Re-thinking the sex-linked chicken thing.

Aug 7, 2018 | 1 comment

In April… who knew?

As every backyard chicken farmer knows, baby chickens can be seriously deceitful.  They are cute and fluffy and exude that friendly, cuddly quality.  You give them lots of attention dreaming of the eventual returns for your efforts.  Eggs.  Lots and lots of eggs.

In that regard, we have been primed since childhood:


Higgledy Piggledy,
My black hen,
She lays eggs
For gentlemen;
Sometimes nine,
And sometimes ten,
Higgledy Piggledy,
My fat hen.

But, a week or two ago, our black hen began cock-a-doodle-doing and making seriously un-hen-like moves on the other ladies of the coop. Apparently our feathered beauty was a rooster in disguise!  Now that wouldn’t be very unusual in a ‘normal’ situation in which Mrs. Broody Hen sits on a clutch of eggs and they hatch without any gender announcements.  No pink or blue swaddling clothes to distinguish the girl chicks from the boys.  It’s hard to tell with down and feathers.

Two Roosters

Our latest batch of chickens, however, have been hatchery bred-and were purchased in a batch called “sex-linked.” That means, in my limited understanding, that they were cross-bred chickens whose color at hatching is differentiated by sex, thus making it easier to distinguish females from males.  So, we ordered sex-linked hens and were assured that in 90% of the cases, hens were what we’d get.

That’s nine times out of ten, right?  So, when one of our five sex-linked female chicks turned out to be a beautiful black rooster, we tried to be philosophical about the odds not being in our favor. But, yesterday when the white “hen” began making moves on the other girls in our flock, we were instantly on alert.  Two roosters??   Who knew our order for five sex-linked females would include two sex-linked males instead?

Farmer Nyel says two roosters in a flock of eight is one too many guys.  When I asked him why he thought so, his answer was, “Who would be in charge?”  Say what???   I’m still thinking about that response.  Such a guy thing!

And, it probably means another trip to the poultry auction in Chehalis…

1 Comment

  1. Bonnie

    Loving all of this chicken chatter! We are in the process of building a coop and hope to add chicks in the spring. I’m thinking not sex-linked!


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