Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hen or Rooster?

Lately our "hen" Ophelia has been exhibiting some suspiciously rooster like qualities.  I noticed the past few weeks that "she" has been becoming more and more aggressive.  She's always been the dominant chicken of the bunch, but it seems that she is now becoming a major bully chicken!  She charges the other chickens, has to be the one in charge, and pecks like there is no tomorrow.  I have noticed for weeks now that her comb is getting larger and darker than our other Buff Orpington, Penelope, but this morning I noticed that her wattles are getting enormous.  Penelope has no wattles and her comb is non existent.  She is super sweet and mellow unlike her "sister."  So I posted this pic on the Take Back Urban Home-steading(s) fb page.  I figured that out of 7500 urban homesteaders I should be able to get a good consensus as to what "it" truly is.  But, I got very mixed opinions, some saying, "That's a hen, no doubt!" to, "I can bet money it's a rooster." Apparently the determining factors for figuring out if a chicken is a rooster in Buff Orpingtons are:  A large comb that shows up early, (even at just a few weeks), large wattle, saddle and hackle feathers, (they're longer and more spear shaped on the rear if it's a rooster), larger sized legs, and the ultimate test - the crow.

If "she" is indeed a he, then he will have to go, sadly.  We don't want a rooster due to the crow, (believe me, the neighbors will complain), and the fact that we want egg layers, period, so no fertilized eggs for this flock.  But I'm not going to worry about that until we know for sure.

So what is your vote:  Hen or Rooster?  I'll keep you posted.  Apparently Buff Orpingtons crow at around 20 weeks old, so we have a while to go.

Ophelia at 12 weeks, (left.)


  1. I have no idea. lol My friend was just telling me how hard it is to sex the chicks and you might not be able to trust someone to tell you. I guess she was right. I heard personality is a big indicator so my guess is male. What are you going to do if the chick is a male?

  2. I can understand the problem with the neighbors, but why do you care if your eggs are fertilized? Ours are and they taste just the same (according to Matt, I don't eat them).

  3. I mainly don't want baby chicks, if one of the hens were to hide them and hatch a few. Also, you can't legally own roosters within the Eureka city limits, so we would be breaking the law, not good!

  4. I had several roosters and the guy I got them from swapped them out for me as it became obvious. But then just recently this one Light Sussex was late laying and started getting noisy in the morning (not crowing but honking sort of). She/he was NOT bossy but suddenly her wattles are HUGE. I sent him a picture and he came and swapped him out for me with another hen--then called a week later to say she'd laid an egg! Apparently the Light Sussex can be late bloomers.

    So I won't even hazard a guess! If this gal fooled my chicken guy who raises them...