Boy or girl?

[Update 4 months later: You can ignore everything in this blog post. I checked and rechecked with official sources and it should have been correct. But I ended up with FIVE roosters, no hens, again. Maybe feather sexing doesn’t work for White Orpingtons. I give up.]

I’m going to make a bold prediction and publicly post it!  Normally, I would call this “sexing chicks” but after googling that phrase for research and becoming instantly traumatized, I have renamed it “assigning gender to hatchlings”.

Here is my official declaration for the gender of my peeps… 4 girls and 1 boy….YAY!!!!!!!

I hope I’m right!

Last year I tried sexing by wing feather but they all looked the same so I thought I couldn’t tell the difference. Well, 4 months later it was obvious I had ALL roosters explaining why I couldn’t see any difference!  Today I saw a difference.

And I’m going to show you how to do it, in case you ever find yourself in need of this particular skill :-).

Here is a little girl. Notice the pins of her feathers are staggered long and short:

This is (supposed to be) a boy. See how the pins are all the same length:

This method of “assigning gender”only works for the first 24 hours and then, due to feather growth, becomes unreliable. So, if I got this right that is 4 hens and 1 roo–I am so excited because we have been rooster-heavy for so long.  Well, check back in 4 months and see how I did!

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9 Responses to Boy or girl?

  1. Glory Lennon says:

    That is a nifty way to see the difference. I do so hope you are right. You don’t need another rooster!

  2. Fran Kocher says:

    I am learning so much from you, Julie!! Mostly about YOU!

  3. Laura says:

    How about that. Wonder why they would have that differing? In African Grey parrots, you can tell by getting the DNA out of a blood sample. Some birds are very secretive even when they grow up.

  4. Cylly says:

    Thank you for sharing! I hadn’t heard of that way before. I’ve only seen when they get a little bigger and they have a more developed comb = roo. But I know they ship chicks as hens or Roos at a day old so this method makes sense. Learn sumpin’ new every day!

    • Julie Helms says:

      Commercial hatcheries use either this method or the method where they look up the back end right after hatching. Apparently each method works better with different breeds and some breeds cannot be sexed at all so are sold as straight run.

  5. Mandy says:

    Congrats on the girlies!
    So do you have to wait a whole 4 months before you know for sure?
    The kiddos were wondering what your mortality rate for chickies that you’ve homegrown is?
    ……Well, they didn’t exactly phrase the question that way…mom rewrite.
    LOL

    Interesting article I found when I was looking up, “sexing chicks.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2000/03/doyle.htm
    …..It’s a biographical story about a man who worked as a chicken sexer for 60 years! He said that at one point he could sex 1500 turkeys in one hour with a 99% accuracy rate.
    😮 Amazing!

    • Julie Helms says:

      Fascinating story, Mandy. He wasn’t feather sexing, he was doing the other kind. Apparently the Japanese have made a whole industry of it and train people how to do it then send them out across the world.

      As for you inquisitive children… sometimes you can lose a few chicks if you order them by mail and they get chilled on the trip. But if you hatch them yourself, that doesn’t happen. If they hatch fine, then they survive– none die. The tricky part is getting out of the shell, then it’s all smooth sailing! I do give them feed treated for coccidia, the most common killer of chicks, though I have never experienced it.

      Once they are older and in the coop as young adults, they do have other risks like predators or disease. I lost half a coop once to something pneumonia-like. But these weren’t babies.

  6. Instantly traumatized … lol. That happened to me a while back, now I am careful what I type in for search phrases. I hope 4 chicks and 1 roo is correct. If so, your spring roosters did well!

  7. Looks good, Julie, i hope you’re right! I’ll have to keep that method in mind should I ever get some chickens that lay eggs and if there’s a rooster around and if he’s virile ready and mature, and if the weather is just right and we remember to check out those pinfeathers early enough….hehe….maybe I should stick to oak trees..”:)

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