Monthly Archives: January 2011

Too Many Roosters and Sexing Chicks

The only bad part about hatching out chicks is you have a 50/50 chance of winding up with roosters.  Buying chickens at age 6 months, guarantees you end up with a hen.   Or you can buy day- old chicks from a hatchery but you often have to buy at least 25.

A Craigslist contact I made sells her day old chicks straight run.  That means she doesn’t sex them for you.  You pay the money and may end up with all roosters.   It doesn’t matter to some people because they eat the roosters but I just can’t do that.  It is a messy,  smelly job and my husband says he doesn’t want to do it either.

So I have been researching how to sex the chicks.  You have to do it within a couple hours of their hatching.   You can go on U-tube and see videos of feather sexing and vent sexing.

The vent sexing is gross.  You squeeze the chicks butt to remove any poop in the area and then you can see inside the vent to look for the bump that indicates it is a male.  It says the vent with be shiny and have a bump.  The female vent is dull and no bump.  I would be afraid I would squeeze the poor little chick and hurt it.

The other option is feather sexing.  The primary wing feathers are the ones that are farther away from the body.  If the feathers look like toothpicks (pin feathers) then it is a male.  If the primary feathers have fluffy feathers on the ends of the toothpick-looking feathers, then it is a female.  Again, look at the U-tube videos for more details.

I guess there are a lot of things you can learn from specific breeds, too.  Barred Rock roosters have a yellow spot on their head and have lighter colored legs.  The hens of this breed have darker bodies and darker legs.  They have a white spot on their head, too.  I guess it is just a lighter color spot.

There is just so much information on the web.  Can you imagine if we actually had to go to the library and look this stuff up or buy books?