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Cockerel Vs. Pullet: How to Tell the Difference Between a Male and Female Chick

Have you ever had trouble telling the difference between cockerels and pullets? Perhaps you are currently having trouble telling the difference? Worry no more, as I am writing a heavily detailed post about this issue.

Take a look at the picture above of a group of baby chicks. You cannot tell which is male and which is female by just looking. However, there are nearly 100% accurate ways of finding out who's who. We will start by discussing vent sexing.


Vent sexing is the most accurate way of sexing MOST chicken breeds when they are babies, HOWEVER it should not be done by amateurs. Vent sexing is done by looking at the vent of a chick, which will most of the time look different in males and females (the male chicks will each have a small bump on their vent). The reason this should only be done by professionals is because doing it wrong could seriously hurt the chick, also, without experience, it is not accurate.

COLOR SEXING (Note: Only works for chickens with sex-linked coloration.)

Color sexing can be done when a male and female chick are different colors upon hatch, thus making them have instantly recognizable gender. Color sexing is technically the most accurate way of sexing baby chicks, but there are a few drawbacks:

  1. It will only work for breeds with sex-linked coloration, such as Red Sex-Links, Black Sex-Links, and Cream Legbars

  2. In most cases, it only works for the FIRST generation of the breed, for example, a Red Sex-Link will only be sex-linked for the first generation of offspring (usually created by crossing a Rhode Island Red and a Rhode Island White, or other white chicken), but if you were to breed the sex-linked offspring of the crosses with each other, they would produce non-sex-linked offspring.

If, however, the breed you want to sex meets these criteria, then this is a safe way of sexing your chicks.

COMB AND WATTLE SEXING (For chicks 5+ weeks old)

Most of the time, you will be unable to sex baby chicks at home. So, the easiest way to sex them accurately and safely is to wait until they begin to show visible gender differences. The first difference will be in the comb and wattles. Male chicks will have large combs compared to female chicks, and will also have the beginnings of wattle development. Also, if you are sexing a breed with a red comb, then the male chicks' combs will redden much faster.

SADDLE FEATHER SEXING (For chicks 8-10+ weeks old)

If you still cannot tell the difference between the male and female chicks by the time they are eight weeks old, or you have acquired older chickens, then you can use this method of sexing. Saddle feather sexing is easy and hands-off, so it can be done by beginners, too. This method of sexing can be done by looking at the feathers on the lower back of the chicken. If they are rounded, then it is a hen, if they are pointed, then it is a rooster. Also, roosters will have sickle-shaped tail feathers, whereas hens will have straighter tail feathers.

Finally, if you just want your chicken's gender to be a surprise, then just wait until they either crow or lay an egg!

In conclusion, there are many ways of sexing your chickens, and most are safe for beginners and pretty accurate. By the way, if you have any questions about sexing chickens, then please send me an email with the form below!


"Baby Chicks":*cp_EFED2BC923D27EFA8CB598C27D492AC9*mid_CB844AB83727EC94FDDBFBDDD12BECED97281D1F*simid_608055072971819650*thid_OIP.YeroNyxe3D8VHa02L0v69wHaFj&sim=11&iss=VSI

"Red Sex-Link Chicks":

"Comb and Wattle Sexing":

"Saddle Feather Sexing":

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