In this post:
- It’s All in the Call
– Cockerel or Pullet?
– The Same Goes for Guinea Fowl
- What’s Farm Dog Luke Been Up To Lately?
- Around the Farm News & Photos
There is so much discussion in various groups on Facebook and on other websites about how you can identify the sex of your farm birds. It’s been a learning process for us, but after a few years of this, we’ve come to one conclusion: It’s all in the call.
Cockerel or Pullet?
Sure, you can study the size and feather growth of your chickens, or the size of the wattles on your guinea fowl (the funny things on the sides of their heads). We have gotten fairly good at identifying cockerels (young roosters) by watching them as they grow.
But our latest two hatchlings (now several weeks old) fooled me. As seen in a recent post “Farm Surprises“, the rooster’s first crows can be funny sounding! So, we know when it’s a newbie, and not one of our two older roosters. When we recently heard that sound come from the coop, we knew we had a rooster in our latest two (we figured we did anyway, it seems to be pretty much 50/50 when you hatch your own). However, I thought it was “Lemonade” and hubby thought it was “Frankie”.
We had suspected either one, Lemonade has the long legs that some of our last roosters had, but Frankie had more flamboyant feathers, and some seemed pointy which is another sign. Still, I wasn’t sure (or worried both were roosters, which could still be the case, some start crowing much earlier than others!). Usually, they’ll stop crowing by the time you make it out to the coop to try and see but I got lucky one morning. Hubby was right, Frankie is the rooster.
That’s bad and good: he’s a prettier bird, but we probably won’t be able to keep him, since too many roosters can be problematic. I had hoped (and still hope) Lemonade is a hen, because she looks like our White Leghorns and that breed has proven to be our best layers (we had two, but unfortunately lost one to a coyote this summer).
The Same (only opposite) Goes for Guinea Fowl
Now, when it comes to guinea fowl, it’s the females who will stand out by their call, not the males. We see very little difference in the size of our males and females, in the size of their wattles, or in the “bustle”, their back end. The bustle is said to be puffier in the females but some of our males look that way too. Many people say you can identify them from any of those things, but we disagree.
The only way to identify a female guinea, in our opinion (until you catch them laying eggs) is by their two-tone call, heard in the second half of the video below (the first half shows our newest guineas enjoying some freedom in the coop).
They are also different than chickens in that they are much gentler when it comes to mating (the female will choose just one male), and we can have as many males as we want. They do have some spats in the spring, when mating first starts but they mostly settle down after that.
Of course, we can’t forget our blog star, Farm Dog Luke. He is suffering from his usual late summer allergies. However, I think he’s doing a little better with it this year, we got some hemp chews for him from Only Natural Pet, and between those and Benadryl, we’ve been able to reduce his scratching and licking some. With fall weather approaching, meaning cooler nights, the house will be closed up more too, which always seems to help him. Normally, this only lasts a few weeks for him (it gets much better after our first frost, though we hate to rush that for the garden’s sake!). The cooler weather also means that walks will be easier (the mosquitoes have been brutal this year, along with a very hot/humid spell, so walks have been reduced), and more enjoyable!
We got him a new leash, the Mighty Paw Dual Handle Bungee leash*, thanks to the recommendation from our friends at My GBGV Life. I love it! The bungee in the leash really makes his pulling much easier on my arms and shoulders. He also just seems to walk better on it, almost like he feels the resistance and doesn’t pull as hard.
We have other exciting farm news – my hubby is going to semi-retire at the end of this year, which means next year he’ll have a lot more time to devote to the farm! We have lots of plans and ideas and will keep you posted on that! He’s going to take over a lot of stuff that I used to do before I had the shop and no longer had time for it all.
We finally got enough summer weather for my taste, and now I am looking forward to fall. We can see the days getting shorter already. We’re very in tune with that since it affects when the flock will go to bed at night! The summer was mostly good for the birds, though we did lose 1 guinea hen and 2 chickens to a coyote. They’ve been on “lockdown”, as I jokingly call it (it just means no free ranging, they can still be outdoors in their run), off and on for the last few weeks. We thought the coyotes had moved on finally, but just a few nights ago we heard them calling right out in our yard! We’ve never had them that close to the house, so that was a bit freaky. We’ve got some things in the works now to try to keep them away, so keep your fingers crossed for us that it is successful!
Happy end of summer, here’s some other photos from around the farm!!
Yay for Martha! She bounced back from her ordeal last year. I’m sorry you lost a few this summer.😥
Every year we learn something new about how to protect them better while still letting them free range. Right now we are trying a new thing, and so far, so good! (knock wood).
Hopefully, farm birds aren’t anything like cats … just when you think you have them figured out ….
ps – Luke, you are looking handsome, as always!
Oh, they are like cats, trust me!
Luke thanks you! ♥
The Gang at LLB says
Wow! Sounds like you are keeping very busy!! Wonderful bird info and we hope Luke’s allergies settle down soon!
Luke is doing much better now, thank you!
Ellen J Pilch says
Very interesting post. I know nothing about any kind of chickens. Fingers crossed Lemonade is a girl. XO
Thank you for the help, I think we’ll need it! 🙂 ♥
I’m glad that all the birds are doing well. You know how much I love seeing Luke. He’s so handsome. A wonderful ranch hand.
Have a fabulous day and week. A big smooch to Luke. ♥
Luke is the best assistant ever! He sends big smooches right back. ♥
Brian Frum says
All of your feathered friends are amazing and how nice to see Miracle Martha! Luke, howdy pal!!!
Sexing chickens and guinea fowl is so different than the way we have seen swans sexed. It’s not quite as personal and invasive. Hey Luke – mom has been giving me the supplement Quercetin Bromelain for months now and it’s helped a lot with itchies and I don’t have any more black spots on my belly.
I imagine our method for sexing birds is easier than other birds like swans! I don’t think I’d want to get overly personal with them. LOL
The hemp supplement Luke gets has Quercetin Bromelain in it, but maybe he needs a bit more than that? While he doesn’t seem as bad this year, he’s still scratching and licking more than I would like.
Others suggested red beets so we just started adding those to his food, and we’ll see if that helps too!
Tails Around the Ranch says
The flock looks and sounds great. Funny you mentioned the coyote, we encountered a fox on this morning’s walk. Haven’t seen a fox in the neighborhood in years. Congrats to your hubby though I suspect he’ll be busier than ever in retirement. Stay well and have a good Labor Day.
Hubby’s list grows already, and he’s not even there yet. LOL
The Island Cats says
How interesting that you can tell the sex of the birds by their call. A lot easier than turning them over to check. 🙂 Hope Luke’s allergies subside. The changing seasons always seems to be a problem for those that have allergies…both human and animal.
I don’t think many of our birds would put up with being turned upside down (or even being caught in the first place), LOL, so I’m glad we figured this out!
Luke is much better now, thank you.
we wish you a super fall… we are with you, summer can go home now ;O) and we are happy that you can spend more time with your farm next year ;O)
We just need a little more fall sunshine, then we’ll be happy. We’ve had enough rain lately!
My Golden Life says
WOW! So much going on for you guys! Great news for the hubby – and you – that he’s going to semi-retire and be able to take on more of the farm “chores”!! Congratulations!
I wholeheartedly agree with Madison on the dehydrated red beets for Luke’s allergies! I started using them – and the carrots – for Bogie and I hardly see him scratch at all. Lately tho he’s being picky about eating them in his food. I may have to find a different way to get him to eat them. He’s in his pre-adolescent stage and driving me crazy.
Sorry you lost one (some?) of your flock to the coyotes! That stinks! And having them so close to the yard would freak me out, too!
Here’s to Autumn!! Though it hasn’t been all that bad here this summer, we have had humid spells where the only thing to do is to come into the air-conditioned house and watch a movie with the pups and hubby. After a few hours, the humidity dropped a bit and we could take short walks around the yard.
We tried the beets and they helped so much! Luke is all done with those allergies for this year, and hopefully with the beets now we won’t have to deal with them next year. And he has no issues eating them (but he’s not known for being fussy, that’s for sure! LOL).
We may have the coyote problem under control….knock wood….no details until we’re sure we’re there, don’t want to jinx it!
Have you tried adding beets to Lukes food? Bailie hasn’t had her usual summer skin rash this year and we are hoping it is from the dehydrated beets we are all getting with our dinners. That’s exciting your hubby is going to cut back on the work and will be able to do more on the farm. It is the ideal place for both of you and we are thrilled you have your happy place and dream.
Thank you! We do love our farm, and buying this place was the best decision we ever made! 🙂
Thank you SO much for reminding me about the beets! I had them on my list to add to Luke’s food, but then completely forgot why, and never did get any!
I have some now, the brand you and Sue both use, and I love that I can just add it right to his meals. I’ll let you know if it helps, paws crossed!
The beets really helped! Thank you again!! ♥
Wow, lots going on at ‘The Farm’!
I was chatting with hubby today about chickens and raising fowl…but it was just idle talk, I don’t think I want to start that…LOL! Our neighbors have had chickens and guinea fowl, and the chickens seemed friendlier and one of the neighbors said they actually make nice pets.
Hope Luke will soon be rid of all the itchiness he suffers with.
Benji sat and listened to your video with his head cocked as if he was thinking whatever is THAT?!
Chickens can be very friendly, depending on the breed. We have some that like to sit right on my hubby’s lap! Even if they don’t enjoy being picked up, they all run to greet us when we get home (both chickens and guineas). They are far more social than I expected them to be.
They are all so much fun, but can be a lot of work too!
Friends suggested to add beets to Luke’s food to help his itchiness as well, so we’re trying that too!