Sexing Cochin chicks may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
It is important to note sexing Cochin chicks can take a while after they are hatched.
Sexing a young chick is essential for different reasons, such as for sale or the chickens’ safety.
While it is near impossible to sex a new Cochin chick without invasive means, examining their feathers, markings, and behavior after they reach a few weeks old, makes it possible to make a guess. To tell if a Cochin chick is a pullet (female) or a cockerel (male), it is best to sex them between 4-6 weeks after hatching.
Sexing a Cochin chicken might seem pretty tricky, but never fear.
There are quite a few ways to guess the sex of a baby chick.
Sexing A Cochin Chicken In A Nutshell
|Feather Growth||Comb||Patterns and Colors||Social Behavior||Mature Traits|
|Cockerels (Males)||Short, bent wing feathers |
Tail feathers appear up to a week after a pullet’s
|Folding over |
|Bland in color and patterns|
Little to no distinguishing marks
|Pullets (Females)||Long, curving wing feathers|
Tail feathers appear earlier than a cockerel’s
|Straight up |
|Unique markings, colors, stripes, freckles, and other contrasts||Calm|
|Egg Laying |
Able to have chicks
How to Determine a Cochin Chicken’s Sex
From hatching to 2 weeks old, it is nearly impossible to sex any breed of chicken due to the lack of formed feathers on their wings.
After two weeks, their wing feathering develops, making it easier to tell a male from a female as they age.
As a rule, female chicks or pullets have more extended wing tips and begin developing tail feathers first.
Male chicks or cockerels have a shorter wing reach when the feathers come in, and their tail feathers can grow in as much as a week later than the pullet’s tail.
These feathered friends grow tiny feathers on their wing tips.
They keep their fuzzy tail feathers longer than a pullet, and the small wing tips are short and bent at first.
Pullets grow longer feathers on the tips of the wings.
Female chicks grow in a longer, curved shape, unlike males.
This method is called feather sexing.
Females lose the fluffy feathers on their tails a bit earlier than males.
A female’s mature tail feathers can appear as much as a week earlier than a male’s tail feathers.
The feather colors and patterns will also help with feather sexing.
Stripes, freckles, and other distinct markings are an easy way to tell a female from a male.
A male Cochin chicken will have unique markings, while males tend to stay a more solid feather color.
On chicks with specific feathering patterns, females will have much busier and more unmistakable markings on their bodies than males.
At around 3-5 weeks old, the comb of this hybrid chicken will begin to develop further.
A pullet’s comb will be straight up and pale in color compared to the cockerel’s comb.
The cockerel’s comb will be darker in color and will begin to flop over to one side.
The feather color themselves won’t always give them away. Male and female may be close in their yellow color.
Related: List of Chickens With Yellow Feathers (With Pictures)
Can a Chick’s Behavior Help Sex a Chick?
Observing this popular backyard chicken breed’s behavior is another way to know your chick’s sex beyond looking at their bodies.
Experienced backyard chicken keepers can determine sex pretty easily with behavior cues, but it’s best used in combination with another method.
A cockerel will tend to behave more confidently and energetically.
He will squirm relentlessly when held and may be found bossing the other poultry around.
A pullet is more docile in temperament and will get along well with other chicks.
She will calm down quickly when handled, in comparison to a male.
When you are in the process of chicken sexing more than one chick, you must realize sexing one of these quiet chickens is not always accurate.
It is vital to keep an eye on the babies as they mature, as cockerels can start fights and hurt each other once they are older.
Avoid putting two males together once they mature, typically around 4-6 months.
This is when testosterone levels elevate, causing a more territorial nature in the males.
Further Reading: Pros and Cons of Cochin Chickens
Cochin Growth Milestones And Sex Indicators
One major thing to look for once a chick is a few months of age is to watch for crowing or laying eggs.
A pullet will begin laying eggs when she is around 18 weeks old.
A cockerel will begin to make rooster sounds when he is just a few weeks old.
They will practice a lot before they develop the classic rooster crow at around 4-5 months old.
Sexual maturity is another tip-off when sexing a chick.
When a pullet matures at about 5 months, she can lay eggs and mate with a rooster.
A rooster sexually matures at around 4 months old.
At this point, he begins producing sperm, his testosterone levels increase, and his temperament may change.
When you notice these changes, you know the sex of this beautiful chicken.
Cochin Sexing Practices To Avoid
Though sexing a chick is difficult, there are a few things to avoid when figuring out its sex.
To start, avoid sexing before they are a couple of weeks old.
If you want to sex your batch of chicks immediately, resist the urge.
They will have no mature feathers, making it impossible to know if your friendly birds are male or female.
Another thing to avoid is Vent Sexing.
While it is the most reliable way to sex a chick, vent sexing at such a young age can severely harm them due to their small size, so wait a few weeks.
Only a professional vet or someone who makes a living doing poultry farming should attempt this if it is essential.
Healthy birds are more important than sexed birds.