Lesson 496 – Girl or boy? Here’s what I think Charlie is

Charlie is approaching 6 weeks old and while it is still a tough call on whether she is a girl or a boy, here’s my prediction.

This is an adult male Black Copper Maran.

Photo credit: Thechickenhutch.com

This is an adult female Black Copper Maran.

Photo credit: mypetchicken.com

This is Charlie.

The beer is there just for size.

Here it is, (drumroll, please) – I think Charlie is a girl and these are my supporting reasons:

Even very young male chicks have a more upright posture. Charlie has a more horizontal natural posture (of course she does stretch upward but I’m talking how she stands at rest.) She seems to prefer the squatter, more sub-servant stance.

If you look at Charlie’s throat, you’ll see that her feathers are pointing up and away from her throat while Rooster feathers tend to point downward, covering the sides of their throats. Also, her cape, which is showing some signs of copper dappling has rounded feathers and not the typical spiky neck feathers of a roo.

While we’re on feathers, Charlie’s wing feathers are all also rounded at the tips and while Charlie does have a bit of tail bling, her feathers are for the most part all the same length and are blunt at the ends and are not pointed like the feathers on a rooster are. Females of this breed have fairly large tails, just not the glorious water-spray tails you find on the males.

Roosters tend to get pink coloring in their combs very early. There is no pink at all in Charlie’s yellow comb and in fact, she has a very small, flat comb, even at 6 weeks.

Roosters’ feet are typically larger than hens. As we all know, Charlie had difficulty with her feet so, even though I’ve included this here, and while I happen to love her feet and think they are just beautiful, it really is a determinant I can’t use (yet).

So while I am not an expert in this breed (one data point does not a trend make) I am very confident that our little Charlie will one day be laying for us some of those gorgeous chocolate eggs.

And I couldn’t be more relieved.



I’ve added a few more close-ups. Her cape coloring does concern me but I’ve seen some photos of female Black Copper Marans that have copper coloring around the neck.

You can see the copper coloring here but you can also see that her neck feathers are rounded.


This is a good picture of her non-existent comb.


One more photo of the back with the copper flecks.


Filed under Backyard Chickens, Charlie, chicken care, Chicks

13 responses to “Lesson 496 – Girl or boy? Here’s what I think Charlie is

  1. Jenn

    Seconding your opinion! She looks more like “Bowling Ball” did at 6wks than “The General” did at the same age. He had already started growing the long greenish tail feathers and had red little nubbins of what would ultimately be a comb and wattles.

    What a little love!!! YEAY for Charlie!!!

    • Wendy Thomas

      Thanks for chiming in Jenn. I love the name of “Bowling Ball” for one of your hens!

      Did you keep “The General” for breeding?


  2. Oh, I hope she’s a she. While reading a previous post, I was worrying a little bit about that long tail. I sure hope your hopeful observations are correct — and after being hand-reared, she’s bound to be a personable lady.

    • Wendy Thomas


      I’m pretty confident that Charlie is a girl for all the reasons listed (and for the unlisted one that that’s what I’m praying for🙂

      She is quite tame and loves nothing more than to sit on our shoulder while leaning into our necks for warmth. It will be quite the transition when she finally makes it out to the flock.


  3. I certainly hope so as I know that is what you need and want her to be. So finger crossed and sending you white light.

  4. When I was young I read science fiction stories where the (human) characters as adults went through sex change operations. Now that I am getting old, it is not unknown (though expensive, painful and difficult) for humans to undergo sex change operations for real. I once met a person who was in the midst of making such a changeover.

    As science progresses, the day will arrive when one can take a young chicken into the vet and say, “I’m sorry, but I thought I was getting a hen but it’s turning into a cock. I’m sure he will be a grand rooster, but I really need someone who will lay instead of crowing.”

    And the vet will say, come back tomorrow morning and it will be henned.

    By the way, “Charlie” can be a boys name or a girl’s name, so it was sly and cunning of you to provide Charlie with a name that is appropriate whichever way it hops.

    • Wendy Thomas

      God, I hope your prediction does not come true with regard to chickens. As much as I love my birds, I’m not prepared to pay that type of money for the vet bill.

      With regard to the name, we actually had this conversation when we named her. There is a current TV show about a little girl named Charlie but more importantly, I remember the perfume from years ago (do they still even make it?) called Charlie. It was the go-to fragrance for everyone in High School.

      We’ve never been too concerned about the gender of names in our flock, one of our favorite hens is called Simon.


  5. Hi Wendy, Your reasons are all valid, and hopefully true. Dennis and I looked at the pictures this morning and its still hard to tell. The only thing we noted is the
    colored feathering along the back. Females ordinarily will get their colored feathers lightly around their neck, and as the males grow you will see more and more color appearing on their back which finally concentrates in their beautiful mahogany coloring. Females can possibly have more color but that would be fault and out of the standard.
    So that’s what I’d watch for now, more color on the back showing up. Send me more pictures if you want and we’ll keep inspecting.
    If Charlie does turn out to be a boy, you will have a hen from me if we get a chance to meet up and get one to you – then of course, a wedding will be in order!
    Linda B.

  6. She has a small comb, girly head and too much tail for a boy. I think you are right.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Thanks for the vote. I just put up a post today with some concerns about her coloring but if you discount that, she sure looks like a girl to me.


  7. Jill Prescott

    I just came upon your blog as I am trying to figure out if my newly hatched Marans are males or females. So was Charlie a girl?

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