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When do chicks start acting like pullets and cockerels?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 4H kids and mom, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    We have 25 St Run American chicks that are just a little over a week old now. I've noticed changes in their behavior and I'm wondering if this is a way to sex them? Roughly half of them are quieter than the rest, as well as doing more scratching, bedding down and roosting. The other half are much louder than the rest and are starting to 'challenge' others by bumping chests with heads held high (like the big roos do) and looking like they are trying to 'fight'. For the 25 chicks, they are in a 5 foot diameter brooder box set up with a red heat lamp bulb that keeps a cozy temp (now down to 90 degrees this week). It has two 2' long feeders and one two gallon waterer. They are still getting Super Vitamins in their water, but I plan to stop that this week. Just wondering if anyone else ever began to see sex-linked changes in their babies before they feather out to be males or females for certain.
  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    I'm sure the bumping chest ones are little boys. Do you have pictures? Post them and there is usually somebody here that is able to sex them.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Don't be too quick to say the chest bumping ones are boys! All my pullet chicks do that and the cockerels do that to the pullets and vice versa. I have one tiny Brahma pullet who likes to jump on the back of one of the Barred Rock cockerels three times her size for some reason.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    With that breed I haven't been able to sex them reliably until about 6-8 weeks old. I look for big thick legs and a big pink comb starting to form. Under a month, you might be able to pick out the very obvious males, but the late bloomers will get by.
  5. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    I ordered 8 Brabanter pullets and 2 Brabanter cockerels. They all look alike at three weeks. Yesterday I put my hand in the brooder and made like a spider and walked my fingers toward the bunch. One little guy came out and tried to spur the heck out of my hand. I think I found at least one of the roos.

    I have heard you can clap your hands or make a loud noise and the hens will face away from the sound and huddle, while the roos will become alert and turn toward the sound. I have not been able to see a difference with this method, but it seems the "hand" test worked for me.
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2007
    mom if you want to continue with the vitamins till they are gone that is not a problem, no reason to let them get old, unless you have more peeps coming. [​IMG]

  7. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Thank you for all of your replies! I feel like I'm surrounded by chicken experts! [​IMG] Here's what I've tried: I did the clap thing, and the majority of the ones I have a 'hunch' are male came running, head held high, chest puffed out, very alert. The ones I have a hunch are pullets all gathered in a corner and made a low purring type sound. The ones I think are boys are the loudest and sing their little hearts out in the early morn, and again when they are getting ready to bed down for the night, while the 'hen acting' ones are always quieter and more relaxed. Also, the ones we think are girls enjoy being held and will settle down in our hands and go to sleep while we pet them. The ones we think are boys are always more 'rowdy' and never seem to stop moving. When we take them out, they wiggle and squirm and peep loudly, and are answered by the other 'male wannabe's' within the box. Whenever we put a hand in the box, the ones we think are boys run over to look, but then run away so we dont pick them up. While the hen wannabe's take their time to walk over and when they feel safe they'll climb up onto a hand or eat out of a hand if it has food. They've all grown, but the ones we think are boys seem to have grown the biggest the fastest. They are rounder with thicker shanks, while the 'fem' ones seem dainty and petite compared. We tried the wing feather sexing thing, and here's what we got from that: of the 27, 15 appear to be males and 12 appear to be females. I guess with St Run you usually will end up with a few more cockerels than pullets, and for us it makes no difference. We live in the country surrounded only by field so there's no one to complain about roos crowing. Plus, extras roos will make mighty fine dinners! We plan to keep all the pullets and two of the best roos, and cull the rest. The two roos will be for showin in the fair and to make more babies once a year or so. We're really looking forward to rainbow eggs too! Guess I better learn some more egg recipes! lol [​IMG]

    PS...My cam is really crappy, but I'm tryin to get some decent pics to post. The chicks are just now starting to feather out a bit. Wings are much longer and some have tails beginning to appear. One chick looks like an Indian chief with just one feather sticking up on the top of his head! We affectionatly call him Chief Little Feather! [​IMG]
  8. crazy4daisy

    crazy4daisy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2007
    Central Missouri
    My chicks are roughly 3wks old and I've noticed that about half are ALOT bigger than the other ones and have alot longer tails than the other half. It's so frustrating waiting to find out which ones are which![​IMG]
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Pullets usually get their tailfeathers before the cockerels, plus the cockerels are slower to feather out on their backs and wingbows, at least in the heavier breeds. USUALLY. And I have some Phoenix/Barred Rock cockerels who are very friendly, wanting to sit on my knee all the time, rarely fight with the other little roos. Rarely are your clues 100% at a young age, except with sexlinked birds.
  10. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Ok, here's a thought. I have about 9 of them that whenever I put my hand into the box they run to me and climb into my hand, bed down, and enjoy being pet and will even fall asleep! Its ALWAYS the same ones that come to me. We've named two of them (ChickenDuck and Little Feather) and they are beginning to come to their names! Could the ones that come runnin to Mama be my hens? Hens are generally the friendlier ones, wanting to be loved on right?

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