I think one of our "Hens" is a rooster -how can I tell?

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We got six "red cross" chicks (Rhode Island Red cross?) in early April. Five of them are rust colored, but one is white with a brown back and is a bit bigger than the others, seems the dominant one, and seems to crow a bit. I know hens will do this...I don't see spurs but there are small "buds" where they might be. But it seems the hens have these, too. And finally, husband noticed this white one mounting on of the hens today. So the question is, can we be sure this is a rooster? Do hens ever mount each other? When do spurs develop? (they are about 3+months old now.

-- Christina (introibo2000@yahoo.com), July 14, 2001


Don't feel bad Christina,we entered our rooster in the fall fair as a pullet.You enter a trio,two hens and a rooster,well we entered two roosters and a hen!Well thank God the old wonderful man we bought them off,(who had taught us everything we knew about chickens except how to sex'em~!)was the barn steward for the poultry building,he plucked out the second roosters tail feathers and he passed as a hen! You can only do that when they are very young.I dunno I think you may have to wait until he crows!!

-- teri (mrs_smurf2000@yahoo.ca), July 14, 2001.

Cristina, by 3+ months, a rooster's comb and wattles will be considerably larger than the hens'. Also except for the "hen- feathered" breeds, you will notice the feathers on his neck, the hackles, will be longer, narrower and pointed, while the hens' will be rounded at the ends. Until they are much older, you can't really tell by the spurs, as the pullets have little nubs too.

Have you noticed a noise like a rusty hinge coming occasionally from their pen? If you do, that could be a young rooster finding his crow. It's a sound that really amuses our company (okay, I think it's funny too!) but they only do it a short time until they develop an honest to goodness crow.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), July 15, 2001.

We are in the same predicament. We purchased 6 barred rock, one of which I think may be a rooster. His comb is bigger as is his body and his feathers are lighter than the others. I was going to post this today when I found this post. I will wait for him to crow and dig out my poultry book. This is our first year with barred rock for egg laying, and our third for meat birds. Never had to worry about sexing until now. Any comments are definitely appreciated. I wish I could help you Christina.thanks everyone for your input.

-- JoAnn in SD (jonehls@excite.com), July 15, 2001.

Hens will occassionally mount, to show dominance. But if it is starting to crow, it's a rooster. Roosters of the same age and breed will have the darker, more pronounced combs by this age as well, and may be getting the beginnings of rooster tail feathers.

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), July 15, 2001.

Thanks for your replies. Glad to see I'm not the only one who has been confused. I think this guy has found his hormones, because this morning he was REALLY crowing, almost like a full grown rooster, unlike the howling sound he'd made before.

-- Christina (introibo2000@yahoo.com), July 15, 2001.

We have a mystery chicken that came with a batch of Aracanas. It looks like a cross between an Aracana and something else. We also don't know what sex it is. It looks sort of like a rooster but acts like a hen. I guess we'll know when it either crows or lays an egg!

-- Bonnie (stichart@plix.com), July 17, 2001.

i have what i think is two rooster one that crows and mounts the hens and one that kinda just does nothing could this be the effect of some dominece thing any help is apreciated

-- drew (ata1hunt@aol.com), August 20, 2001.

Here is how to sex a baby chicken. Hold a chick in your right hand. Examine its wing and see two rows of "canes". They look like tiny tubes from which feathers are beginning to emerge. If the feathers in the front row--closest to the bird's body--are shorter than those in the back row, it is a pullet. If the rows are the same height or the front row is taller, it is a cockerel. This method works every time.

-- ella howard (howard1@webworkz.com), October 26, 2001.

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