The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Sexing the bantam eggs: results of the ring test on the clutch of mixed bantam eggs

Beatyl and Dixie. Bantam chicks playing in the runI must admit that I felt quite confident about the ring test on the lucky dip bantam hatching eggs that we bought on eBay. The ring test predicted that Dixie and Beatyl would be female chickens. But there has always been something about Beatyl Chick. A certain Tyrone Power swagger and adventurous approach to life in the Emerald Castle and grounds.

Last week a teeny mound of feathers appeared on Beatyl’s rump. Hens do have tail feathers too, I reassured myself. Within days these feathers had elongated and a tiny ridged crest appeared on Beatyl’s head.

“I’ve a strong hunch that Beatyl is a young cockerel.”
Danny looked alarmed.
“How long before we know for sure?”
“Does this mean that the ring test was wrong and dowehavetoeathim? Did you do the test properly and how about Dixie?”

Dixie is showing no physical male characteristics. She is twice the size of Beatyl and like most big sisters, she is putting young Beatyl through his paces. They play and spat all day. Dixie is more self contained, staying within reach of Mrs Boss. Even though Beatyl has independent projects he is the first to shriek and run for the cover of a maternal wing when I open the door and clatter about in the run.

The ring test had a 50/50 chance of success. I’d do it again if I got a mixed batch of eggs even if it’s just for fun.

Studying chicken breeds on the Internet, I think that he might be a Sebright, possibly a mix. He’s developing black, silver and tan feathers. The tiny egg that he hatched from was just marked with a mysterious S. So we just have to be patient until he has developed enough feathers to match him to a breed.

We are not planning to eat Beatyl even if my suspicions are correct. The moment when I opened the side of the Emerald Castle and saw him standing there softened the grief of burying Great Aunt Daisy Beatyl. Here was a new small life, contained in half an eggshell and yelling for attention. If Mrs Boss hadn’t rushed to comfort him I would have reached in and held him close.

That night Danny turned over.
“Perhaps being very small, his crow will be diminutive.”
“If it’s a piercing call. We could make him a run, nearer the house and away from the neighbours.”
“Then he’d wake us up.”
“I wouldn’t mind.”
“Nor would I.”
“He would need a handful of girlfriends to keep him company.”

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  1. Oh, I would love to raise chickens, as I believe my Old English Game may have some broody tendencies. Today something rather funny happened-my large cat was lurking around my chicken coop, so I decided to prove to her that she didn’t want to be anywhere near my bantys. I opened the door to the coop so that my very tame (and also cowardly) rooster could scare her away. Well, the cat was practically inside the chicken yard before the rosster gave a weak little peck to her side. Suddenly I heard my Old English Game bantam, who is 12 pounds lighter than my cat, come charging towards Kitty. My little banty had all her feathers puffed out, her tail fanned out and her wings out from her sides. She was ready to give that stranger a piece of her mind! The cat, who is normally a fierce creature, ran in terror from this little bird. It was quite amusing! However, my chicken has never tried to attack me. She is very tame, but also very fearless, whcih I hope will not get her in trouble!

  2. Am longing for chickens and just looking at your chicken blogs makes me yearn even more! Have a smallish town garden…do you ever have a problem with rats/mice, it is the only thing putting me off, that and the cost of the run and chicken coop!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jo

    We smiled when we read your comment. Let’s hope that he’s a late riser.

    Hello kinkyjinks

    Yes exactly the same as the normal odds! Thanks for leaving a comment.

    Hi Pat

    Fingers crossed that it will all work out well.

    Hi Belinda

    Keeping chickens is such a joy. Really pleased that you are enjoying the chicken posts.

    Hope that your new hens lay with splendid abandon.

    Hi Pamela

    Don’t even mention two cockerels. I think that Dixie Chick is a girl but it’s early days…

  4. Hello Fiona

    I’m so glad that you are not going to stick Beatyl in the pot. I’m sure you’ll find a way to keep him and the neighbours happy. Dixie Chick is looking on good form too. Good job the prediction was accurate for her as with two cockerels, one would surely have had the chop!

  5. Lovely post, Im new to this chicken keeping business, so especially love your posts regarding the emerald castle & chicken run.
    We plan on buying 2 new chickens (POL’s)next month.

  6. Awwwww Fiona. Glad you plan to keep him I am sure he will be a lovely little chap.

  7. kinkyjinks

    I’m one of those lurkers who have read your blog with interest almost daily since I found it a few months ago. Thought I’d comment that a 50/50 chance is the same as the normal odds of giving birth to a male or female ;o) Keep baking.

  8. Hi i’m jo, i’ve not commented before but i’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I’m so glad you’re going to keep him, its always good to have an excuse for more chickens/roosters. 🙂 his colouring is very pretty, and you never know he might be a late riser.

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