I have chickens that are 3 mos. old and i still can't tell who is who. I want to butcher the roosters before they are too tough. They are getting good size and look like they're ready. I just can't be sure I won't be getting the hens by mistake. Some of them spar with each other, but I can't tell if they are sparring because they are roosters or if they are just establishing a pecking order within the flock. Seems like they all do this sparring and challenging, to some degree. Surely they can't all be roosters ???
Nobody is crowing or laying eggs yet...
I know this sounds pretty ignorant, but I'm just totally dumbfounded. Does anyone else have this problem, or am I just too blind to see it ?
4 are RIR, 3 are Buff Orpington, 2 are the standard white leghorns, and one is a mix of who-knows-what. They all look shaped about alike, at least to me. Oh, by the way, one of the Buff Orps finally crowed. haha
I have about gone googly-eyed from watching them to try to figure it out.
Just when I think I might have it figured out, they do something that makes me question my wisdom. I did see some of my hens square off and puff up at each other, but I guess they were just establishing a pecking order.
I think we're getting closer to figuring it out though. There's been a lot of unrest and loud squawking in the pens. I think they are trying to figure out the details of mating. Certain ones that I suspected of being roosters are chasing others and grabbing them by the neck feathers. I'm guessing the ones they are grabbing are the hens. Poor things. They're practically bouncing off the walls of their pens. I guess the poor girls don't know what in the world these roosters are trying to do.
Still can't tell by looking. But their activities are getting a little more revealing about identity. Heard someone crow this morning, but wasn't out there to see who-dun-it.
If I have waited this long to butcher the roosters, is that too late ? Will they be tough and stringy at 3 to 4 months old ? I know it's better to butcher as soon as possible, but I really didn't want to take the hens.
Peggy, mine are *almost* 3 months old, and the buffs are really easy to tell. The rooster was the first one to start growing a comb... I thought he was an early maturing hen until the comb REALLY took off and the wattles dropped down.
I just updated my chick thread with pictures yesterday. Take a look, if you need a closer pic of one of the buff hens, I'll take one for you. http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/582918/
In my second order, I ordered 5 Rhode Island Reds, against my better judgement... hubby wanted them, anyway, that's beside the point. I ordered 5 females, and also have a rooster in that bunch as well, it's very obvioius he's a rooster already, and he's only 2months old. I'll go out and get a picture of him.