Wyandotte chickens are a popular breed among backyard chicken keepers, known for their friendly nature, beautiful plumage, and egg-laying abilities. If however you have bred Wyandottes and tried to sex the chicks you will already know how difficult it can be.
Wyandottes are not a feather sexable breed and any differences in emerging feathers in chicks won't tell you what gender they are. To complicate the matter even further, rosecomb breeds like the Wyandotte can be tough to sex by the wattle and comb size and colour.
Accurate and definitive methods for sexing some Wyandotte chicks:
- Vent Sexing: Vent sexing is an accurate but difficult to learn method of sexing day old chicks by the shape of the lumps in their vents.
- DNA Sexing: DNA sexing requires expensive laboratory analysis to determine the gender of the chick and is 100% accurate.
- Partridge Wyandottes: The female feathers have even pencilling whereas he males have a solid colouring on the plumage. The differences can be seen as soon as the feathers begin to show. Female partridge Wyandottes also have a thick eyeline.
- Barred Wyandottes: Barred Wyandottes can be accurately sexed at day old by the size and shape of their head spot. Requires a trained eye.
Below: A pencilled Wyandotte hen with her chicks. The third chick in from the left is a cockerel, he lacks the pencilled feathers and the eyeline.
Other ways of telling male Wyandottes from females:
Sexing Wyandotte chickens may seem daunting at first, but with a bit of practice, you can learn to distinguish between males and females confidently.
Below: When the males have different patterns and colours, it makes them easier to sex.
By understanding the physical and behavioural differences between the sexes it will become clear which are roosters and which are hens.
Male and female Wyandottes have noticeable differences in their body shape, size, and plumage. Some of these characteristics can begin to show at quite a young age.
The biggest tell as to the sex of Wyandottes is the size and colour of the comb, male combs are bigger, develop first, sometimes by as much as a month.
The stance can be a giveaway with younger birds. Cockerels have thicker, stronger legs and stand more upright whereas the hens are more petite and stand flatter.
Below: The two closest chicks in this video are boys, they are a little larger and stand more upright than the other two.
As the chicks begin to grow their feathers, males tend to have longer, pointed saddle and hackle feathers, while females have shorter, rounded feathers.
Wyandotte chicks also grow their feathers in different ways, the hens tend to feather up all over in an even fashion whereas the males tend to to grow longer shoulder and tail feathers before filling out later.
Male Wyandotte chickens, or roosters, are typically larger than their female counterparts. They have long, pointed saddle and hackle feathers, which give them a distinctive V-shape appearance. They also have long, curved spurs on the backs of their legs and a larger, redder comb and wattle than females.
Female Wyandotte chickens, or hens, are smaller in size than roosters. They have round, plump bodies and rounded feathers, giving them a more curved, compact appearance. They have shorter, rounded saddle and hackle feathers and a smaller, less vibrant comb and wattle.
Wyandotte chickens also exhibit behavioural differences between the sexes, which can help you determine their sex.
Roosters tend to be more aggressive and territorial than hens. They also tend to be more vocal, crowing loudly and frequently. Additionally, male Wyandotte chickens tend to be more interested in mating behaviour, often attempting to mount other chickens or objects in their environment.
Hens, on the other hand, tend to be more docile and calm than roosters. They are quieter and less vocal, with a soft clucking sound.
Below: Barred Wyandottes can be sexed by their head spots. These are the male head spots.
The males have more of a line or diffuse spot while the hens have a rounder more clearly defined spot on their heads
Below: These are the female head spots.
At what age can you sex Wyandotte chickens?
You can begin to sex Wyandotte chickens accurately from 6 weeks of age. At this point, physical and behavioural differences between males and females become more apparent.
I have found that in can take a full 3 months to be absolutely sure with some types of Wyandottes.
I certainly would wait before culling the males if I was at all unsure of the gender of the chicks.