The Wyandotte chicken is a friendly, beautiful, and docile breed of chicken suited for both egg production and meat production.
They are a popular choice for anyone who wants to own chickens.
Sexing your Wyandottes early in life can give you a headstart developing your flock.
One common method among chicken owners is to use feather sexing, but what is it, and does it work?
Feather sexing a Wyandotte chicken determines the gender by looking at the shape and size of the primary feathers. It’s largely unreliable compared to other methods. Male chicks generally tend to have pointed feathers on their tail end, while females have short, round ones.
In this article, we will discuss the difficulties of sexing by feathering in chickens, as well as some other methods which can and cannot be used to determine the sex of your chicks.
What Is Feather Sexing For Wyandotte Chickens?
Feather sexing is a method of determining the sex of baby chicks before they are fully grown.
This is done by looking at the feathers on the chick’s backside.
Male chicks will have long, pointy tail feathers, while female chicks will have shorter, rounded feathers.
This is also doable, to some extent, with the wing feathers.
However, tail feather sexing Wyandottes is difficult, as the plumes of male and female Wyandottes are similar in appearance.
This is because the Wyandotte is not purebred; it’s a hybrid chicken breed.
As a result, there is more variation in the appearance of Wyandotte feathers than in the feathers of a purebred chicken breed.
This makes it hard to distinguish between male and female Wyandottes by looking at their appearance alone.
The difference is small in baby chickens (1-2 weeks especially), whereas adult feathers tend to show more feather patterns.
To feather sex chicks takes a keen eye and a lot of experience.
Backyard chicken keepers will still get it wrong quite a bit.
Some chicken breeds are better for this technique, but the Wyandotte is tricky.
Other strategies can help you sex your Wyandotte chicks with better accuracy.
Other Strategies For Sexing Wyandotte Chickens
Vent sexing of chicks
Vent sexing is a manual way of checking the chick’s cloaca.
It’s a complex method and best left to the experts.
It is done by turning the chick upside down and gently squeezing its vent (the opening through which it eliminates waste).
The chick might release some excrement in the process.
Then, the vent will be slightly open and clear to give you a glimpse of the reproductive organs.
Male chicks will have a small bulge at the end of their vents, while female chicks will have a smooth area around their vents.
Vent sexing should only be done by someone who has been properly trained because it is easy to injure the chick if it is not done correctly.
Behavioral differences between male and female chicks
Male and female birds have some distinct behavioral differences that can start manifesting during their juvenile stage.
Males tend to be more aggressive and may fight each other for dominance.
Males crow more frequently than females and have a more robust crow.
Crowing is a way for males to establish dominance over other flock members.
Sometimes females can crow if there is no male in the flock.
Additionally, males often pace back and forth while flapping their wings, while females typically stay stationary.
If a chick is often first to the food and fluffs its feathers, you may have a future rooster.
Related Post: What to feed Wyandotte chickens
Watching your chicks’ behavior during their development may be a longer process, but in combination with observing physical differences, you will master the art of chicken sexing.
It’s a viable method, though you may want to use it in combination with some of these other methods too.
Physical differences between male and female chicks
Comparing the physical differences between your Wyandottes is a safe sexing alternative.
This breed of chicken develops characteristics within 6-8 weeks that can help you determine whether they are a rooster or a hen, though some suggest waiting until 10-12 weeks to be sure.
|Male (Rooster)||Slower feather growth|
Shorter feathers on shoulders
|Larger and redder||Wide and redder|
|Female (Hen)||Faster feather growth rate|
Tail fills in quicker
|Smaller and less red||Smaller, sometimes red like males|
Sometimes, owners will attempt to sex Wyandottes based on feather colors and wing feather development.
This method is tricky depending on the variety of colours of the Wyandotte.
For example, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte birds go through three color phases as they age: blue, black, and splash.
Wyandottes are indistinguishable during the blue and black phases, so it is important to give the chicken breeds time to grow into mature colorations.
Even then, a specific set of genes will make any bird a rule-breaker regarding its plumage color.
Chromosomes determine the colour of the feathers as much as breed, so don’t base your poultry sexing on this alone.
However, sexing your Wyandottes based on the physical characteristics mentioned in the chart helps make guesses.
It is not the most accurate method, but it is safer for the bird than vent sexing if you are a novice.
When at least five months old, Wyandottes can be sexed without confusion.
Further Reading: Wyandotte chicken maturation rates (with charts)
Unreliable Wyandotte Chicken Sexing Methods
Sometimes, farming practices are steeped in anecdotal evidence.
Word of mouth and sharing advice on forums can spread misinformation that, at best, will lead to incorrectly sexed chicks and, worse, cause the chicks pain.
We will share some sexing methods to avoid when determining the sex of your chick.
Some people believe the shape and weight of a chicken egg can reveal the sex of the developing chick.
Pointy eggs are said to hatch out roosters, while rounder eggs can hatch out hens.
However, research does not support this myth.
Chicks have a 50/50 chance of being hatched out, male or female, regardless of the egg.
Eggs are shaped differently depending on how they pass through the oviduct during the laying process.
Further Reading: When do Wyandotte hens start laying eggs?
Topsy turvy chickens
Another myth for sexing chickens is hanging the chicken upside down by its feet to see how it will lift its body.
A male will lay limply upside down, while a female will bend and flap her wings.
Naturally, this is completely false and dangerous.
Chickens do not have a diaphragm, so hanging them upside down will make it difficult for them to breathe.
A variation of this method involves hanging the chick with its head between your fingers to see how it will move.
As with the upside-down method, females are expected to flap their wings and jerk around, while males will stay still.
This ineffective method is both dangerous and cruel to the chicks.
Stick to the safe methods for Wyandottes if you are a novice, or ask an experienced chicken owner to perform vent sexing.