So you finally got yourself a flock of backyard chickens. What a great feeling, fresh eggs every day — but wait, will you get fresh eggs? Are your chicks female? How can you tell? Don't worry, it's a question countless backyard chicken newbies have asked before. Here's the skinny on your new flock's sex.
Common Ways To Sex Chickens
If you're looking for hens to lay eggs than straight run chicks can be tricky. A straight run chicken means the sex is unknown. That can be a problem if you don't want to end up with a flock of roosters. Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to figure out the sex of your chicks.
Vent sexing is complicated and mostly done by trained professionals in large hatcheries. It requires looking for the male reproductive organ by expelling feces and examining the inner parts.
A much easier way than venting, feather sexing won't work on all breeds. When chicks are moved to the brooder, a female's wings will be more visible and vary in length. The male's wings will be around the same size from one feather to the next.
Sex Link Breeding
This technique has been around for years and involves determining the sex based on the down color. While not applicable to all breeds, and usually only working on first-generation sex links, this method is successful in certain breeds with defining patterns and characteristics.
If you can wait for the chicks to grow a bit, you may be able to determine sex by their behavior traits. Males may act more dominant and ruffle their feathers while standing upright. Females are more passive and tend to hover in corners when confronted with human interaction.
While some of these methods are more foolproof than others, determining the sex of chicks can be a complicated process. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to watch the chick grow.
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