Someone asked me how I could tell my chicky boys from the chicky girls…
I’m going to say ‘Boy’ – cocky strut, big red comb and wattles, walking around looking like he’s running the place.
And for this one – ‘Girl’. Hardly any comb or wattles showing. Soft face. Not standing as tall. Just walking around looking for food.
And that’s at about 6 weeks, they’ve just feathered out. I think not all breeds are as clear cut as these two make it look, and there are more roosters in this group who just aren’t developed enough to tell yet, but I can definitely tell on some of them already, and I have a whole bunch of suspicions about the rest.
This is one of the 11 week old chicks I kept, because I’m pretty sure it’s a hen. The boys all had a LOT more red and comb development.
Eventually the girls do develop a nice comb and wattles (the stuff hanging down). This is my adult hen, the only one who’s giving me eggs right now.
This is ‘Beautiful’, my oldest hen – I don’t know how old she is, but she was already laying when I got her last year. I think she might be done. I was told their combs lose their color when they’re done laying. Look at these two side by side:
Big difference in color! They used to be the same, in fact I could only tell them apart by personality. Either way I’m pretty sure she’s not laying. However she’s safe from the stewpot because she’s very sweet, and she always comes up to the fence to get treats, and follows me around when I’m in the orchard making cute ‘watcha doin?’ noises.
This is the only rooster I kept out of the batch of 11 week old chicks. He’s Penny’s baby, so he has feathered feet, and a rounder, heavier body like a cochin. In this picture he’s busy working over the windfall pears. You can see how he has a more developed comb than the 11 week old hen a couple pictures back (though considerably less than his pure Buff Orpington brothers had). Also when he’s walking around he walks real tall and acts like a rooster. He’s half Buff Orpington, so he might just be taller and lankier than a cochin anyway. It will be interesting to see what he looks like as he matures.