Our buffs are now 10 weeks old. They are now half way to “maturity” for this breed, which is considered to be 20 weeks. However, now is a great time to check up on how many of my chickens are pullets (young females, not yet laying) and how many are cockerels (young males). You can tell this pretty well at this age because of the secondary sex characteristics. This still isn’t an exact science at this age, but you can get a pretty good guess. If a chicken is a pullet, at this age, she will generally have a smaller, paler comb and wattles. You can see this very well on the picture of this little cutie.
You will also see well defined tail feathers on a pullet as well.
A cockerel, on the other have will have a more developed and red comb and wattle.
**Sorry for the poor picture, I didn’t get a good shot of a cockerel’s head, but this shows what I’m talking about.**
Their tail feathers are less defined on their edges and more pointed and tend to be droopy.
One thing I found interesting, a few of our cockerels have darker, secondary tail feathers. I’m sure that doesn’t meet the breed standard. You can see the droopy, primary tail feathers, that denote a cockerel, above the darker ones.
According to the current count, we have – drum roll please – 13 Buff Orpington Cockerels, 12 Buff Orpington Pullets and one Black Cochin Cockerel. These totals aren’t totally set in stone, yet, but it shows that the numbers are fairly well balanced. I believe that more of the 6 chicks that died initially were mostly pullets since we had a higher pullet count to start with.
As you may have noticed in the background of some of the pictures above, we now have a door for the Buffs to get out into the run. Hopefully this will make our morning and evening routines MUCH easier.
The buffs are also starting to hit their more rebellious “teenage” phase. They did not appreciate having their pictures taken.