In the chicken world the fowls are called by different names according to their age and gender. It’s good to know the chicken’s gender.

When they first come out of the egg they are called chicks. In some cases it is impossible to tell whether a chick is male or female just by looking at them.

How do you know the chicken’s gender?

In some breeds the colour of the feathers gives an early indication.

know your chicken genders
We can’t always tell the sex of a chick.

There is a procedure known as vent sexing. This involves holding the day-old chick in one hand, spreading open the vent, and viewing the sexual organs to determine sex. However, one has to be trained and highly experienced to be able to interpret the shapes of these organs accurately, so backyard chicken owners are advised to leave it to the professionals.

Female chickens

A pullet is a young hen that is under 1 years of age, which has not started laying eggs yet. Pullets are fully grown, and will have a full coat of shiny new feathers. However, their bodies are still developing, and aren’t ready to lay eggs.

Once a pullet because closer to the age where their breed typically starts laying eggs, they are then regarded as a point-of-lay hen. Generally speaking, young hens will be ready to start laying eggs between their 16th and 24th week of age. In some cases and breeds, it can be more or fewer weeks.

So if you purchase a pullet, don’t expect them to start laying straight away. If you purchase a point-of-lay, she should start laying soon.

It is important to wait until her body is mature enough to produce these little shells of goodness.

There are a number of indicators you will be able to see in your hens when they’re getting ready to lay. Wattles and combs: have a look at your hen’s head – are their wattle and comb looking a bit redder, and slightly more swollen in size? Then they’re probably about to lay an egg.

Your hens will lay eggs when their bodies are ready – trying to stimulate egg-laying early in a hen which is not physiologically equipped will cause them damage.

If your hen doesn’t have a safe private place to lay her produce, then egg-production will definitely slump or cease to exist.  That’s why you should have a coop with nesting boxes – otherwise you might be waiting for a while.

Male chickens

A cockerel is a male chicken that is less than a year old.

A cock or rooster is a male chicken that is more than a year old.

Once your know the chicken’s gender, you can look at the terms that describe why you are keepign chickens. Broilers are chicken that are kept for meat production. Layers are chicken that are kept for their egg production.

To read other articles about poultry click here.

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