Sustainable Living Center Oregon
A problem with raising chickens, is what do you do with a chick that turns out to be a rooster. Whether you buy them from the feed store, order them online, or hatch them yourself, you will get roosters.
You feed them and then they start to crow. Now what do you do with them?
You could have saved on your feed bill, if you had known sooner.
There are 3 common methods that are used to sex day old chicks and two of the ways involve sex linked traits. There are color sexing, feather sexing and vent sexing. Vent sexing is exactly what it sounds like.
Before the vent is opened, the feces in the chick must be expelled by gently squeezing the abdomen. The chicks vent is then opened and examined to determine if the chick is a male or a female. The copulatory organ (penis) of the male is a different shape and much larger than that of the females clitoris. The problem with vent sexing is that there are over fifteen different shapes associated with the copulatory organs and most people do not want to look into the cloaca or vent of a chick. The problem is how to determine the gender of a chicken. Experts “vent sexing” baby chicks. Vent sexing means they look at tiny differences in the birds’ cloaca, that’s a fancy word for “bird butt. It’s considered more of an art than a science.
If you want to see “vent sexing” in action Chick Here for Mike Rowe doing Dirty Jobs
You may be able to determine the sex of your chicks by reading the following.
With some chickens, the males and females hatch out different colors.
Dominique – A cockerel (male) chick has yellow toes and leg shanks. A pullet chick (female) has darker (shadowy black or gray) toes and leg shanks. As they grow older the leg color differences become less. Usually the toe/leg color is accurate but some strains of Dominique do not show this tendency as much as other strains. For some strains using the head color discussed below is more accurate.
Male hatchlings usually have a clearer (yellow) beak than females (less black on the beak). And as they get older, the beaks of males become even clearer. Of course, it depends on the strain of bird.
Cockerels have light and scattered, diffused spot(s) of yellow on top of the head. The male spot is usually larger than the female spot. As they grow older, all chicks (male and female) lose their yellow spots.
The roosters will start to develop combs at around 1 1/2 months in most breeds. It will start to redden in the males; the females will still be yellow. The comb size varies by breed and even individual. For instance, a hen can have a larger comb than any of her sisters of the same breed, and a larger comb than any of my roosters, too.
Feather sexing is another way to tell the difference between males and females. In certain breeds, the primary wing feathers are shorter on newly-hatched males than they are on females of the same breed. But this only works in some strains of some breeds–and only in newly hatched baby chicks. It will not normally work at home–not unless you have the right breed, the right strain, and you hatched them yourself, anyway.
Look at their feathers –Female chicks (pullets) get their feathers quite quickly — in the first week or so. Roosters’ feather growth doesn’t grow nearly as quickly. However, at 2-3 months you will see the long and pointed hackle feathers developing on the males.
A variety of crossbreeds can be sorted out by the color and markings of their down. In these cases, the juvenile coloring is a sex-linked characteristic . . . that is, the pullets’ coloration is determined by mama’s gene, the cockerels’ by pa’s. The most important factor to remember about these pairings is that the method doesn’t hold if the breeds of hen and rooster are switched.
What it worth department
We have never read about this technique but we have heard about it, but it seemed to work on the 3-6 day old chicks from several different breeds. Hold the chicks up by the scruff of the neck, like you’d hold a baby kitten, and let their feet dangle. Males will pull their legs up while the females will always leave their legs dangling. Check it out and email results us.
If you know of another way to tell a chicks gender, please email and we will add to our list.
If you have a chicken that is less than 8 weeks old, you can turn it into a capon.
The younger the roosters, the easier is on the bird.. It helps to determine which chicks are a rooster before you name.
A capon is a male chicken that is neutered, at a young age, and then fed a rich diet until it reaches 6 to 12 pounds, between the age of 5 and 6 months. The flesh is very white and, unlike that of other chickens, marbled with fat.
A capon is larger than a chicken, a bit smaller than a turkey, but more flavorful, capons are full breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is well suited to roasting.
Sustainable Living Center
82 Siletz Hwy
Lincoln City, OR 97267