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Saturday, May 15, 2010

ROOSTER?!?!!?

by Megan

Here are 6 of my 8 chicks a few days after I picked them up from the local feed store.

Aren't they sweet? This was 7 weeks ago and my chicks are really beginning to look like pullets. Every couple days I like to remark to myself, “My, how big those little ladies are getting.” Yesterday though when I opened the coop I found myself saying to one hen in particular, “My how big YOU are getting! What a big red comb you have...” Then a long pause. “What a really big waddle you have! Hmm...”



So the obvious question of the day is, is my she a he? Is one of my hens a rooster? Here is the low down, the skinny, the scoop – and then you make the decision. She/he is somewhere around 7 weeks old, the same breed, an Australorp, as the other pictured and purchased on the same day. The feed store, like most, does not guarantee the sex of the chicks but I wasn't worried because they were supposed to be female chicks. BUT her/his comb is considerably larger than the other pullet pictured, don't you think? And I've noticed white tips coming at the end of the wing feathers. That seems troublesome as well. One thing to consider is that I didn't notice the comb in particular a few days ago so perhaps those combs grow quickly and perhaps the other pullet is just a few days younger. What do you think? Do I have a Rooster on my hands?



And if I DO have a rooster on my hands...what then? I live in a home that I don't even own, on a lot that is a postage stamp as it gets, and she is one of 8 hens. I have heard of roosters that don't call so if that were the case I would keep the guy around. But if it calls, do I sell him? Do I eat him? I certainly can't keep him, right?

Go and vote (the poll on the right)  on whether you think this chicken is a future hen or rooster and then leave a comment and tell me what you think I should do!

14 comments:

Mountain Home Quilts said...

Some hens just have a lot of red. 4 of our BO chicks have very small, pinkish combs while 1 has a large RED one - she's a hen though.
I always tell by the tail feathers- if they start to curl then it's a rooster. If they stay straight it's a hen. That's my early tell tale sign.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up your hopes for a hen yet. I have found great variation within my heavy breed chicks in the past. As long as the tail doesn't start to curl, and/or you hear crowing, you probably just have a faster growing hen.

Anonymous said...

I have raised black austrolorps and have seen great variation in the rate of growth between birds. You may just have a faster growing hen. Hang in there until the feathers curl (bad news--that makes it a rooster) or it crows. Good luck!

Farmgirl Cyn said...

The crowing will be definite sign, for sure!!! When we got our last batch of chickens, 3 of them were roosters! YIKES! Can't have that! So, hubby butchered 2 of them. He'd never done it before, but we had no choice. They'd kill each other! No....you definitely can't keep him if it turns out he's a rooster. Cause the crow. And it's not just when the sun rises. They crow all day, off and on. They crow in the middle of the night if something startles them. They crow just for the heck of it! But...they DO make a great chicken stock!!!

Kate and Crew said...

I say it's too early to tell. I have three hens and my BR went red really early with quite an impressive comb and wattle. I was so worried. Then all the hens ended up evening out and were indeed girls - although she does have the brightest comb and wattle out of the bunch.

mike said...

Pretty Birds. Is there anything cuter than baby chicks?

MAYBELLINE said...

This is great information as I'm trying to decide on having some chickens. I'm leaning towards "no" for now.

~liz said...

it's true that even the "lady layers" get waddles and combs - our buff orpingtosn and silver laced wyandottes all had combs and waddles early on (and still do - although they are still small even though the hens are 3 years old!). now all of them have them, and we still have all hens!

Brandi said...

I remember the first time I had chickens, everyone that saw them kept remarking on one of the chickens that was much more decorative than the others. I really thought nothing of it. Besides the chicken's color being brighter, it looked the same as the others; comb and all. But, my first indication was how quickly this chicken was climbing up the pecking order. First, there was clearly a "leader" and then here was this other chicken taking lead all of the sudden. And...then I heard the crow. I think that's the only sure way to know!

Anyway, I sold him to a man who had hundereds of chickens and only wanted one rooster for the lot. I'm sure he is one happy rooster now! (I had no problem selling him! I was getting phone calls like crazy!)

Leigh said...

I usually start looking at for saddle feathers... the feathers on the back will start to get long and pointed. We also look for the tail feathers to curl but typically the first sign on our Marans and Orpingtons have been watching the saddle feathers come in. Also No worries as far as the comb and wattles... One of our first hens had large bright combs and wattles before the rest. We worried ourselves over her... She was our first layer. Good Luck! ;)

Deanna said...

Relax. I have 2 Black Australorps that looks exactly like your chicken in question. I do know that they are hens. Don't be suprised if SHE turns out to be leader of the pack.

Amy @ Homestead Revival said...

You'll know when he crows! There is no doubt when you hear that sound. You might try to sell him, but if there are no takers, eat him while he's young and not too tough. Maybe Dale would take him?

Nishant said...

Pretty Birds. Is there anything cuter than baby chicks?
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mommyk said...

I had chicks a few years back and there was a rooster in the mix. A farmer friend of mine told me you can tell by looking at their legs, the rooster's were significantly thicker and longer. It might be an old wive's tale, but it worked for me!