So you might have a batch of newly-hatched chicks, however don’t know whether or not they’ll turn out to be hens or roosters. Whereas it’s straightforward to inform the distinction between the 2 when mature chickens strut throughout your yard, it’s practically unattainable to determine the gender—in any other case often known as sexing—of a younger chick. You gained’t be capable of decide with certainty whether or not they’re cockerels (male chickens underneath one yr previous) or pullets (feminine chickens underneath one yr previous) till they’re at the least 16 weeks previous. Right here’s what to search for as your chicks mature.
In fact, whether or not or not a rooster lays eggs is the apparent option to inform whether or not you might have a hen or rooster. However a hen doesn’t begin laying eggs till it’s round six months previous, so that you’ll have to have a look at different bodily traits to determine the rooster earlier than then.
The comb is the fleshy crimson crest on prime of a rooster’s head. Each sexes have them, however as cockerels mature, they may have bigger, brighter and extra pronounced combs than the pullets. Roosters will even have bigger wattles. That is the elongated fleshy pores and skin that hangs underneath the beak and helps chickens keep cool throughout hotter climate.
There are numerous feathers on a rooster that may enable you decide whether or not you might have a hen or a rooster. Neck feathers, referred to as hackle feathers, are rounder and shorter on a hen. On a rooster, they’re longer and pointier. Totally different breeds have various tail feathers, however roosters will at all times have pointier, longer and showier tail feathers, typically with a number of completely different colours. Roosters have lengthy saddle feathers, which develop on their again down towards their tail. By the point the chook is about three months previous, cockerels may have lengthy and pointed saddle feathers. The pullets, in the meantime, may have rounded ones.
Roosters have extra stamina and power than feminine chickens. Hens are usually extra timid, whereas roosters are at all times extra assertive. Roosters are usually bossy, even once they’re younger. As they become old, you’ll discover that roosters start to problem one another, elevating their hackle feathers. Plus, they crow the morning cock-a-doodle-do!
The final attribute that can assist you determine the distinction between hens and roosters is their leg dimension. Male chickens may have thicker legs than the females. In some breeds, roosters develop pointed, sharp spurs on their legs simply above their toes. At six months previous, a rooster’s spurs shall be lower than a 3rd of an inch lengthy. As they age, spurs can develop to succeed in greater than an inch in size. Roosters use spurs to defend themselves. This may be harmful, significantly if it’s an aggressive rooster. Fortunately, there are protected methods to take away them.