How to Check Your Chicken Gender + 5 Tips!

How to check chicken sex

This is probably the most frequently asked question in our e-mails. Many of you wonder how is it that a novice backyard chicken keeper can differentiate if his chick is going to become a hen or a rooster. Well we at the typesofchicken.com team have prepared this article with some of the most accurate ways for you to check.Keep in mind that there is no 100% accurate way for you to find this out without any professional help. The typesofchicken.com team presenting you with some of the most visible gender differences that you can notice on your chicks so you can find out what it will grow in to.

1. Comb Size

How to check chicken sex
via Flickr

The bigger the chick gets the more gender differences it will show. One of the best examples of this is the size of their comb. The comb of an up-and-coming rooster is usually bigger and with darker color with those of a female chicken.

2. Hackle Feathers

When a chicken gets around its sexual maturity (4-6 months old) it will start growing hackle feathers around its neck. The hackle feathers of a rooster and those of a hen are very different and they can help you to easily differentiate the gender of your growing chicks. The hackle feathers of a rooster are long and pointy while those of a hen are shorter and round.

3. Tail Feathers (sickles)

Roosters of most breeds can be differentiated by their long and “fancy” tail feathers commonly referred to as sickles. A normal rooster should have two sizes of sickles on his tail, the main sickles are on the top of his tail and are usually longer. The other- lesser sickles are the curvy ones that cover the sides of his tail.

4. Leg and feet size

This is one of the most commonly used methods to sex chickens, although this not means that it is completely accurate. The roosters usually have longer legs and bigger feet than hens.

5. Posture And Attitude

After you get some experience in keeping chickens, you will start noticing a slight difference in the posture of your chicks. When surprised roosters to be have a more proud posture and you will be able to distinct it after a few generations of chicks.
Another sign of the gender is the attitude of a chick. In most cases the male chicks will be more aggressive than the female chicks. We are not saying that pullets cannot be aggressive but this is more of a cockerel way of behaving that a pullets.How to check chicken sexThere are more methods of sexing the chick but we at thetypesofchicken.com team do not prefer them. Methods such as checking the gender from the egg shape (Many claim that the shape of the egg will tell you what kind of chicken will grow out of it, but we find this not accurate enough for the list above) and holding the chick upside down (When you hold a chick upside down the males will struggle the females will not, we recommend that you do not try this method because it is not good for your chicks and we believe it is not accurate AT ALL).

Scientists have also made major breakthroughs on this subject and we at the typesofchicken.com team recommend that if you want to be completely sure about the gender of your chicks that you wait it out and see or contact your local vet.

  • Pauline

    If it lays an egg it’s a hen – if not it is a rooster!! ha ha
    Pauline

    • John Hughes

      The world wide breeder in the 60’ts sexed chickens at hundreds per hour. At that time I believe they did the gender check based on the anal ring. I know that they shipped 104 chicks to a container because they guaranteed 100 hens and the extra 4 were to cover a mistake if any. I got a shipment with all 104 hens on one occasion. John

    • Dave

      True, but Roosters will sit on eggs sometimes…

    • Lisa

      Giggling

    • Bobbie Jo

      Lol..I always tell everyone that you’ll know when it crows or lays..

      • Diana

        I had a hen that crowed and also layed eggs! She raised many babies of all kinds for us. Pheasant , quail and ducks, plus any other hens eggs she could get to? Loved that hen!

    • Vickie

      Nice!

  • Mel Uphoff

    We use the “bead & string method” to sex chickens and other animals & poultry.

    • colleen

      What’s is the bead & string method ??

    • Ken pitre

      What is bead string

      • ms stan

        Not sure but a needle and string is what I have heard what I do called. I just use a chain from a necklace. Hold it over the chick if it goes up and down it is a rooster. If it goes across it is a hen. A circle is nothing. It will spin in a circle and then change direction. This is a old way taught by my grandmother of how women could tell what the sex of the baby that they were going to be having. My daughter’s boss at the pets store where she worked used this same test on her birds and reptiles.

  • Maree Geerin

    I agree with the above method especially for silkies

    • Cissy

      What do you agree with and how do you do this please? I have silkies and it’s a guessing game still. Would be great to know how to sex them.

    • Barbara Kline

      How do you did it I have baby silkies and like to no what is what

  • Leanne Hows

    What is the bead and string method. I have silkies and am still confused. Was supposed to have some roo’s but about 4 of my girls have been broody all summer and still no hatch. I’m surprised the poor girls haven’t dropped dead yet, but they won’t give up.

    • trisha

      Get some fertile eggs and put them under her. It can be deviating if they sit too long. They can die. The best thing would be to get some eggs for her too hatch.

    • Dixie

      Put the hens in bucket of water to cool them down. Heat keeps them broody.
      Repeat as necessary. Dont put head under water only body. Splash on head only.

    • ms stan

      Not sure but a needle and string is what I have heard what I do called. I just use a chain from a necklace. Hold it over the chick if it goes up and down it is a rooster. If it goes across it is a hen. A circle is nothing. It will spin in a circle and then change direction. This is a old way taught by my grandmother of how women could tell what the sex of the baby that they were going to be having. My daughter’s boss at the pets store where she worked used this same test on her birds and reptiles.

  • Kateri Scott

    I have two hens with combs to challenge any roo!

    • j

      Lol…thats a rainbow chicken

  • Rob Garren

    That egg shape method was tested and debunked by the Department of Agriculture back in the 50’s using many, many thousands of eggs.

  • Pat Baker

    I have found that if the chicks are same breed and age there will be a significant difference in tail size. A pullet will have a longer tail whereas the rooster will have a much smaller tail. This, of course, changes as the chickens age.