Here’s a Helpful Hint on How to Tell
- Polish Rooster, 4 months. Look at the thickness & sturdiness of the legs.
- Polish Pullet/ Hen, 4 months. Notice the thin dainty legs and feet.
I chose this particular breed of chicken because sexing them is quite apparent by looking at their legs & feet. However, some breeds aren’t that easy, the Silkie in particular. But most heavy breeds like the Rocks, and Orphingtons it’s pretty obvious. Hope this little trick is helpful!
- Sizzle and Dominique hens
Jojo Joins the Free Range Hens
After two months of my new sizzle pullet living in the barn to avoid the pecking order battle ground, Jojo [left] joins the existing free range Dominique hens this morning. Finally! She will probably go back to the barn at sundown, her social rank won’t buy her a ticket to the hens coop, but this is at least a start.
Jojo is a month past the average for layng her first egg, it would be nice if she was allowed to lay in the same nest as the others hens. It will be interesting to see what my ladies decide. Until then… we wait.
- Jojo, Sizzle Pullet / 6 months old
The Basic Reproduction Process Explained
As in all animals, the fusion of ovum and a sperm is how fertilization occurs. Then an embryo forms and develops into a new organism. The chicken is no exception; their eggs need to be fertilized in order to develop a chick.
A chicken will begin laying eggs between five and six months of age, until then she is called a pullet. However, climate, seasons, and other various factors do play a significant role in laying cycles. Certain breed types are also included in the variances of egg laying, first time or otherwise. One thing for sure, when a pullet reaches sexual maturity she will lay eggs whether or not there is a rooster present.
Roosters [males] have reproductive organs which produce sperms that are released during mating. The sperms enter the oviduct of the hen [female] and continues a nearly week long reproductive journey to meet the eggs. The sperms final destination is in the infundibulum. This is where they will wait about a week for the partially formed and unshelled eggs. If there is a yolk, the eggs are fertilized instantly. So, it’s safe to say you can expect fertile eggs seven to ten days after mating.
Note: It is possible the hen may produce fertile eggs the following week as well.
When hens are in the presence of a rooster there is a way to separate the fertilized eggs from infertile by a technique called candling. This method uses a bright light source behind the egg to show details through the shell. Fertilized eggs will show a darker yolk on one end, usually when they are one or two days old. Within two to three days, if incubated, you may actually see indications of a growing embryo.