Still can't tell roos from hens

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

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 ?

This message was edited May 16, 2006 11:10 PM

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

What breed of chickens are they?

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

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

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

I've never seen hens spar, you know, where they fluff up and "dance" at each other. But I'm no expert!

Oregon City, OR(Zone 8b)

Personally, I've found the ones with a lot of "red" on their faces are the young roosters. And they have a more upright posture, and maybe are more brazen. Those are my early telltale signs.

Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

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.

Cleveland, GA(Zone 7a)

I doubt they would be really tough by that age, but if you can't tell when you do the butchering, just put that meat aside for chicken and dumplings or soup or something that gets cooked a long time.

Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

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.

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.

Hope that helps.


This message was edited Jun 7, 2006 4:46 PM

Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

Peggy I took a few pictures for you.

Here is the top of one of my Buff Orpington Pullets. I got my chicks March 13, so they are right at 3 months old, or just a couple days from it.

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

Here is the roo with a pullet.

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

Here is my RIR rooster, he's 2 months

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Southwestern, OH(Zone 6b)

Here is a RIR pullet.

Thumbnail by Melissa_Ohio
Claremore, OK(Zone 6a)

Melissa, thank you. That does help. By looking at yours, I can really tell who they are.

Ya know, I think I may have gotten all roosters then. How odd would that be !!!! Seems like all of mine have the large combs and wattles.

I'm headed out there right now to take another look.

I butchered 2 roosters this week. Guess I may have more work to do now.

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