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Monday, January 17, 2011

Rooster or Hen? Who Can Sex a Silkie?

White Silkies - chicks A-D
Apparently silkie chicks are notoriously difficult to sex.  I've read that you can wait 'til they start laying before you really know and even then just to freak you out sometimes silkie hens crow! 

Right from the start we knew we wouldn't keep the roosters, so we've tried not to get too attached.  Easier said than done.  Actually, it's a good thing we're not keeping them all.  Eight chickens is a bit much on an inner city suburban block.  Our neighbour has relatives with a farm and he's keen to take the roosters and I'm already feeling a teeny bit sad. We've avoided giving them names until we know which ones we'll keep.  Except for, I'm ashamed to say, the black silkie with a lame leg.  She's been branded by her disability "Wonky".  At least two of the whites, I'm guessing, are roosters.  They're bigger and have developed combs more quickly.  I know nothing about rooster behaviour but these two like to do a bit of chest-butting!  They puff up their chests and run at each other.  Surely they're boys?!

Our silkies are now seven weeks old.   At ten weeks I'm going to post a photo on the Backyard Poultry website and see if the experts there can help us determine which will stay and which will go.  But in the meantime I thought it might be fun to see if there are any chicken fanciers out in blogland who'd like to test their sex-determining skills.  Or maybe you know nothing about chickens but enjoy a bit of a game.  Now I'll give you a hint.  Those two chest butters are chicks A and D in the photos.  But just because they're chest-puffers don't assume they're boys.  I know plenty of girls who'll puff their chests up given the right circumstances.   I'm going on a little holiday so won't blog for a few days and we won't know the results for much longer yet, but I promise to let everyone know who has guessed most accurately.

Oh, and one last word of advice.  I don't want anyone breaking my heart and telling me they're all roosters.  At least one of those white fluffy ones must be a girl.  I know I'm not supposed to have favourites but I do - and she'd better be a girl.

Here are the photos.  Sorry to those disinterested for an endless stream of chick pics and apologies that I haven't managed better photos.  It's very hard to get close ups of four squirmy chicks at a time and get them to smile for the camera.
White chicks A-D left to right
Chick A
Chick B
Chick C
Chick D
Black Silkies - Chick E (left) and Chick F (right)
Chick E
Chick F (right)
Chicks G & H
Chick G (Wonky)
Chick H (right)
 Phew! Finished.

32 comments:

  1. oh my gosh! they are soo cute! all of them - I guess it is going to be very difficult to part with even one of them! I think B and C look like they have attitude problems.... but the hairstyles! Maybe it is the fact that every day they wake up to a bad hair day! Couldnt guess, but hope you get to keep lots.

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  2. I haven't got a clue. But aren't you photographing the wrong end? I think they are all devine and hope they aren't ALL roosters. I love Wonky, by the way...the name and the chook. Have a wonderful few days break and stay away from floods.

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  3. oooh I just think they are all adorable. but A and B look like they have a bit of a frown so have to be male. Love Wonky too. Enjoy your break.

    Just a question for you vegiegobbler or anyone out there. If any of you grow baby squash, I need help. Mine turn black just under the flower and then turn to mush. Don't want to spray though any ideas as to the problem please

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  4. If there is a stray Silkie, that doesn't fit in, I'd love to have her - Just putting that out there! Gotta love the attitude! If only my hair could do that...

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  5. They are so beautiful I wouldn't be able to part with them. I had trouble with giving away puppies last time. Will you be showing the other end in your next post? Maybe we can tell better.

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  6. Silkies are notoriously difficult to sex but I would say A & D are almost certainly boys because they have such big wattles. I'm guessing B & C are girls but not as certain. All the others are more difficult because of the photos but I would say that you have a good chance of getting a few girls from the rest. Fingers crossed for you.

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  7. OMG. I want them. I love chickens, don't ask me why, but I want them. Soooo cute. Love your images too. I think they are fine shots.

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  8. Ooo I love the white ones and Wonky. I've no idea from looking at the photos, I have a grown up grey silkie and she looks exactly like all of yours! Maybe they are all hens? That's my guess :)

    Oh except Wonky will turn out to be a rooster. That's the universe having fun at your expense for you.

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  9. I have changed my mind I think A and C

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  10. Try asking at Curbstone Valley. She puts up a Fowl Friday post. http://curbstonevalley.com/blog/?p=3847

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  11. Sorry - same here. Can't tell the difference. but I'd be hoping they're all hens. It would be so hard to give any of them up.

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  12. Those photos put a whole new meaning on the term "cute chick".

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  13. Well, even though I love them all, I don't really want 8 of them so I hope a couple are boys. I think all of them always look like they're frowning so not sure if you're right jeanettann. Sorry I know nothing about squash. Pheobe sorry I'm only giving away the boys! One and Hazel do you really want to see a bottom shot?? Thanks for the advice Elephant's Eye - I'll check out Curbstone Valley.

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  14. Hey there, A & D I think are boys as they have the pronounced crowns on the front and the wattle starting to grow down the side.

    Yes silkies are hard to sex. The black ones i can't really tell as you can't really see a front on shot of the wattles and they are the same colour as the feathers so they seem to blend in.

    However the best clue is they start crowing LOL and they start getting Randy so to speak! We just went through the same situation. I bought 2 for my children as pets. One turned out to be male. We named him Randy as he just would not leave the girls along..

    Hope this helps..

    Donna.

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  15. I'm getting my first chickens in May and I said keep the photos coming! I may be an overly-excited, biased reader, though. :) Unfortunately, being new to chickens I have no idea what sex they are (except that I'm certain that your favorite is a hen... has to be!)

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  16. I can´t tell the gender difference either. You may just have to wait until someone starts crowing. Dead give away, that one. We have pekin bantams, and the cockscomb is our yardstick, although we have one girl with a headset that rivals our roosters. We thought maybe hermaphrodite, but she lays eggs and doesn´t crow, so maybe she is just a tomboy, or overly butch.

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  17. Donna, I reckon you're right. My bet is A and D are boys and I'm revealing C is my favourite and Appalachian Feet you're right too -she must be a girl. Daffodil do you think we'll have to wait til they start laying? I've heard that silkie hens sometimes crow! We'll have to wait and see.

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  18. Hi VG, I just did a quick search on BYP, and the general consensus is that sexing the silkie is notoriously difficult. You may just have to wait for the egg to confirm, and be eye witness to the laying to ensure the real owner of the effort.

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  19. I hope your favourite is a gal. I love the look of the silkies... They look like punks :-)

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  20. Adorable chickies!! I love their tufts of chick fuzz!

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  21. of the whites i think A & D are roos because of "hair" is more swept back and the wattles...let us know how they turn out ;)

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  22. I am guessing B,C,E,and H are females. I believe so due to comb and wattle development on the others and little or none on the chosen ones. I have a black silkie named Puffy who acts like a boy but I think is a girl. Eggs will tell.

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  23. I HAVE SILKIES 6-7 MONTHS. I MAYBEE SEE A DIFFERENCE. THE MALES I THINK HAVE A FLUFFY BEARD. BUT NOT SURE IM NEW.

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  24. The boys have a spur on their legs but not sure at what age they get them. I had one that made a pathetic warble in the morning (but not the crack of dawn) and I was praying it was a girl practicing being boss. Nope - it was a boy. The people I bought him from took him back with the promise NOT to kill him.

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  25. What was the verdict? We're A&D roosters and b&C hens?

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  26. Yes A & D were roosters. All the others were hens. Although we were never quite sure about Wonky who died but was crowing a bit.

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  27. We have silkies now. my daughter named them. Chick for the golden/ginger one and Chook for the black. they have become acustomed to being handled. I think that Chook is a rooster though, it has grown very quickly and seems to have an extra toe.

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  28. What is the verdict? I say you have 4 pullets and 4 roos and I hate to break the news, but Wonky is defiantly a roo. I gather you already know this.

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  29. Yes I guess 4 Roosters and 4 Hens
    Roosters
    A D F G

    Hens
    B C E H

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  30. Little boys have the slicked back head feathers at 6 weeks, girls have more of the afro look.

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