Wyandotte Sickle Feathers

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hebertchick12, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. hebertchick12

    hebertchick12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How soon can sickle feathers begin to show on wyandottes? Or any chicken for that matter.... I have three 5 week old BLRW that I have been trying to determine the sexes. One already has iridescent green sickle-looking feathers on his tail.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    As early as a few weeks old you can get male feathering, mating behavior, etc.

    If you put up some photos I can tell you if it's male feathering, most likely. Some hens have curved feathering too, but either way sickles are not usually the first mature type feathers to come in, most males seem to develop some around the neck and shoulders first.

    Best wishes.
     
  3. hebertchick12

    hebertchick12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the reply... I really haven't bothered trying to sex them, but I just noticed those green tail feathers today.
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  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    That's a definite male, but the tail feathers are still unisex. The extra shiny, darker red feathers coming through on the back are definite male feathers. You won't find feathering of such structure on a normal hen.

    As for sheen, well, there are some breeds of chooks noted for extreme sheen or gloss, and others noted for a complete absence of sheen (i.e. Cemani) so it's heritable, genetically based, more than gender based.

    The structure of the feathers is what makes them shiny or otherwise, with levels of natural/raw oils in the diet being responsible for most of the rest of the sheen.

    People often say 'males will get darker feathers' but it's an optical illusion, in reality it's just the surface of the feather that makes it look darker due to how its altered surface structure interacts with the light spectrum, the same way sheen is created; the pigmentation of the feather remains the same.

    I have some females with beautiful intense green, purple, and/or blue sheens (some are one color, some are mixed) and some who have rainbow bands of sheen in their feathers, so you can have gold, white, blue, green, purple, pinkish/reddish, mixed and layered sheen on every single feather. Very beautiful. But unisex despite what many books will tell you.

    It's the same with turkeys, you can get black males with almost no rainbow sheen, and many females like that too, but I've owned a pair who had extreme rainbow sheen all over, both the male and female. It's more a family trait than a gender trait though males have predispositions to extra sheen on certain gender specific feathers, such as the red ones your male has on his back.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. Banjoplayer

    Banjoplayer Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, he is beautiful!
     
  6. hebertchick12

    hebertchick12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, we were sold game mix cockerels, but didn't know it at the time. Thought we were getting BLRW. We are learning that you cannot trust to many people in the backyard breeding chicken business. We have only purchased our chicks from feed stores in the area, and the two times we traveled a good way to buy some birds from private sellers, we were sold something that turned out to NOT be what we were told.

    I understand we are still learning, but I do extensive research online, and we DO ask PLENTY questions, and we got lied to both times. Frustrating!
     
  7. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Ah, lol, usually it's the opposite, the feed stores sell the 'whoknowswhatsits' and the backyard breeders are more likely to know what they're talking about.

    But yes, don't trust anyone who will not have an open and honest discussion with you about why they are selling their birds to you --- bottom line is they saw something wrong with every single one of them, and you have a right to know. They would have kept them as breeders if they looked good to them.

    If they're lying to you, perhaps document incident and breeder and make a thread on here, or give their hatchery a review, if you can. People spend good money on ripoffs, it's not right. I've been ripped off with every bird I've ever bought, only times I wasn't ripped off it was when I got birds for free.

    I have a strict honesty policy, even though I'm only selling mongrels... I sometimes expect I may scare some people off with my honesty, but they always end up buying the birds, I'm guessing because they can see they're healthy and it seems they usually don't really care about any genetic faults. Most people who buy from me just want good natured and dual purpose sorts of mongrel mixes, but I think it's important that they know as much as possible because chooks are pretty addictive for many and if they want to breed down the track they need to know such things. I'm honest as to why I choose which birds to sell on. It's never cost me a single sale, I don't see why honesty should cripple any decent business built on selling chooks.

    Best wishes.
     

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