Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How To Tell If A Chicken Is A Rooster Or A Hen; A Pullet Or A Cockrel

When you first get a hatchling or are picking out a chick from a group of chicks, many times you would like to know whether this chick is a male or female. It is important to have a lot of hens verses roosters because too many roosters don't get along with each other after a while. Take my word for it; we have lived and learned this the hard way!

an old rooster we used to have

Different ways to determine the sex of your chick:

  1. Buy from someone who only sells female chicks or pullets. If you do this they do the hard work for you and you don't have to worry about it.
  2. Wait until the chick is about 6 months old and they will either be crowing or they will not. but that will take some patience and sometimes you just don't have it.
  3. Another way that I have heard about is to check the wing feathers if one row is shorter than the other then it is female and if they are the same size then it is male. that only works with some breads so that doesn't always work.
  4. A way that I like is to check the thickness of the chicken's legs. The male legs are generally thicker than the females. As they get older generally the male will start to get spurs on the back of his legs but this is generally. Occasionally though there will be a hen with spurs or a hen that crows. So this isn't always the case. 
  5. You can learn to vent sex a chicken but it takes years to be a pro at that. If you do learn that maybe you could make the big bucks. lol
  6. If you have an older chicken getting some nice wattles then you can compare wattles and if the chicken has smaller wattles than another one that you know to be a rooster then you may possible have a hen. 
  7. Longer tail feathers are a sign that you have a rooster. But that takes time too. Usually they will start to get really colorful as well, because with birds the more colorful they are then they are a male.
Whichever way you decide to use always have a back up plan just in case you need to get rid of a rooster.  We were introduced to a farm who will take roosters in and I was really happy about that. We get pretty attached to our birds and don't like to see them killed.  (mostly my son) Maybe you aren't like us though and you could use fresh chicken meat. whatever you decide is great just don't ever decide to fight a rooster it is illegal and just plain cruel! (ok, maybe that was random fyi)

Let me know if you have found another way that works good for you I would love to hear about it!

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