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Sexing Baby Chicks for Idiots

Updated: Jan 16

Your eggs that you've spent weeks obsessing over have finally hatched. Tiny balls of fluff have stolen your heart. Your life is complete. But whether you're only interested in hens for laying eggs or roosters are a no no in your city, you are secretly dying to know with ones are little pullets and which ones are little cockerels. One technique to try to find out which ones you shouldn't fall too in love with is vent sexing. Originally developed in Japan, venting involves getting a very close look at your chicken's butthole. The vent is the exit path for the poop and the eggs. Don't worry, the egg pushes closed the anal cavity so its not as gross as you think. But since the male sex organ in chickens is internal, this is a tricky method. Professional chicken sexers are very sought after. But you can totally try it for free on your chicks!

Step 1 - Give the chick a little squeeze. This will help move along that poop they were hoping to drop on your hand.

Step 2 - The Hold. Place the chick's head between your pinky and ring finger so you can flip them upside down easily.

Step 3 - Push down on the bottom of their bum with your thumb and pull up on the top area of the vent with your pointer finger. Try to ignore the panicked chirping. It's hard, I know.

Step 4 - Get real close to that vent. What you are looking for is a bubble or pimple-like bump inside the vent. If you are lucky, you won't see anything and it's a girl.

I had a hard time really seeing clearly. I highly advise use a fixed lamp to see better. Oddly, these ring lights work pretty well and don't cost that much. You can use it to hold your phone if you want to film! I wish I had one when I did this.

On certain breeds, you can try feather sexing. Baby boys will have feathers that are all the same length when you stretch them out and look at their ends. The females will have a short, then long, then short, then long. You can't do this with all breeds, so it's not quite as accurate as venting. Three of mine look like they could be pullets. Yay!

Have fun taking bets with friends and neighbors on who is what. You should know at around 6-8 weeks who wins the money, as the chickens will start developing strong characteristics of their sex. A sudden crowing sound from the backyard will be a dead giveaway. Here's a video of me fumbling through this process and convincing myself they are all girls. (Pretty sure McShizzle is not.)

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