Chick Update Week 3 – I think we have a cockerel

The chicks are now three weeks old and it is amazing to see the difference. They are entering the awkward phase and are looking a bit…ugly. But we still love them! 🙂  We are so thrilled that ALL 27 have survived this long!!!  From what I’ve heard and experienced and read, there is a high likelihood of losing at least one in the first week or so.  Here are this week’s pictures:


Rhode Island Red




Buff Orpington


Easter Egger

As you can see they are much more feathered out at this point, and bigger.  Also the Rhode Island Reds were orang-ish with speckled feathers last week, and now they are turning quite red.  It is now clear that the previously yellow chicks (which we thought could be either a white bird or a buff) are in fact Buff Orpingtons.

We have one that I am pretty sure is a cockerel.  It acts different and is walking tall and chest bumping all the other chicks.  But the most convincing thing is that its comb is three times as big and turning pink already.  Look at the above pictures and notice the combs (they are pretty much non-existent).  That is what 26 of the chicks’ combs look like.  Then look at this one chick’s comb:


It’s a cockerel, don’t you think?

10 thoughts on “Chick Update Week 3 – I think we have a cockerel

  1. If not a cockerel then the new head-chook at your place! My hens didn’t have a comb like that until about week 18! Wouldn’t it be amazing if only 1 in 27 was a little boy – I doubt you’d be that lucky.

    And for the record, that Ancona is gorgeous. Such dramatic markings.


  2. I have had cockerels in our last 2 hatches, and I have tried all the little ways of trying to figure out early. The only thing that I’ve found reliable is the behavior…the baby roo’s seem a little less afraid of me. We even had one chic that behaved like you described, and it turned into an aggressive pullet – and a HUGE layer. I’ve found that letting them getting to know me really well during this early time helps keep them from going all “King of The Coop” on me later. : )

    Very excited for you…I love those chickens. : )


  3. I bought 9 marans (3 black and 6 cuckoo) i think i may have 1 male in the black and and 2 maybe 3 in the cuckoo. My concern is that there has been aggression in the group and I’m concerned because I worrying they wont tollerate living together, and I really dont want to have to rehome them. I havent kept marans before so I’m not sure if they will get on in the end. I believed the breed were easy going, but need advice as to whether or not cockerels can live together happily. Please help!


    • We have had two different situations of cockerels living together.
      The first was 12 cockerels in a growing out pen together (close quarters) and we weren’t able to butcher by 16 weeks like we hoped and by 18 weeks we had a fight and one was seriously injured. I believe it completely had to do with the housing and the amount of cockerels and the fact they were older than they should have been. We are more carefully planning to be sure that doesn’t happen again.
      The other situation we have had was 2 cockerels and one adult rooster living together with the flock of hens and pullets and free ranging. We moved the young cockerels in with the flock when they were about 13 weeks old (before puberty) and everything went fine. The three males lived happily with the flock and with each other for at least ten weeks or so at which point the younger two were butchered. But they never got into any damaging brawls with each other. They seemed to each know their place in the order of things.
      All this to say, from our experience a few males with a flock of hens and enough space seem to live in harmony fine. I am sure there is a random male that will be aggressive and not live well with other males, but if they are raised together from a young age and have enough females and space I think they do fine.


      • Well if my estimations are correct i should have 12 hens and 3 cockerels in the orchard which is approx 1/4 acre. Im hoping that the couple of arguments they have had are a result of establishing the pecking order. Ultimately i was hoping for them to live harmoniously indefinitely as they aren’t intended for meat. The other concern i have is that they are all around the same age and are in doors at the moment, (english weather) I am planning to extend their indoor run to try and alleviate any space issues that might cause the disagreements. Ultimately I am just concerned because I’ve reared that and am probably too attached!


      • I just thought of something you might have an issue with…3 roos and 12 hens could lead to your hens backs getting pretty torn up from over-breeding. You can buy them hen saddles to protect their backs if needed.


      • I think I’m just gonna have to re-home them. I cant bear the thought of issues with either hen nor roos. At what age will i know for definite if they are un deed cockerels? So sad!


      • We can tell pretty accurately by 8-9 weeks, but that wasn’t until someone taught us all the things to look for. By 16 weeks most cockerels will start crowing and trying to breed hens, so by then it is obvious.


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