We thought we had it sussed, well nearly. There were a few of our chickens that had developed a nice comb and wattles and we decided they must be male. Two males were kept so we can grow more chicks next year and three were dispatched, only when it came to processing them, we discovered that one was not a male as we thought it was definitely female with many eggs at various stages of development. So how do you tell male from female? Is there a surer way than comb and wattle development?
Missed this, I'm late..........
Well Jo......this is a difficult one ! Even after keeping chickens for years I sometimes get it wrong. I can usually see the difference for about 2 days after they hatch.....then it becomes very difficult until they come into their plumage. I was once told by an old timer that he just waited till they crowed or laid !!
Jan is right about the legs, you are supposed to be able to tell by the shape of the feathers, the way they stand....boys stand more upright & stick their chests out & girls are lower to the ground. Oh there is also the shape of their tails. I think you have to know the look of your breeds really well too.
Try reading this on an American poultry forum I belong to.....it will keep you entertained, at least but there is sense in there too. They used to have a thread where you sent in photos of chickens you needed to know the sex of.....I don't know if they still do it. Jo, this forum is so useful as they have members from all over the world, with lots of experience in poultry keeping. It is really worth joining. I learnt so much from them over the years.
"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."
from Les Miserables
Thanks Hattie, that was a bit of a laugh. I did go to that site when we began to wonder which was which but as your link showed, no one really has a fail safe answer anyway.
So in short we still have to wait until they crow or lay an egg. One of them is very actively crowing now and hopefully he is in an ark with 5 ladies. Another chicken also seemed to be crowing a bit, although I haven't heard that one and Ian says he sounds like he has a sore throat. I guess we just have to keep waiting to see if the suspect ones we still have turn out to crow or not. Both look a bit like a speckled sussex, one more so than the other and wonder if that might be the problem, maybe the hens have a bit more of a comb than other breeds, it looks like it in the pictures.
I shall have to take another look at the feathers then Seth, not really noticed much difference really.
The main problem is that winter has set in here and we didn't really want to keep on feeding cockerels and one of the arks is not suitable in the greenhouse as it doesn't breathe well, being made of OSB, the others are proper wood constructions. They have to be in the greenhouse as it is now too cold outside and too draughty. Next year we will try and make sure that we have eggs started earlier in the year and so we can know for certain earlier in the year.
I have mostly buff Orpingtons and the males develop more gingery feathers. My chick that hatched in May I had thought female but the ginger feathers appeared a few weeks ago and she is now for certain a he! When I bought my two Muscovy ducklings from a market I asked for female and was assured they were. They are! I have given up trying to work it out, they are what they are. So far I have 3 boys and 9 girls which is fine. The ducks are a trio of Muscovy, 2 girls and 1 boy, the Rouen ducks are 3 boys and 4 girls. Whatever!
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