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Old 04-28-2009, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Do you know how to tell a male from female when they first hatch? I never had chickens before so I just don't know the diff until they're bigger.

Great question, KonaKat. . . I'd like to know how to "sex" the hatchlings, too. I have 3, week old "pullets", bought from our local feed store. . . they said the sexing was 99% accurate, and I sure hope so, 'cause the city I live in does not allow roosters, and I'm a big woose when it comes to animals! Hoping someone out there can share the sexing secrets with us!
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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There are several hybrid crosses of chickens who's gender is apparent by their color on hatching. However, I don't know of any breeds which have the same gender linked color coding. The Black Star and Red Stars are two hybrid crosses which have the gender linked colors. A Black Star is a Rhode Island Red rooster with a barred rock hen and the chicks come out dark colored with the roosters having a yellow splotch on their heads. The hens are supposed to be dark with some red feathers on their necks and they are supposed to be good producers of large brown eggs.

Cap1717, if you truly have "pullets" then they are all females since a "pullet" is a young hen. A "cockerel" is a young rooster and "straight run" means some of each. Not, of course, that you are going to get really informed sales folks at all feed stores. Some of the first differences between pullets and cockerels is their hackle and neck feathers. The males will have pointed feathers and the females will have square ends on the feathers. Generally, cockerels will have bigger combs and sometimes you can see the small buttons where their spurs will eventually grow out. In baby turkeys the little toms will fluff up and do a dropped wing threaten dance at whatever they think is threatening them, dunno if that works in chickens or not, though. Supposedly, in chickens, baby cockerels will raise up and pullets will crouch down if you fly a hat over a flock of young chickens. It is really hard to tell, though, until they either give you an egg or crow, I've had what I was almost certain to be roosters lay eggs and what I thought was hens start to crow.

A friend told me just hatched pullets are more roundish than just hatched cockerels, dunno if that is true or not. Day old chicks can have their gender determined by turning them upside down, manipulating their little okoles and seeing if male parts stick out or not, at least, so I've been told. The person who told me that said that only works for the first twenty four to thirty six hours or so, at three weeks your birds are past that stage. I haven't really tried it myself, I generally sell chicks straight run with a rooster return policy. If they start to crow and the buyer didn't want a rooster, they can bring them back for a refund. I dunno if feed stores do that or not, I'm just someone who hatches a few eggs here and there.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:45 PM
 
Location: UP of Michigan
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With many predators near by, how much chance of free range / semi free range chicken raising can I have success with? Is it worth the effort? I have been interested in Guinea hens too to help control ticks. A crowing rooster would give me ammo / bargaining chip for my neighbors windmill noise pollution.
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:45 PM
 
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Hi! I just stumbled across this thread. I've wanted chickens of my very own for awhile now, and my bf just offered me a coop and 4 Rhode Island Red hens for my birthday. So I've started doing some more research. Just wanted to say 'Hi' as I was reading along....
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:48 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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What a wonderful BF! He sounds like a keeper! Rhode Island Reds are a great choice for a backyard coop. They lay a lot of large brown eggs and are a very classic chicken. You can look at Henderson's Chicken Chart to compare different characteristics of some different breeds of chickens: Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
What a wonderful BF! He sounds like a keeper! Rhode Island Reds are a great choice for a backyard coop. They lay a lot of large brown eggs and are a very classic chicken. You can look at Henderson's Chicken Chart to compare different characteristics of some different breeds of chickens: Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart
Thanks for the link. The bf had Rhode Island Reds when he was younger. Though back then they had roosters too. Now you can't have roosters in a residential area where I live. But you can have up to 6 hens.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
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Roosters are very annoying in a residential situation. They've bred some for long crowing and they've bred some for a low bass crow, why nobody has tried to breed for no-crow, I dunno. I'd pay big money for a breed of chicken that had hens who laid a lot of eggs and roosters who didn't crow.

It is nice that residential areas are starting to let folks keep hens in the back yard. Hens and a garden are perfect together since hens like garden scraps and after the vegetables are harvested, you can let the hens scratch around and eat all the bugs in the fall.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:43 PM
 
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Default Searching for chicken housing

Has anyone heard of or used the Omlet chicken houses? Omlet USA | Chicken coops and rabbit hutches | The eglu is now available in the USA!

I came across their website in a book - Made from Scratch, and thought they were pretty neat looking. I like the idea that the entire thing can be hosed off to really keep it really clean, a concern on my little 80X100 plot of land (and my OCD tendencies). Also it looks pretty portable, a concern of mine since I'm planning to relocate to another state in the next 1-3 years. Just wanted to know what others thought and it if was worth the money. Or is there something better out there?

BTW, I'm the one that posted earlier that my bf is getting me chickens and a coup for my birthday. Some girls want jewelry, I want chickens! LOL!
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:58 AM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotzcatz View Post
Roosters are very annoying in a residential situation.

It is nice that residential areas are starting to let folks keep hens in the back yard. Hens and a garden are perfect together since hens like garden scraps and after the vegetables are harvested, you can let the hens scratch around and eat all the bugs in the fall.
Here we come, Latin America! I have traveled widely throughout South and Central America and you never need an alarm clock down there. Even in the big cities. It's all part of the Latin American landscape, chickens in the backyards. And even here in Las Vegas in the heavily Latinized sections of this city.

Every morning, around 5AM, it's a symphony of cockle-doodle-doos all over the city.
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Old 05-07-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wordsmith680 View Post
With many predators near by, how much chance of free range / semi free range chicken raising can I have success with? Is it worth the effort? I have been interested in Guinea hens too to help control ticks. A crowing rooster would give me ammo / bargaining chip for my neighbors windmill noise pollution.
Never thought of a rooster as a weapon

From experience, you have to be aware where the chicks are. Usually they are not far away from you. The predators are also keenly aware of you moving around. The more household noises, the better. If you let the chicks out and sit at home quietly, predators get bolder. And, they are more aggressive (hungry) in spring. Later in summer, they have more food to hunt for. The chicks wander within 100-200ft from their coop. By the dusk, the chicks line into their coop on their own. You have to lock them before things get really quiet and the predators can get in.

So if you are round and about, the chicks should be safe. If you suddenly need to leave, it may be hard to collect the chicks back into the coop in the middle of the day (esp. roosters). Planning the day with chicks is essential.
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