Give me your tired….
….your poor….
….your huddled masses longing to be free….

This weekend, we brought home a box of new baby chicks from the little store in town. Four Golden Comets, four Rhode Island Reds, and four White Leghorns–all breeds known for dependable laying. I want hens. All hens. 52 and Eddie at the little store “sexed” the straight run chicks to pick out a dozen egg producers for me.

How’d they sex ’em? Pick ’em up, turn ’em over in your hand, and if they draw their legs up to their body, they’re female. If they stretch their legs out, they’re male. If one leg draws up and the other leg stretches out, you put it back and try another. (When that happens, Eddie says, “Hmm, that one’s no good.”)
Now, I’m not so sure about this method, but! When I came home and looked up Golden Comet chickens on the internet, I found out they can be sexed by color as chicks. Golden Comet male chicks are all white and females are light brown. These four light brown Golden Comets are easy to differentiate from the yellow White Leghorn chicks and the darker brown Rhode Island Reds, so I actually believe they sexed the Golden Comets correctly for hens (they didn’t know about the color-link), which gives me hope for the Rhode Island Reds’ and White Leghorns’ chances of also being female chicks. There is one little chick that is almost white, though, and I fear it’s a male Golden Comet masquerading as a White Leghorn.
If that one turns out to be a rooster, I’m taking it back for a refund!

We’re keeping them in a cardboard box for now, with feed and water and a light. They’re too little to put out in the chicken house yet, but they’ll be moving to the brooder soon.
Of course, I’m planning to take charge of these chickens from the get-go. No more farm animals running my life and bossing me around. And no more roosters. Right, little white chick?
Stop looking at me like that! I’m naming you REFUND, you hear that?

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on April 6, 2009  

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  1. 4-6

    Refund! I love it! What a great name! I hope it’s not going to happen though as that’s one cute face. :) All the chicks are a beautiful color. Maybe if Refund is a rooster, he can give ‘mean rooster’ a run for his money. xxoo

  2. 4-6

    Ah ha ha ha ha ha!! Just keeps these chicks away from the union organizing bunch you already have, and you may have a shot at being the boss!! LOL! and Refund! love it, love it, love it…. but if it ends up being a rooster, you may have to switch out with Mean Rooster….

  3. 4-6

    Aren’t they just the best! Where are you keeping the little darlings. So weird you would have this on your blog as last night my sweet patootie and I were talking about maybe perhaps letting one of our hens go broody – one is spending an inordinate time in the nesting box. I got my goils and one John Wayne as day olds – unsexed. They are old timey heritage breeds – a bit tougher to sex I think. Anyway the place I got them was rampant with fowl and I paid more for three speckled sussexes for instance but got only one – she’s great though – and only wanted two rhode island reds and got four and of course they were all girls and the beauteous golden laced wyandottes were all boys and had to go to freezer camp and the beauteous plymouth rocks were likewise. At any rate we were thinking it might be kind of nice to see a hen and a bunch of wee ones roaming around. The roaming around is a problem however – they have taken to roaming too far and sweet patootie has become fearful and goes and calls them back like the pied piper of the subdivision whereas I say -‘let them fend for themselves’. hmmm…he didn’t even want them and now we’re thinking more. I like that in a guy.
    Have fun and keep telling us about it. Between reading your blog and keeping mine up to date I don’t have time to do any real work but I’ll get to it soon…

  4. 4-6

    There are 6 chicks that are a week old living under a light in my house right now. These came from the hatchery sexed as pullets with a 90% rate of accuracy. I think I like my odds better than yours. I have neighbors too close to appreciate crowing in the wee hours of the morning, so if any turn out to be roosters it/he will be named Chicken McNugget. I’ve butchered chickens before and will do it again if I have to. I’ve got 3 Speckled Sussex and 3 Easter Eggers. Never raised either before but was looking to try something different. I should end up with blue/green and pale brown eggs in about 5 months.

    I hope yours turn out to be pullets. I’ve had both White Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds before and both are egg laying machines.

  5. 4-6

    Cute post. I always wondered how they sexed the chicks. Thanks for clearing that up. tee hee
    Love the name! I sure hope it’s a hen. You might have another Spartacus on your hands.

  6. 4-6

    My grand dughter, Charlotte enjoys you’re blog. She’s 7 and this :snuggle: helps her reading. I enjoy it also.

  7. 4-6

    so the other day i was reading the neighborhood rules to see where my garden would be legal and i ran across the “pets” section. it basically read like this…..

    dog, cats, rabbits, hamsters, and caged birds…..

    ray goes “caged birds?”

    “yeah honey, caged birds.” (what… does this guy want a parrot or something?)

    he looks at me….. “CAGED BIRDS.”

    holy crap!!!!!!! “CAN I GET SOME CHICKENS!!!???!!!!”

    he looks at me flatly….. “No.”

    what the!!??!! oh for two marvelous seconds i really though i was getting some chickens. i am soooooo jealous.

    the white one looks so cute. you can always put him/her on the porch and raise him as a dog!!!

  8. 4-6

    Refund is going to be trouble. Mark my words! :)

    They’re so cute! How do you keep from cuddling them all the time?

  9. 4-6

    ahh, those little ones are way too cute! :chicken:

  10. 4-6

    Oh they are so cute. I miss having chicks. I hope my hens start to get serious about being broody soon.

  11. 4-6

    “No more farm animals running my life and bossing me around.”

    Way, way too late for that, hon.

  12. 4-6

    I LOVE the chicks!! I can’t wait to get started with my chickens. We are in the process of building a chicken coop, if mother nature would cooperate. Hubby says its not meant to be because it rains every week on his day off. But I’m not going to let that stop me, because I want chickens!! I agree with you I don’t want any roosters. My daughter got attacked by one when she was only 3 and she still has bad memories of that, so no roosters for us!!!
    I hear West VA is supposed to get some snow tonight, hope it misses you!!!

  13. 4-6

    Trish up there is right. Put refund on the porch and Refund can choose to be a dog or a sheep. Life is good, and you won’t hurt Refund’s feelings. Besides, look at that cute little face.

  14. 4-6

    I’m still chuckling – love the chix pix!!! But the sexing – oh, my. Does anyone else remember the woman in Huck Finn (or Tom Sawyer?) who observed that one of the boys was really a girl when the two tried to disguise themselves as girls? She tossed something at his lap – and here my memory is foggy, but it went something like this: “Girls spread their legs to catch the item in their skirts, and boys put their knees together” – of course Huck and Tom put their knees together and got busted. Do I remember that right?

    Sorry, Suzanne, but you’re going to fall in love with Refund, feed him chicken cookies, and you’ll never return him to the store. :chicken:

  15. 4-6

    They are all just adorable. I love newborn baby chickies. Poor little Refund though. That little chick will hopefully be the best one.

  16. 4-6

    They are too cute. I love the name REFUND :)

  17. 4-6

    Well now that method of sexing chicks is a new one on me. I’ll be curious to know if it works out for you. I’m anxiously awaiting a batch to hatch out of my incubator today.

  18. 4-6

    The little white one stood out from the very first picture…..Oh and the LOOK in his eyes!Dont know if you can x em that way but it sure looks cocky!

  19. 4-6

    Oh please Keep the white one!! If it is a boy, you can train him to be nice and get rid of the old meanie one!!! :yes:

  20. 4-6

    That is the cutest thing! What a nice start to the day. All pictures from your blog are cute, but gotta love a “Refund”.

  21. 4-6

    oh boy. Either you or I are going to be sorely disappointed in a few weeks. I bought 23 chickens yesterday. 22 with legs straight out are supposed to be pullets and 1 with legs tucked is supposed to be a rooster. One of us is highly misinformed. At least mine are meat birds and I can butcher them in a few months if I am the one with all the roosters. I can’t have 22 “Refunds” running around- how confusing would THAT be! I was just hoping to have several hens and a rooster stick around so I could reproduce my own meat birds.

  22. 4-6

    Little Refund is adorable, but he does already look like trouble!

  23. 4-6

    They are just too cute! It makes it hard to think about farming from a financial angle when they make you want to cuddle them all day.

  24. 4-6

    Baby chicks are sooo cute.

  25. 4-6

    You know… I think Beatrix Potter would have enjoyed reading your blog.:)

  26. 4-6

    You guys need to watch Dirty Jobs more often lol The method had something to do with a finger checking certain parts :shocked: Refund struck me right away as having an attitude :lol:

  27. 4-6

    They are irresistable…little ova-producers.

  28. 4-6

    Your post brings back memories. We always had chickens at the farm. We’d have chickens now except I don’t think it would please the neighbors! It used to be our job to feed the chickens and collect the eggs, not so good if the hen went broody. They turn a bit grumpy and possessive about their eggs and pecked hands and fingers aren’t much fun!

    Refund is a great name. :)

  29. 4-6

    My college roommate had a summer job sexing chicks at a hatchery. (Her dad was a manager.) She told me that you can tell male/female based on the wing feathers alinement. One had feathers lined up evenly, ther other sex had staggered/uneven wing feathers. I don’t remember which was which, tho.
    Good Luck w/ the chicks.

    BTW – I just returned from camping. I made some of your biscuit mix & took it. WONDERFUL! I made biscuits, and pancakes in camp – my boys thank you! *G* That recipe is definitely a keeper!

  30. 4-6

    Baby chicks bring back lots of memories. I was raised on a farm and we were dirt poor (but funny I didn’t think we were poor). Every spring we got baby chicks, we lived in a big old farmhouse a unused upstairs bedroom served as a place to keep them warm until old enough to go to the chicken house. That would probably be child neglect or something now. I can still hear the peeps and of course still smell them. Best, I can feel how they felt in my little hands.

  31. 4-6

    Aw! Peepers! I :heart: peepers … the best part of spring! Unfortunately, my landlady would probably frown at the addition of little chickens in my apartment now. Good luck with those White Leghorns. I sure didn’t like them, they were way too easily excited and went ‘off their lay’ too often, and our one WL rooster was positively diabolical! I always had much better success with RIs, Buff Orpingtons, and the heavier breeds. Looking forward to your progress reports!

  32. 4-6

    How cute their little wings are…just want to cuddle them all.. :heart: :heart:

  33. 4-6

    Name him “Stew” and you’ll get some respect!!!

  34. 4-6

    chickens are like potato chips , you just can’t have one dozen……

  35. 4-6

    I love chick pics!

  36. 4-6

    Suzanne, I saw an episode of “Have It’s Made” on the Discovery channel not to long ago and it was at a hatchery. They were sexing chicks by the feather alignment method mentioned by Donna above. I wrote it down so I would remember it.
    The two rows of feathers on the wings are uneven= pullet
    The two rows of feathers on the wings are even= rooster
    Do me a favor and test it out and see if it works. I haven’t had any chicks since I wrote this down. You will love your Golden Comets…they are laying machines.

  37. 4-6

    Wonder if the little white is a rooster if Spartacus would act different toward it than the other little chicks…. You would think with all the modern technology someone would come up with a sure thing about sexing chicks. :pawprint:

  38. 4-6

    :chicken: Oh..chicks are the cutest things ever, I really wish I could have just 1, but we have no room. :chicken:

  39. 4-7

    I’ll tell you all I know about chicken genetics, which sadly isn’t a whole lot. LOL

    The feather wing test thing works on some breeds not on all. Breeders have selected for this trait so some breeds can be sexed this way. Others have to be vent sexed and only a few people are skilled enough to do this. Apparently, bantams must be near impossible because almost all hatcheries only sell them straight run (unsexed). The sex link ones like the Golden Comets were bred specifically for the sex color differentiation at hatching and efficiently high egg production of course. Sadly since they are a hybrid you can’t breed them and be able to color sex generation two. Instead you’ll get mutt chickens that could end up with any of the traits of the original parent cross.

  40. 4-7

    The little white one looks like Sam the Eagle from….maybe the muppets? I can’t recall, but he’s cute–I posted about chickens today too!

  41. 4-9

    I didn’t even know the Walton Thriftway had chicks, but your post was the undoing of me. We now have a dozen new chicks residing in our laundry room. Who can resist the fluffy cuteness!

  42. 4-16

    That last chick looks like a baby eagle…what a stare.

  43. 8-4

    We just moved to a rural area and are thinking of starting up a little chicken farm. I have a few questions and if anyone would like to answer them for me that would be great!

    What types of chickens are best for egg laying? I was thinking of getting three different types.

    How much maintenance does a chicken coop require? We have lots of snow here so I don’t want it to be very much?

    Thanks alot! By the way Refund is adorable! Trust me you won’t be able to bring him back once you get to know him!

    • 8-4

      The best egg layers I’ve had so far are Rhode Island Reds! The coop doesn’t require much maintenance, just periodic cleaning out and changing out the straw bedding.

  44. 4-2

    Refund!Cute! White leghorns are know for their laying ability. They average approx. 360 eggs a year, But they lay white eggs. Rhode Island Reds are excellant too but tend to be mildly aggressive in the coop and fairly skittish Black Autralorpes Are my personal favorite. They’re not usually skittish and very seldom agressive, but they do like to let it be known their the boss in the coop. The two latter breeds lay brown eggs. The worst rooster I ever owned was a bantam Old English Game Brown and Red. I could only set his food and water up at night. His name was JERK.

  45. 2-19

    Ha ha ha…it’s been six years(2/19/15)now,so what happened to little Refund? Julie’s “mean rooster” named JERK is hilarious too! :chicken:

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