View Full Version : First time chicken owner needs help...

May. 19, 2012, 08:50 PM
So about 1+ week ago, someone dumped 8 chicks on me. They are now 4 weeks old. How do you know if there are any roosters in the flock??? I think one of them crowed tonight, but maybe it was my tired eyes imagining things...

The town forbids roosters, so if any are in fact roosters, they have to go to the local farm! :no:

May. 19, 2012, 09:28 PM
No easy answer for that. I have two breeds, Buff Orpingtons and Saipan Jungle Fowl. The Buff Orpingtons are really hard to visually sex until they are considerably older several months as both sexes have have a comb. The Saipans are distinctly different and you can tell sexes very early on but 4 weeks is still too soon. You should not have to worry for several months.

Even for those of us who can keep Roosters; it does not work to have too many. I keep two roosters and have about 10 hens. Honestly, the hens will get momicked from the overly amorous roosters if you have too many Roos.

May. 19, 2012, 09:40 PM
Many modern breeds have been developed to tell at about the 4-6 week age by the development of the back feathers. Generally (!) hens develop adult-like feathers around this time down the middle of their back, roos still have more baby-like fuzz.

May. 19, 2012, 09:52 PM
An expert chicken-person might be able to sex them for you, or an avian vet. Or just wait and see! :) Feed them up . . . by 4-5 months the roosters will probably declare themselves and that is the perfect age to make dinner out of them. ;)

May. 19, 2012, 10:27 PM
If there are roosters, they will generally be a little bigger than the others. I've never had one crow that early but I suppose it's possible.

May. 19, 2012, 10:47 PM
We have 9 Brahmas and have no idea what we have for boys and girls. First-timers here, too. My husband thinks he can tell by the difference in length of their tail feathers. That's today-tomorrow he will have a new technique. :yes:

May. 19, 2012, 10:49 PM
Go to www.backyardchickens.com that is a great website. I seriously doubt that at 4 weeks any of them would crow. It is nearly impossible to sex them at this point, there are all the feather "tricks", but to be honest, it is a wait till they are about 4-5 months and when you REALLY hear one crow, then you have a roo.

We have 26, all hatched out a week or so before Easter. Most of mine were supposed to be pullets (hens), but there is a slight chance I have a roo in the batch. Afterall, ALL of mine were SUPPOSED to be egg layers, yet somehow we ended up with a BROILER... poor Bertha is HUGE in comparrison to all the other chicks - as in easily 3-4 times the size and 5x in weight. Genetic engineering at it's finest ;-(

Derby Lyn Farms
May. 19, 2012, 11:13 PM
Do you have pics you can post?

May. 20, 2012, 01:56 AM
The breed can make a huge difference in when they mature.

Our rooster, Russell Crowe, masqueraded as a pullet for several months...we just thought he had big feet or was an East German swimmer. He finally aroused our suspicions when he started humping the others, and totally outed himself when he crowed.

We brought home our latest pullets late this spring, and one of the Wellsummers quickly showed himself to be a cockerel at 8 weeks when he precociously challenged Russell Crowe to a fight through the fence, even though Russell dwarfed him. Baby roo even did the rooster matador dance. He went to a new home before Russell could kill him.

May. 20, 2012, 05:52 AM
4 weeks is waaaaay too early to tell unless you have a sexlinked breed & can tell by color.
I agree with those saying 4-5 months will tell you for sure.
Look for:
1 - a more upright posture than the rest
2 - thicker legs

cloudy18: tell DH: Nope - tailfeathers won't tell you when they are so young & sometimes pullets can sport some "manly" tailfeathers.
One of my Black Stars had a mini roo-tail for almost a year.

May. 20, 2012, 12:56 PM
Here is the little chickie....


I dont have a clue about what breeds i have. I'm lucky I know they are chickens! ;)

You think my horse vet sex them???

May. 20, 2012, 02:19 PM
Kiwayu, I would say it's not a problem until it is. They can hardly come down on you for having a rooster until it crows. You're hardly breaking the law if you can't tell the sex.

For now, I would just enjoy your babies. If he is indeed a he, he'll likely exhibit more rooster behavior before he actually crows, and you can deal with it then. We put an ad on Craigslist and the baby roo was spoken for within half an hour.

May. 20, 2012, 03:01 PM
Obviously, chicks can be sexed, because our Co-op only sells female chicks. They seem to have been accurate, at least as far as all of the ones I know about, lol. We watched a Dirty Jobs episode where the job was chick sexer, and they said the guy was 98% accurate. Of course, all that said, I don't know how they do it, and these are just hatched chicks, not four week olds.

May. 20, 2012, 03:54 PM
You have to examine them "down there". It's do-able, but apparently it is just slightly less than obvious. :lol:

May. 20, 2012, 05:02 PM
I agree with Susanne: you really don't need to look for problems..they have already found you or you wouldn't have all those baby chicks in the first place. I would enjoy them while they are amusing...the rooster(s) will out himself (themselves) with time and then you will know what to do. Since the chicks were dumped on you in the first place, it would be beyond unreasonable to throw you in the slammer for rooster aiding and abetting...