Lesson 773 – Sexing a chicken with an index card

The day before Violet died, I had planned to take a photo of her neck feathers (stay with me for this one.) Although I was almost positive she was a girl, I still had some nagging doubts. It was her feet, they just seemed so large. I had read, however, that by the time chicks were feathered there was a very easy way to tell if you had yourself a male or a female.

Simply slip a white index card under the upper neck feathers to see the tips. If the tips are pointed, it is most likely a male, if the tips are rounded, you have yourself a female.(But please don’t go destroying any birds based on this “test.”)

I did this with Violet, and her tips were most definitely rounded at about 6+ weeks. We had ourselves a little girl. (who I still miss.)


You can sort of see her rounded feathers here.

This is the time of year when chicken owners are starting to wonder about the sex of their spring chicks. If they’ve gotten a straight run or hatched the chicks from eggs, chances are, they are going to have a rooster or two in the batch. For some people, the sooner they know the better it is with regard to finding the chick a new home (I’ve made it very clear over the years that a rooster does not belong in a flock where you have close neighbors.)

I’ve only seen this technique posted in one place, and I haven’t heard anyone else talk about it.  Could you chicken owners with older chicks (fully feathered apx. 5-7 weeks) take a look at those neck feathers using this technique and let us all know how it turns out?

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, chicken care, Chicks, The Family

5 responses to “Lesson 773 – Sexing a chicken with an index card

  1. sharon

    I know when my spring chicks started to do chest bump with each other I knew who was male and guest I was right some started early and some started a little later. I fell in love with all my chicks and can’t get rid of anyone . However while learning how to take care of them the coons and the ringtail cat got some of my boys but now we have a better Chicken house we are safe and happy. I do like this idea of how to sex your chicks and I will go out and check my girls to see if these feathers are rounded.
    Thanks for the story.
    Sharon in Wimberley Texas

  2. thanks for the tips.i will be checking my chicks for their neck feathers.

  3. Steven

    Please let us know what the results of your study are.

  4. Linda Steiger

    I was planning on using this technique on my incubator chicks which are now 4 weeks old. Just wasn’t sure how old they had to be in order to be fully feathered out. This technique was shown on a River Cottage video which is a UK series about a chef who leaves London for the English countryside and ends up raising poultry among other animals. Will check into your site on FB and check in with results when I get around to doing this.

  5. My chicks are turning 6 weeks on Tuesday. I have one barred rock that I am pretty suspicious of because her comb is much larger, further back on her head, and starting to redden up…compared to another barred the same age. She(he) is also the first one to do everything and tells the others when its time to go to bed. Very friendly with me, and I hope it stays that way regardless. I will to this test and let you know how it turns out for sure. Thanks for sharing!

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