Lesson 743 – Sexing Violet by her wings

Here we go again.

As you may or may not know, Black Copper Marans are unsexed birds. This means that, like almost every other chicken breed out there, you cannot tell which ones are the boys and which ones are the girls by their birth colors.

Oh sure, you could do that vent sexing thing, but I’m personally not going to go there.

Male birds make a lot of noise. Because of our close neighbors, we are not able to keep roosters (or Guineas) in our flock, which is why we were thrilled to find out last year that Charlie was a girl. We got to keep the bird that ended up living for six months in our house.

Now we have to wait (and wait) to find out if Violet is female or not.

I’ve heard about determining sex from the pin feathers (in fact I’ve even written about it and here’s a presentation on it) but I’ve never tried it. Apparently when a chick is up to 24 hours old, you can (sometimes) determine the sex from the very tips of the wing feathers.

The belief is that because females tend to feather faster, the ends of the primary feathers will appear uneven when compared to the covert feathers. This is in contrast to the slower (plodding) growth of the males which tend to present with all feathers that are even in length. But, (and this is a big BUT) this technique only works in very (very) young chicks. Once they start really growing, all bets are off.

I took this photo of Violet’s feathers on day 1.


I took this photo on day 3.


If I looked only at the second photo, I might be tempted to say that she’s a boy. (I’m still going to use that magical thinking of mine and assume that she’s a she.)

But if I looked very closely at that first set of feathers, the one that is closer to that 24 hour window, I might (if I squint while looking) be convinced that I have a girl on my hands. Do you see the unevenness of some of the primary white feathers to the covert black feathers?

Having never done this before (with Charlie, we just held our breaths) I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Violet is a girl.

But, I’m afraid, only time will really tell.

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two. 


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Charlie, Life Lessons, Personal, The Family, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Lesson 743 – Sexing Violet by her wings

  1. I don’t really see a difference but it could be because the 24 old pic has a dark background so the black feathers are hard to see. I will be crossing my fingers that violet turns out to be a girl…hard to be a rooster called violet! Lol.

  2. I recently purchased some fertilized silver laced Wyandotte eggs and particularly wanted to get a rooster (first time I’ve ever actually wished for a rooster because as you know, one rooster is usually enough in a flock) so I could breeder ‘him’ with my older female Wyandotte (I only have the one). I wanted to do this to add a bit of vigour and simply have a different strain through the flock. Yep, you guessed it I hatched 3 out of 6 eggs and they were ALL female. I couldn’t believe it…

    I hope little Violet is a girl, I really do.


    • Wendy Thomas


      Wow, what are the odds of all girls like that? I really hope that Violet is a girl, but I assure you that if she is a boy, I will be finding a good home for her.


      P.S., Live close by? If she is a boy, looking for a rooster?

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