Jun 5, 2014

How to Sex Chickens: Male or Female, Hen or Rooster?

How to Sex Chickens: Basic tools to learn to distinguish male chicks from female chicks, cockerels from pullets and roosters from hens.
Are you wondering how to tell the sex of your chicks or older chickens? The question of gender is important to many chicken keepers for a variety of reasons, most commonly because roosters are either not allowed in the neighborhood or not needed in a backyard flock. In this article, we’ll look at a variety of chicken sexing methods that make it possible to determine the gender of chickens at various ages. My goal is to give you some basic tools to learn to distinguish male chicks from female chicks, cockerels from pullets and roosters from hens.
In this article, we’ll look at a variety of methods that make it possible to determine the gender of chickens at various ages. My goal is to give you some basic tools to learn to distinguish male chicks from female chicks, cockerels from pullets and roosters from hens.
In this article, we’ll look at a variety of methods that make it possible to determine the gender of chickens at various ages. My goal is to give you some basic tools to learn to distinguish male chicks from female chicks, cockerels from pullets and roosters from hens.
Throughout this discussion, please bear in mind the obvious: there are only two possible outcomes of any sexing technique: male or female, so the probability of any sexing technique, trick or method being correct is always 50-50.  So, while you may read or hear claims about various methods that “always work for me,” ANY method has a shot at being right half the time. Better to flip a coin than to invest much credence in most of the old wives’ tales.
Even the most reliable sexing methods used by commercial poultry operations have a margin of error.
When purchasing chickens from a hatchery or feed store, remember that even chicks being sold as female (aka: sexed, pullets) risk being male. Even the most reliable sexing methods used by commercial poultry operations have a margin of error and sometimes chicks get mixed up in the bins at the feed store. The take-home message? Always have a plan for roosters if you cannot keep them.
Even the most reliable sexing methods used by commercial poultry operations have a margin of error and sometimes chicks get mixed up in the bins at the feed store.
Some methods of sexing chickens should be left to trained professionals, some methods can be used only in specific circumstances and others are just as accurate as guessing the outcome of a coin toss at the start of a football game. Most sexing methods are NOT useful to the casual backyard chicken keeper, so I will touch on them briefly while supplying links for further reading and more information about those methods. 
VENT SEXING: LEAVE IT TO THE PROS!
Vent sexing sounds and appears very straightforward, but it is a true science and an art form and should not be attempted by backyard chicken keepers. When improperly performed, day old chicks are at risk of disembowelment and death.
VENT SEXING (aka: Cloacal Sexing or Cloacal Inspection)
How does it work? 
Large commercial hatcheries hire highly trained and experienced, professional vent sexers to visually inspect the sex organs inside a day old chick’s vent and sort them into male and female bins. After sorting, chicks are referred to as “sexed.” Chicks that have not been sorted by gender are referred to as “straight run.” 
The differences between newly hatched male and female chicks' sex organs is extremely subtle, so subtle that even professional vent sexers are only 90-95% accurate.
This is an excellent video of vent sexers at work- and it's rated "G." ☺
Vent sexing sounds and appears very straightforward, but it is a true art form, which should not be attempted by backyard chicken keepers. When improperly performed, day old chicks are at risk of disembowelment and death. Amateurs are not likely to read the anatomy with any degree of accuracy greater than a coin toss anyway, so please stick with the coin toss at home.

VISIBLE GENDER DIFFERENCES
Observing secondary sex characteristics is the method the vast majority of us rely upon to make early gender predictions in our backyard flocks. By three weeks of age, it is usually possible to begin distinguishing physical features that point to a chicken’s gender. I find it enormously helpful to have several birds of the same age and breed to compare to each other. Here are some of the features to observe when trying to determine the sex of your chicken:
By three weeks of age, it is usually possible to notice distinguishing physical features that point to a chicken’s gender.
Comb and wattle size: In general, male chicks will begin to develop larger, more prominent, darker combs earlier than females.
 In general, male chicks will begin to develop larger, more prominent, darker combs earlier than females.
Hackle feathers: Hackle feathers grow around a chicken's neck and begin to appear as a chicken approaches sexual maturity, around 4-6 months old. A rooster's hackle feathers are long and pointy, a hen's hackle feathers are shorter and more round. 
Hackle feathers grow around a chicken's neck and begin to appear as a chicken approaches sexual maturity, around 4-6 months old. A rooster's hackle feathers are long and pointy, a hen's hackle feathers are shorter and more round.
Hackle feathers grow around a chicken's neck and begin to appear as a chicken approaches sexual maturity, around 4-6 months old. A rooster's hackle feathers are long and pointy, a hen's hackle feathers are shorter and more round.
Hackle feathers grow around a chicken's neck and begin to appear as a chicken approaches sexual maturity, around 4-6 months old. A rooster's hackle feathers are long and pointy, a hen's hackle feathers are shorter and more round.
Saddle feathers: Saddle feathers grow on roosters where you might expect if he were a horse: on its back, towards its tail.
 Males tend to have longer, thicker legs and bigger feet than female chickens.
Size of legs and feet: Males tend to have longer, thicker legs and bigger feet than female chickens.
While crowing does not ordinarily begin in cockerels until they are approaching sexual maturity, the timing varies by breed and individuals within a breed. The youngest cockerel to begin crowing in my flock was a mere three weeks old! That's Simon in the photo below.
Tail Feathers: Males of most breeds have long, fancy tail feathers referred to as sickles. The main sickle feathers are the longest, curvy feathers at the top of his tail. The lesser sickle feathers are the curvy feathers that line both sides of his tail beneath the main sickles. 
Males of most breeds have long, fancy tail feathers referred to as sickles. Black Copper Marans rooster.
Males of most breeds have long, fancy tail feathers referred to as sickles. Black Copper Marans rooster.
Crowing: While crowing does not ordinarily begin in cockerels until they are approaching sexual maturity, the timing varies by breed and individuals within a breed. The youngest cockerel to begin crowing in my flock was a mere three weeks old! That's Simon in the photo below.
While crowing does not ordinarily begin in cockerels until they are approaching sexual maturity, the timing varies by breed and individuals within a breed. The youngest cockerel to begin crowing in my flock was a mere three weeks old! That's Simon in the photo below.
If you have never heard the first attempts at crowing by a cockerel, you simply MUST listen to The Crow of Baby Brutus.
While crowing does not ordinarily begin in cockerels until they are approaching sexual maturity, the timing varies by breed and individuals within a breed. The youngest cockerel to begin crowing in my flock was a mere three weeks old! That's Simon in the photo below.
Posture: I find the posture of chicks can be very telling at an early age in some birds. Males have a distinctive upright, jaunty, cocky, if you will, stance when surprised or alerted to something.
Cockerels can tip themselves off by behaving more assertively or aggressively than pullets at a very young age. That is not to say that pullets cannot be assertive or aggressive, they can. This is just another factor to put into the equation when adding up the physical signs.
This 4 week old Light Sussex chick is unquestionably a cockerel given his attitude, posture and comb/wattle development.
Attitude: Cockerels can tip themselves off by behaving more assertively or aggressively than pullets at a very young age. That is not to say that pullets cannot be assertive or aggressive, they can. This is just another factor to put into the equation when adding up the physical signs.
The submissive squat is the posture I refer to when a chicken crouches down, spreads its wings to the side for balance and lowers its tail. This is the stance a hen assumes when they have reached sexual maturity and are approached by a rooster for mating. If you haven't identified your chicken as a pullet by the age of five months or so, the submissive squat is a sure sign that your chicken is female and is going to lay an egg within a week or so!
Submissive squat: The submissive squat is the posture I refer to when a chicken crouches down, spreads its wings to the side for balance and lowers its tail. This is the stance a hen assumes when they have reached sexual maturity and are approached by a rooster for mating. If you haven't identified your chicken as a pullet by the age of five months or so, the submissive squat is a sure sign that your chicken is female and is going to lay an egg within a week or so!
A sex-linked chicken is one whose gender can be determined by its appearance shortly after hatching either by down color or the growth rate of certain wing feathers.
SEXING METHODS THAT ONLY WORK IN SPECIFIC CASES
At the risk of mortifying geneticists everywhere, gross oversimplifications follow.

SEX LINKED GENDER DETERMINATION
A sex-linked chicken is one whose gender can be determined by its appearance shortly after hatching either by down color or the growth rate of certain wing feathers.
COLOR SEXING
How does it work?
The gender of certain chicks can be sexed by the color of their down at hatch.
Color Sexing Purebreds.
A purebred example of a color sex link is the Barred Plymouth Rock. BPR chicks can be sexed at hatch based on the size and shape of a light-colored spot on the top of their heads. Males have a large white spot while females have a smaller, lighter, more narrow spot. Overall, Barred Rock females also lighter in color than males. This method is considered ~80% accurate.
The gender of certain chicks can be sexed by the color of their down at hatch.
Color Sexing Hybrids
Black Sex Linked chicks are produced by crossing a barred hen (such as a Barred Plymouth Rock) with a non-barred rooster. The male offspring will feather out like their mother, and the female offspring will be a solid color, typically black. This method is the only sure thing. If you cannot have roosters, order sex linked chicks.
Red Sex Linked chicks can be produced by crossing a variety of different breeds.
Red Sex Linked chicks can be produced by crossing a variety of different breeds. “The most common commercial cross uses a silver female (such as a light Sussex) and a gold male (such as a Rhode Island Red). The female offspring are gold and the males are silver.”
If you know that a chick’s father was a fast-feathering breed AND the mother was a slow-feathering breed, feather-sexing can reveal the gender of newly hatched hybrid chicks by the appearance of its wing feathers. This method must be employed within the first three days after hatching.
WING FEATHER SEXING
**This method is ONLY accurate IF you know that the chick’s father was a fast-feathering breed AND the mother was a slow-feathering breed.**
How does it work?
If you know that a chick’s father was a fast-feathering breed AND the mother was a slow-feathering breed, feather-sexing can reveal the gender of newly hatched hybrid chicks by the appearance of its wing feathers. This method must be employed within the first three days after hatching. 
If you know that a chick’s father was a fast-feathering breed AND the mother was a slow-feathering breed, feather-sexing can reveal the gender of newly hatched hybrid chicks by the appearance of its wing feathers. This method must be employed within the first three days after hatching.
Eggshells & membranes from a newly hatched chick.
Eggshells & membranes from a newly hatched chick.
How does it work?
For approximately $25.00, anyone can have a lab perform a DNA analysis of a chick’s down, feathers, eggshell after hatch or blood, which will accurately reveal gender.
any time someone suggests a fail-proof, do-it-yourself method of chick sexing, ask yourself whether commercial hatcheries are using it. If not, you can be quite certain it is either not accurate, not cost-effective or just plain silly.
OLD WIVES TALES
These are NOT Accurate Methods for Chick Sexing
Every accurate, cost-effective method of determining gender at the earliest possible moment is already in use by commercial hatcheries. Commercial hatcheries and breeders lose money when they hatch male chicks, so it is in their financial interest to employ accurate sexing methods. So any time someone suggests a fail-proof, do-it-yourself method of chick sexing, ask yourself whether commercial hatcheries are using it. If not, you can be quite certain it is either not accurate, not cost-effective or just plain silly.
Egg shape is not an accurate method for sexing baby chicks.
Egg shape
What’s the claim? Pointy eggs=female, rounded eggs=male. Grab yourself a coin and toss away, folks! It is not accurate.

Needle &Thread or Ring on a String
What’s the claim? When dangled over a baby chick moves spontaneously back and forth=male, in a circular movement=female. It is not accurate.
Needle and thread or ring on a string is not an accurate method for sexing chickens.
Holding Upside Down (PLEASE DON'T DO THIS!)
What's the Claim? When held upside down, males will struggle to right themselves, females will not. Total nonsense. It is not accurate.

Hold by Neck with 2 Fingers  (PLEASE DON'T DO THIS!)
What's the Claim? If you pick a chick up with two fingers by its neck, a female will draw its legs up to its body, a male's legs will dangle. It is not accurate.
breakthrough discovery of a method to determine the gender of chickens within the eggshell as early as day 3 of incubation, at which point the embryo does not feel pain
SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH!
Dr. Maria-Elisabeth Krautwald-Junghanns, a professor at the University of Leipzig, received an award for her breakthrough discovery of a method to determine the gender of chickens within the eggshell as early as day 3 of incubation, at which point the embryo does not feel pain. With the use of laser technology, a microscopic hole is made in the eggshell and the resulting light pattern is then examined and interpreted by scientists. The hole is sealed and the male eggs can then be used for other purposes such as in animal feeds. The technology is projected to be ready for use by 2017.

Sources & further reading:

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

760 comments :

  1. Love this water fountain it would be must!

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  2. Laci Chapman6/5/14, 8:50 PM

    I have the hardest time sexing my chicks..I just leave them be and eventually they reveal themselves! Would love to win a Chicken Fountain..what a great invention!

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  3. Melanie Clark McGaha6/5/14, 8:53 PM

    interesting on sexing... I would love to have the chicken waterer!!

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  4. I would love to have this waterer in my new coop it's awesome! !

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  5. E Hollandsworth6/5/14, 8:56 PM

    WOW.....

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  6. Diane Wing6/5/14, 8:56 PM

    I need to win one of these fabulous fountains!

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  7. Great information! Thank you for sharing it.

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  8. Very interesting read. I love your articles. I learn so much from them.

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  9. I am a new chicken farmer and I have learned so much today just by reading your blog! Thanks you... Just ordered some brooder bottle caps and would love the water fountain!

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  10. That's a nice thought, but in reality, many people who would love to keep a rooster are not allowed to by law. :(

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  11. Rebakah Goodpaster6/5/14, 8:59 PM

    My newly formed flock would enjoy this!

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  12. Tammy davis6/5/14, 9:00 PM

    I would love to have this chicken water fountain.

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  13. Roll With It6/5/14, 9:00 PM

    This is the best article I;ve seen on Sexing chickens THANK YOU!!!

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  14. Great info :)

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  15. Michele Rembish Phillips6/5/14, 9:02 PM

    would love this for my flock!!

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  16. Indefinitely using these in my new coop!

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  17. Amanda Decker6/5/14, 9:02 PM

    Just started my little flock, love the blog! Learned so much already :)

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  18. April Halverson6/5/14, 9:03 PM

    Would Love To Win :)

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  19. Nikki Boyce6/5/14, 9:03 PM

    Interesting. I wonder how you can learn to vent sex?

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  20. I so want this water fountain! Love it!

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  21. Very good information. I always wait until they are a few weeks old and look at the size of their legs and feet compared to all the rest. This has helped greatly determining sex.

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  22. Dawn E. Sarver6/5/14, 9:05 PM

    I alrwady like the chix fountain ive got one and I have subscribe d to your blog so I hope to win it

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  23. There are very few sexing schools left anymore, but if you did some digging, I'm sure you could find one. Again, this is a profession, not a hobby or a technique that can be easily picked up and accurately implemented by watching a video or reading a website.

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  24. Tina Lundy Price6/5/14, 9:05 PM

    I am trying to figure out who is a roo and who will be a hen right now. I have silikies so until one lays an egg I will have to be patient. Lol I also have splash Cochin and Japanese bantams. Two of which started crowing last week at 4 weeks old. I knew they were roosters before though because of the way they carried themselves. Thanks for the tips!!

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  25. Patti Jo Hamilton6/5/14, 9:05 PM

    Oh please oh please! :-) With sugar on top! LOL Great blog post! I have black silkies this run and they were straight run. I was told to vent them but I am a novice at chickens still (1 year in!). I am just gonna wait til their older to see what happens....eggs or crow! Although I think one of my "pullet" Amerucanas might be a male...she/he is questionable. Thanks again for a great blog!

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  26. Wow, thanks Malinda. I put a lot of work into it and I appreciate you saying that!

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  27. Silkies are tough- I have to wait for a egg or a crow before I can tell usually.

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  28. Manuela Wheeler6/5/14, 9:06 PM

    Thanks Kim great info

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  29. Alison Banet6/5/14, 9:07 PM

    Really want this fountain!!!

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  30. Rickreilly6/5/14, 9:07 PM

    Thanks for sharing

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  31. Deirdre Thrash6/5/14, 9:08 PM

    This article is so helpful for someone like myself who is new to backyard chickens! I could really use that awesome chicken fountain for my chickens!

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  32. Kim Duncan6/5/14, 9:08 PM

    I'm getting better at telling the sex but sometimes its so hard to tell. Thanks for the great Info!

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  33. PaintedLady20146/5/14, 9:09 PM

    Great article! It included all of the things I've spent weeks reading. I plan to attempt the guessing game with my new flock next week!

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  34. Yep I need it

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  35. Thanks Tracey! Good luck with it!

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  36. Lyn Dupin Goble6/5/14, 9:12 PM

    My flock would live this

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  37. I've noticed a lot of talk on this subject lately. I guess it's all the spring babies making us impatient to know what we have. Thanks for the expansive look at all the clues.

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  38. I would love one of these waterers!

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  39. Ruby Massey6/5/14, 9:13 PM

    Have 3 chicks all sold as.pullets and got a lovely rooster I loves him anyway

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  40. Zane Bielenberg6/5/14, 9:13 PM

    Would live this fountain

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  41. We just gave our first little flock of nine 3 week old chicks we incubated to a young couple much more well equipped to care for grown chickens than us. They have turkeys, ducks, other chickens... 35 in all! I would love to win this wateter for them. (PS... I tried the wing sexing technique and think I had 5 girls and 4 boys..... time will tell!)

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  42. Alison Brinson6/5/14, 9:16 PM

    My flock needs this!!! I have to refill water tubs twice a day right now!!! This would make life so much easier!!!! :)

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  43. Susan Christensen-Grandy6/5/14, 9:19 PM

    They still keep me guessing until they do the squat!

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  44. Kim Collins Hunt6/5/14, 9:20 PM

    Good info, thanks for sharing!

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  45. Ellen Tuller6/5/14, 9:21 PM

    I guessed that I had a rooster in my sexed pullets. One kept charging and attacking me. Ended up I did have a rooster but it was actually the friendliest one. You just never know. Thank you, for a chance to win the Chicken Fountain I would love to have this.

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  46. Sue Leighton6/5/14, 9:22 PM

    Great blog Kathy!

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  47. Debbie Traynham6/5/14, 9:23 PM

    I hope one of my babies is a rooster bc a raccoon just killed my last one, but I got him and he won't be killing anymore chickens.... smh

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  48. Michelle Terwey6/5/14, 9:23 PM

    Awesome thank you for this information...some of it I already had guessed like the comb and wattle. :D

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  49. Really could use this for my chickens. Hard to keep clean water for them with my set up

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  50. Margaret Gordon-Kovatch6/5/14, 9:25 PM

    Such a nice fountain...so innovative!

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  51. How many times I have tho argue the wing sexing with people is ridiculous thank you for pointing out how foolish it is to trust thought. Just pay the extra dollar for a sexed chick people.

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  52. Sharon Duncan6/5/14, 9:26 PM

    what an informative blog post. I have to tell you watching the video of sexing the chicks was almost painful in the way they were being tossed L and R. Thanks for doing this. And by the way, I hope I win :)

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  53. Rachel J Johnson6/5/14, 9:26 PM

    Enter me please!! :)

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  54. Jeff Houston6/5/14, 9:27 PM

    sure would be nice in my granddaughters chicken pen.

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  55. Allison Traxler Romero6/5/14, 9:28 PM

    I would love to win this fountain! BTW, 2 of the 12 "pullets" I bought a few weeks ago are cockerels. I was already pretty sure they were, but today they started crowing so all doubt went out the window.

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  56. Lenore Fink6/5/14, 9:28 PM

    Great info as usual!!! Love all the help & hard work you do for us!! The fountain would be a great addition to my 6 pullets & 1 cockerel(if I got the info right),lol!! Will be waiting for you to HOPEFULLY draw my name :)

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  57. Peggy Schoenbeck Farley6/5/14, 9:28 PM

    Excellent information! It is unbelievable how many of these I have heard of and do not believe, like the the last 3....wives tales! Thanks!!

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  58. Eva J Hargrave6/5/14, 9:29 PM

    I loved your article on sexing chickens. I agree it is difficult. So I go with when he/she lays an egg or crows. Then you know for sure what you have. I really want to win this water fountain. That would be so awesome to me. TIA. Eva

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  59. Bree Marie6/5/14, 9:30 PM

    I have been trying to figure out how many roosters I have for a month now... Two for sure! I'd love to win this Chicken Fountain!

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  60. Theresa L Roark6/5/14, 9:30 PM

    Really want to try the fountain :)
    I'm still learning my chickens and just enjoying the guessing game :)

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  61. Yvonne Ahlquist6/5/14, 9:31 PM

    great way to keep the water clean.

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  62. Susan Mrenna6/5/14, 9:31 PM

    I saw a new to me method of sexing when I bought my newest batch of chicks. The seller held them with his thumb on the bottom and his fingers over their backs, upright, with the tail towards him. They must have some tail feathers for this to work. He tipped them forward quickly and watched to see if their tails flared up or moved down towards their feet. The chickens were all over a month old and are now 4 months and it looks like he may have given me all females. I bought 8 to allow for some males, but so far, so good :)
    I never saw it before and you did not mention it so thought I would throw it out there.

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  63. Cinda Gillispie Brown6/5/14, 9:32 PM

    My girls need this.

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  64. Elizabeth Lea Barnes6/5/14, 9:32 PM

    great info thanks

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  65. Sarah Krueger6/5/14, 9:32 PM

    Wow, Chicken Chick! I love your blog. You really know your chickens, Chick! ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿ”

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  66. This has to be the best giveaway..I will keep trying! Great info on sexing chicks!

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  67. I guess I lucked out in buying 22 sr chicks and only having one turn out to be a rooster

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  68. Cannot wait to see if my one light brahma is a rooster!!! Thanks for all the wonderful info!

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  69. Shannon Selman Milner6/5/14, 9:34 PM

    I really want one of these waterers!

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  70. Andi Williams6/5/14, 9:35 PM

    Thankfully, my 4 hens were sold to me by an experienced friend. I would love to win this Chiken fountain! It would be a great addition to my coop!

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  71. RichardandLiddi Pate6/5/14, 9:37 PM

    We just wait until they get old enough to tell who goes to the freezer :) I need this water fountain so so so bad :)L

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  72. Darlene Doucette6/5/14, 9:37 PM

    I just wait because comb & wattles give them away soon enough. The alternative is to wait for them to crow or lay an egg.

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  73. MegMillerWrites6/5/14, 9:37 PM

    We had a rooster in our first batch of chicks. I named him Queenie because she (or so I thought) would give me a beady eyed stare. So I can attest to the "attitude" indicator. :D

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  74. Kailyn Wolf6/5/14, 9:38 PM

    Chicken fountain! Awesome! Done and done! I gotta win sometime after entering so many right? :) *fingers crossed*

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  75. Candy Reese6/5/14, 9:39 PM

    I have 2 Easter eggers, only time will tell!

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  76. Liz Carbine6/5/14, 9:39 PM

    Love this article. Had my suspicions about this chick and it was confirmed, tiny Serama roo chick almost nine weeks old. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Udo7C1ivIWg
    I would love this water system! How smart.

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  77. Nicole VanBuren Milton6/5/14, 9:39 PM

    Some people love Facebook I love learning about my chickens!!!!

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  78. Thanks for the great information. Question: I have what we think is a hen EE. I had a rooster from a coworker we were rehoming and he crowed all day. When the roo left, the next day our EE crowed. It only did this that one morning. We haven't heard it since (5 days). What is the possibility that the EE was just imitating the sound from the roo?

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  79. Michelle Dumas6/5/14, 9:45 PM

    Good timing with his one! I feel like everyone here is sitting on eggs. One clutch hatched today and one 2 weeks ago. The last broody is sitting on 7 due next week.

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  80. Annalyn Black6/5/14, 9:45 PM

    I got three chicks- a Welsummer we named Stripe, an (I thought.. but now I'm not so sure) Ameraucauna (sp?) that we named Brown, and a Buff Orpington we call Yellow. We loved Yellow's temperament so much we got another.

    That's when the fun started.. NewGirl was ornery! Jumping on the others, herding them away from us (or so it seemed), all kinds of jumpy and acted afraid of our hands. Then the comb began looking markedly different from Yellow- bigger and brighter. Because of the behavior, we decided the new chick was probably a boy andstarted calling him "Butthead".. yeah, we're creative, I know.

    At 8 weeks, we were finally done with him. Dinner or a new home! We posted him on the local classifieds. A man contacted us and Butthead will now be contributing to the next generation of chicks. Lucky him, right!

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  81. Great info!!! Thank you!

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  82. Diana Goetsch6/5/14, 9:46 PM

    Thank you for the information! I will keep aan eye on my chicks and see who begins to crow!

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  83. just built a hen house sure could use a fine watering system. Thanks for the article.

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  84. Lisa Pavia6/5/14, 9:52 PM

    This waterer is awesome! Would love to win it.

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  85. Great advice on not trying to vent sex at home. I know a woman that has done this for hatcheries and she said that during the learning process, there WERE casualties.

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  86. Sandra Lycans Pitts6/5/14, 9:53 PM

    if at first i dont succeed ill try and try again!!!!

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  87. Sad. Some people can't be reasoned with. :(

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  88. Good info, have 7 at about 3 weeks..........tossing a nickle!

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  89. Karen Morgan6/5/14, 9:55 PM

    Is the vent sexer in the video throwing/ tossing the chicks? It seems like they are treated pretty rough. Am I just not seeing the video clearly? Btw, I'd love to win the fountain for my ladies.

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  90. Kristina Nicole Richardson6/5/14, 9:56 PM

    Lol the last one about hanging them by the fingers I heard the males draw there legs up to fight and the hens submit by hanging their legs....shows how accurate wives tales are lol

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  91. Deanna Tyner Bartlett6/5/14, 9:56 PM

    It's really hot in NC and my chicks sure would appreciate one of these!

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  92. Katrina G. Neal6/5/14, 9:56 PM

    This was a great blog! I just recently had a total of 17 chicks hatched by mama chickens and by incubator and have been wondering what the best methods of sexing was. I actually experimented a little with the egg shape wives tale and had heard the opposite of what you had listed, wanting more hens I hand picked eggs that were more round to place under my broody silkie hen. Much to my amazement and probably a mere coincidence, they all appear to be hens.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your terrific give aways!!

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  93. Andrea Manfredo6/5/14, 9:57 PM

    Great article !

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  94. Becky Wilson Cade6/5/14, 9:57 PM

    Some of my scariest childhood memories came from my grandmother's chicken yard. She used the 2 fingers method to determine the sex of chicks. Swore by it! I was horrified to see the baby chicks dangling there! Another time I was chased and attacked by a really mean rooster. Needless to say, we had that rooster for dinner that night! Again, horrified! It's a wonder I grew up to love raising chickens! As for determining the sex, I just wait till they either crow, or lay an egg! I spend lots of time reading your blog, thanks for keeping it interesting!

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  95. Thanks for the information. We're still guessing on some of our chicks that we got from Tractor Supply. We would love to win the fountain.

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  96. We just got three 1 day old chicks yesterday and I anxious to see if they are all hens. Thanks a bunch for the great info!

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  97. I wasn't certain with mine until he started crowing! I had a pullet with large comb and waffles too, so she had me fooled for a while!

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  98. Sandy B. Hurlbert6/5/14, 9:59 PM

    I'd love a chicken fountain...actually I think the chickens would love it more:)

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  99. Jamie Baker6/5/14, 10:00 PM

    Great article! I love the first picture! Your method of holding a coin next to the chick to show size is very effective. Thanks for sending me here after I asked about my chicks. :)

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  100. Linda J. Walker6/5/14, 10:00 PM

    I have got 10 straight run Buckeyes, about 8 weeks old. Pretty sure there are at least 4 roos. Thanks for the clues.
    They would love a Chicken Fountain!

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  101. Autumn Otts6/5/14, 10:01 PM

    I really really want one! Also what's considered fast and slow feathering breeds?

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  102. Kasi Flores6/5/14, 10:01 PM

    Love the the article! !! Im not very good at sexing chicks. Glad Im not the only one out there with this problem too :)

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  103. Tasha Douda6/5/14, 10:01 PM

    I bought 8 hens and 1 rooster this spring and so far I think they were sexed correctly. However only time will tell!
    I'm currently trying my had at incubation. My husband says I'm acting like I'm about to give birth the way I just sit and watch!

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  104. Kathy Janes6/5/14, 10:01 PM

    All great info but I still have one I'm calling "Pat"...I just don't know. Lol. Waiting for and egg or a crow!

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  105. Tracy Vajda6/5/14, 10:02 PM

    Thanks for the info.

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  106. Linda Kirby6/5/14, 10:02 PM

    It would be handy to be able to sex out the chickens before I get so attached to them!

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  107. Rosemary Conklin6/5/14, 10:03 PM

    Great information!

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  108. Jennifer Hershberger6/5/14, 10:03 PM

    I LOVE it when my little roos begin to crow. Last year's little guys hid in the bushes until they got it right!

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  109. Kim Norris Michel6/5/14, 10:07 PM

    Such wonderful information! Thank you for sharing this!!!

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  110. Yes, that is a vent sexing video.

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  111. Ditto on the try, try again :)

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  112. Another unreliable, inaccurate method.

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  113. Lisa Bennett6/5/14, 10:09 PM

    Love the watering system.

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  114. This would be so handy!

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  115. Jennifer Nyanchini6/5/14, 10:12 PM

    Mine are 14 weeks old. And two of my hens combs are starting to redden. I hope that means they are maturing and will lay soon

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  116. Love this! :D

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  117. I would love this fountain! The only part I don't enjoy about my chickens is constantly carrying a large pail all the way across the lawn everyday!

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  118. Susan Turner6/5/14, 10:14 PM

    Very interesting! I just wait to see if the crown grows faster. It usually works!

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  119. I really enjoyed this tutorial on sexing! Very interesting. Thank you!

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  120. Jennifer Laforest6/5/14, 10:16 PM

    Great article, thanks!

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  121. Denise Smith6/5/14, 10:17 PM

    Ugh. I knew it. I have 2 roos. Out of 10 chicks. Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Lol.

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  122. Tami Blanton Hall6/5/14, 10:17 PM

    Very good timing as I just had my first batch hatch

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  123. Denise Smith6/5/14, 10:18 PM

    Also could use the watering system. ;)

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  124. Would love this!

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  125. That would be so nice for my flock when it gets hot this summer!

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  126. One of our 10 week old Bantams started 'crowing'' today! He was so funny to listen to. Both our bantams look alike (stature and actions) and I could end up with two cockerals! I feel like a new mom. I was so proud of him!

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  127. Lisa Willis6/5/14, 10:20 PM

    I hate the way they vent those poor chicks. Seems a but abrasive. But great article!

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  128. I need one of these my chick's are making a mess in there water.

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  129. I have 10 three week old chicks and at the moment it seems 4 are Roos and 6 are hens but only time will tell if I am right. I am hoping that if I got any wrong it is the Roos they are my favorites and will be sad when I have to get rid of them. Hoping to win :)

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  130. Allen Chapman6/5/14, 10:24 PM

    I think I will just the coin toss a try this time with the eggs I just put in the incubator, see if I can get better than 50/50! But all joking aside, it's getting very hot here in Arkansas, my chickens are starting to go through a lot of water! This watering system would be so helpful.

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  131. would love to get one of these for my girls! thanks for all you do!

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  132. I would love a chicken fountain!

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  133. Love the info on and the watering system

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  134. Denice Spaulding6/5/14, 10:27 PM

    I told my 3 kids that if any of the the chicks turn out to be roosters, then they're dinner. Now they're 8 weeks old and I love them all, so fingers crossed that we have 7 hens!! I could really use the watering system, because I can see a lot of fun, chicken filled years in my family's future!! :)

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  135. Jaimie Lynn6/5/14, 10:28 PM

    This would be perfect!

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  136. Thanks for the info. One of my hens disappeared and I thought I lost her. She showed up 3 weeks later with 11 new baby chicks. Surprise!! I really need this watered. Would love it!!

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  137. Bomb-diggity is right. Still wondering if I have one rooster...so this was very helpful The waterer looks GREAT

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  138. Jenie Benson6/5/14, 10:34 PM

    I love it every time someone comes to buy chicks that I have listed as straight run (under 4 weeks of age) and asks me which ones are hens. I always laugh and say if I knew that at this age, I'd be charging a lot more :) Once had a guy ask me if the ones that grew up to be hens would be layers. Thought that was pretty funny. I was pretty glad he didn't buy any chicks as I am pretty sure he has some more learning to do before he is ready for chickens if he is unaware that ALL hens lay eggs. Ha ha!

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  139. Justin Bruner6/5/14, 10:35 PM

    Nice!

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  140. Veronica L. Minke6/5/14, 10:35 PM

    Great info!

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  141. Cindy Blohm6/5/14, 10:36 PM

    I would love to try this in our new coop

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  142. Vicky Rangel6/5/14, 10:37 PM

    I could really use this waterer. Love your blog. I have new chicks and have no idea how to tell the sex.

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  143. The fountain would be perfect for our Florida chicks! Love all of the information, just earlier today my mom and I were thinking we might have 2 males. The body language suggested it, but I will feel more confident trying to determine the sex now, thank you so much!

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  144. Less messy!

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  145. Tammie Marsh Grant6/5/14, 10:37 PM

    Thanks for the chick sexing info. Very helpful:)

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  146. melissa patterson6/5/14, 10:38 PM

    what a great item!!!!!!!!

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  147. Jodi Dessellier6/5/14, 10:38 PM

    Good tips!! :)

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  148. Sheri Doyon6/5/14, 10:46 PM

    We just put our 3 girls in their coop from the brooder and find that keeping their water clean is nearly impossible... Something like this looks great!!

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  149. Beverly Bebbie Diggs Gerres6/5/14, 10:52 PM

    well now the mystery of my black chick with a white spot on it's head is a barred rock. Wish I had another one to compare the white spot.

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  150. We need this system! :)

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  151. Peggy Denton6/5/14, 11:04 PM

    Interesting stuff. Thanks again, and I would really appreciate that watering system.

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  152. Great article on sexing. Both rounds of sexed chicks I purchased ended up with a roo in them. The barred Rock we could tell because of his head spot and a RIR whose comb is coming up so much faster and darker then the ladies. Thanks for the chance to win the waterer, I would love one of these. My girls make watering a mess

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  153. Wendy Karcher6/5/14, 11:06 PM

    Great blog Kathy. I'm struggling with this problem right now. I can't have Roosters and although I bought what was supposed to be a hen Salmon Faverolles, I've ended up with a dark "smutty" bird that follows no color guidelines. Of course, Im in love with the little stinker! Only time will tell.

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  154. Nicole Kent6/5/14, 11:09 PM

    This is great info! Thank you and I would love to win :)

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  155. Heidi Blake Knepp6/5/14, 11:09 PM

    This would be great for summer!

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  156. Heidi Placanico6/5/14, 11:15 PM

    I think I might give DNA testing a try :) I can't take the suspense anymore!

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  157. Brinda Tillery6/5/14, 11:16 PM

    I had my parrot dna tested at the vet. It wasn't 25 bucks, it was 21 years ago but from what I remember it was expensive and done with a blood sample. I guess they could do that with chicks but it would not be cheap! I'd rather wait a couple of months and keep the $$$ to buy more chickens! LOL

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  158. Cortney-Jeremy Farr6/5/14, 11:17 PM

    So cool

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  159. Cassie Whitmore6/5/14, 11:18 PM

    Thanks for the article, my chickens would love the chicken fountain.

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  160. Caitlyn Ralston6/5/14, 11:19 PM

    I went to a breeder once and got some sizzles and a silkie. She said if you hold a chick by the base of the wing and it pulls it's legs up its a hen and if the legs dangle it's a rooster. She said it was because of the shape of the pelvis. Believe it or not it was accurate. It could have just been a lucky coincidence lol. I'm just glad I got hens :) Anyways I would love this waterer. I just won 15 chicks which will arrive next week so now my flock is up to 50. What can I say? Chicken math happens ๐Ÿ˜‚ lol

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  161. Really need this, fingers crossed!

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  162. Diana Hickman6/5/14, 11:23 PM

    We were just trying to figure out how to make one of those. It would be much better to win one.

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  163. Eilene Corcoran6/5/14, 11:25 PM

    Would love the waterer! :)

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  164. Julie Klaassenvanoorschot-Doug6/5/14, 11:28 PM

    another great article. It is always a gamble with chicks.

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  165. Charlotte22436/5/14, 11:28 PM

    I have two chicks in my current batch that I suspect may be roosters. Your article just strengthens my fears. Changing Louise's name to Louis won't be such a big deal, but does anyone have any suggestions for an alternative to Vivian?

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  166. Great info! Would I've a waterer :)

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  167. Susan M Schmidt6/5/14, 11:31 PM

    love the waterer!

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  168. Impatiently awaiting proof that all my chicks are female. Fingers crossed (but a lingering feeling that the odds are against me). They'll be going out to the coop soon, so this watering system would be a good addition! Thanks for all your helpful information.

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  169. OkieQueenBee6/5/14, 11:35 PM

    We do the ring on a string thing with our chicks, but what works for us is opposite of what you listed. We have pretty close to a 90% accuracy.
    These hot Kansas days sure would make the watering system nice.

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  170. OurNWSimpleLife6/5/14, 11:37 PM

    Thank you for the good info and giveaways!

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  171. Erika Skaggs6/5/14, 11:44 PM

    i want the fountain

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  172. Anita Jo Martin Fields6/5/14, 11:46 PM

    Love the pictures of your chickens!

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  173. Julia Grammer6/5/14, 11:55 PM

    How common is it to get professionally sexed chicks that are sexed wrong? I'm a bit concerned that more than one of my five chicks are roos (sold to me as all pullets). They are only four to five weeks old but a few of them seem to have more roo like characteristics. I'll be so sad if I end up with a bunch of roos! I'm in love with them all already <3

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  174. Mr Alan R. Chase6/5/14, 11:56 PM

    i have used the feather method with white leg horns, partridge plymouth rocks and the Dominique's and so far out of 36 chicks i was wrong on one

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  175. Thanks for the article on how to sex chickens. I'm adding it to my pinterest board.

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  176. CrazyChickenLady :)6/5/14, 11:58 PM

    Love the watering system. Thanks for the info

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  177. Catherine Earley6/5/14, 11:59 PM

    Think you for the info! I would love clean water for my girls!

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  178. Kelley Graham6/6/14, 12:00 AM

    Great information on sexing, love the fountain!!

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  179. Jeanetta A Bean6/6/14, 12:07 AM

    Absolutely LOVE the Idea of this! Is this ideal for someone who has multiple breeding pens? Im out of town usually a few days a week and I have to have someone come water daily... would this help me eliminate the need to have someone over on a daily daily basis?
    Thanks.

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  180. Christine Clark6/6/14, 12:08 AM

    I need something like this.

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  181. I am such an obedient blogger, I must comment in addition to giving rave to the sponsor for the goodies!
    Cheers,
    izzi~avis

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  182. Irene Craft6/6/14, 12:14 AM

    Great info, great giveaway! The vent sexing video really surprised me...wow

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  183. Would love to win the awesome chicken fountain!! :-) Thank you for writing such amazing blogs!

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  184. Diana Netland6/6/14, 12:22 AM

    This was very interesting. I have gotten my girls from a lady who knows how to sex the chicks as long as they are not older than 4 days. She is very accurate. Has been doing it for years. Done by the feather one you mentioned here. She loves all her birds and if she gets a lot of roosters she has a friend who has a 350 acre farm and takes them to her. Thank you for all the information. The watering system would work out well out here where it gets to be 114

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  185. would help me out alot...ty for all the info

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  186. Love this system!

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  187. Ellen Belshin6/6/14, 12:29 AM

    I so need this wateting system!

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  188. Just purchased one

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  189. I would love one. What about the hat in the middle trick. I read it in a book. you put the chicks out on the floor, wait about a minute for them to spread and then drop a hot in the middle of them. The hens are suppose to put their heads down and a rooster puts his head up in the air.

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  190. Thank you for all the educational information on sexting a chicken. Did it look like those workers were just dropping those chicks into the funnel. Poor little things

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  191. Tommye Marion6/6/14, 12:35 AM

    Would love to win. Love the info. Thanks so much.

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  192. Thank you for the information!! I have a few chicks I'm curious to check out more tomorrow!!!

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  193. What a great item for giveaway.

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  194. Gidget Long Laiche6/6/14, 12:42 AM

    Love this watering system my chicks water stays with mud in it from scratching.

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  195. Chicks entering the run for the first time tomorrow based on your advice. Thanks for all you do for this community!

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  196. Shelby Hill6/6/14, 12:52 AM

    Would love to get rid of my traditional waterer!!!

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  197. Great info.

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  198. Constance Friend6/6/14, 1:12 AM

    This would be amazing to have up here in Eastern WA where we have so many hours of hot sun in summer.

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