Comb dimension and redness might be one indicator, however shouldn’t be normally dependable. In reality, it is one of many worst indicators you need to use, as comb dimension varies by breed and even particular person. As an illustration, one among my hens has a bigger comb than any of her sisters of the identical breed, and a bigger comb than any of my roosters, too.
When sexing most juveniles, the most effective, most fail-safe technique is to have a look at the saddle feathers in entrance of the tail when the fowl is about three months old. By that age, cockerels may have lengthy and pointy saddle feathers, whereas a hen’s shall be rounded.
Check out this rooster’s saddle feathers. See how lengthy and thin and pointy they’re?
Here is a detailed up of the feathers in a rooster’s saddle. They’re golden on this picture:
These saddle feathers begin coming in at about three months. (The shiny, black, curving feathers are the sickle feathers that seem a bit later and might get fairly lengthy in some breeds.) Hens simply do not have these skinny saddle feathers in entrance of their tails–their feathers are extra rounded–and they do not have lengthy, skinny sickle feathers, both.
The hackle feathers, or the feathers across the neck, are totally different in hens and roosters, too. Once more, rooster hackles are longer and pointier.
However do not be fooled. Hen hackles can look slightly pointy, too. Nevertheless they are not as skinny or so long as rooster feathers. Take a closeup take a look at hen hackles:
Now this is a closeup of rooster hackles to match:
Discover that you would be able to actually inform extra of a distinction within the slender form of the hackles additional up the neck towards the top, reasonably than the place they meet the physique feathers.
How else are you able to inform? Crowing is a reasonably good indicator, however is not fail-safe, both, as a result of some hens do crow. Plus, usually talking, it is possible for you to to inform by feathers a lot earlier since roosters do not normally start to crow till they’re four or 5 months outdated. Nevertheless, we have now had roosters wait till slightly later, and start slightly sooner, too. To reiterate, the BEST technique to inform for certain is by bodily traits that can not be mistaken, so verify feather form when your birds are about three months outdated, as different indications aren’t dependable.
The shapes of those hackle and saddle feathers will point out for certain whether or not you’ve got a cockerel or a pullet… in each breed however Silkies and Sebrights.For sebrights, the cockerels are “hen feathered,” that means the males have the identical form feathers as females. For sebrights, comb dimension and wattle dimension are about the one simple technique to inform. (Campines are henny feathered in different international locations, however not normally so within the US.)
Sexing juvenile silkies is difficult. Due to the “furry” high quality of the feathers, you’ll be able to‘t simply see the form of them properly. Plus, the comb is usually hidden beneath the crest, and wattles aren’t evident in most bearded silkies. Our specialists vent intercourse (with 90% accuracy) when the infants are a day outdated, however for the remainder of us—and even for silkie breeders—juvenile silkies are particularly onerous to intercourse. Nevertheless, there are a couple of telltale indicators that will enable you discern what you’ve got:
- Typically the puffy crests on the hens’ heads are rounder, whereas the roosters might have lengthy streamers coming from theirs.
- Typically males may have barely shinier feathers.
- If they’re non-bearded Silkies, the wattles might be be bigger in males. (Bearded Silkies of each sexes are missing substantial wattles.)
- In each kinds of silkies, the males’ comb shall be bigger.(A silkie’s comb is known as a “walnut” comb for its form. As a substitute of being purple like most hen combs, it’s normally a colour described as “mulberry.”)
- Roosters will usually be bolder of their conduct, and sometimes friendlier to people when they’re younger. (Hens usually “catch up” within the friendliness class after they start laying, whereas roosters normally get extra stand-offish as they grow old.)
- When you have a couple of rooster, they might “chest bump” and assert themselves with one another. Nevertheless, hens will do that, too—just not as usually.
- When you have combined hens and roosters, the roosters normally start to develop bigger extra rapidly than the hens, so hens could also be barely smaller after a couple of weeks.
Right here is an effective silhouette picture of rooster “streamers” in a Silkie Showgirl rooster:
(Showgirls are silkies with bare necks… and sure. Even the roosters are known as showgirls.:) )