How to tell the difference between male and female chickens.
How hard it is to tell the difference between male and female chickens really does depend on the breed. Some breeds are "sex linked" this means that the boys and girls are born different colours, lovely! Nice and easy.
Unfortunately this is not the case for most breeds so what are we looking for?
I won't go over how to sex very young chicks here as if done wrong could cause injury or even death to the bird and so should really only be left to competent breeders. There is also a margin of error here and even professionals get caught out sometimes!
Smaller breeds like Pekin Bantams and Polish are near impossible to correctly sex until they are older than 6 weeks so be very aware of anyone selling 'sexed' birds of these breeds at a young age.
The easiest way to see if you have a Cockerel is to compare it to the hens around it. Pictured we have 2 Beechwood Blues (Bluebells), notice the larger red comp, developing wattle on the cheeks and mottled white breast feathers on the male.
On it's own it's not overly obvious it's a male but next to the smaller female it becomes more apparent.
Here we have some 8 week old Plymouth Rock hens and 1 cockerel. (Top right with the start of a red comb and wattle) It is important to remember that not all breeds grow at the same speed so noticing early development when you have lots of different breeds together can be tricky.
When all your birds are the same breed however it becomes much easier to tell when 1 is developing differently.
These videos explains the differences in more detail.