range in age from eight weeks to six weeks.

    I know that roosters *can* start to crow at five weeks, and that they *can* start to do things like use their feet to spur, at very young ages. I also know that certain breeds will develop their combs really early if roosters, get bright red, etc. And that hackle feathers will grow in pointy and thin on a rooster. And that they will "patrol" or at least be alert if they are roosters.

    So here is the thing; while there are quite a few differences between the chicks, it seems like they are all female! None of my chicks do anything like that at all, and while some have reddish combs, their combs are all fairly petite. So my question is- when (aside from the super obvious answer of "when they lay eggs") can I accept that they are all female? I want all females, or at least 7/8 females so that I only need to re-home one chicken to some lucky local farmer.

    Is there an age at which I can confidently say,"Yup- 100% hens!" ?

    I have RIR, Barred Rock, SLWyandotte, Americauna, and WCPolish. I remember reading that silkies are impossible, so my question is more for standard type chickens sexing.

  2. nikkimay

    nikkimay In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2007
    Pacific NW
    I think that by 8 weeks you should start seeing differences if there were boys in the group.... But I don't know when you are 100% sure.... I suppose there could be a boy that was a late bloomer!
  3. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    Somewhere around 20 wks, when they start to lay. 100% positive!! [​IMG]
  4. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    If they are all between 6-8 weeks and you havent heard any crowing attempts, I would say your just about there!

    My boys started trying to crow at 5 weeks, and now at 8 weeks they do it all the time. Usually when appropriate now too, like when I first open the door to their pen and the light from outside pours into the coop, and at night when they are gettin ready for bed. I would think if you havent heard anything even near crowing, you are safe. [​IMG]

    However, I could be wrong. I'll let the other experts chime in and wait to see what they say too.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I say at about 3 months is a good gaurentee that you have hens, late blooming roos should show up by then and they will for sure to crow. At that age, even if they are at the bottom of the pecking order. They will start popping in their adult feathers too and roo's will be all shiny and stick out.

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