Sexing Silkies

Silkies can be quite late to mature (perhaps as much as 8 or 9 months old). Because they take so long to develop it is very hard to know if your silkie chicks are cockerels or pullets, particularly if they are not from the same genetic line. Silkie cockerels tend to be bigger in size and the comb will usually develop sooner than on a  pullet but the first more obvious sign is at around 4-6 months when their hackles start to develop ‘streamers’. Even so it is often not 100% certain until they begin to crow or lay an egg!

A Silkie Rooster and Hen

12 Responses to “Sexing Silkies”

  • Maddie:

    Hi i was just wondering how old these silkies in the photo are, because i have four 8 week old silkies and i want to know what sex they are, as I am not allowed roosters where I live.

  • I don’t know how old the Silkies are in the photo but it is unlikely that you will be able to tell their sex very easily before at least 6 months old.

  • Mary Wade:

    Sad but true! My “female” silkie (no male features at ALL!)crowed today, then mounted a hen, whereas the one I felt certain was male (big round wattles, swept back crest, more obvious comb) hasn’t uttered a peep, let alone a full-fledged crow! And they are the same age, from the same chicken lady. I had an older silkie (over 6 mos. old) who also looked very male but he too never crowed or tried to mount the hens. What’s with that??!!??!!

  • chicken parent:

    I have 3 silkies that are 5 1/2 -6 weeks old. One has a pretty distinct comb that I’m thinking is a roo and is the most outgoing, one has no comb and is quite shy particularly around the other chicks but sweet when i hold her,and one has a small but developing comb. We also have 1 barred plymouth rock, 1 white australorp, 1 ameracauna, and 1 speckled sussex–of the same age. They are all hen for sure. We are new to this, so will the silkie mate with the larger breed hens?

  • It is physically possible for him to mate with the larger hens – he is certainly likely to try 🙂

  • Laurie:

    I have 4 silkie chicks that are 6 weeks old. 1 of the 3 has small narrow comb, and no wattles. The other 3 have wider combs, and noticable small wattles. I’m assuming 1 pullet, 3 roo’s. Is it too early to assume?

  • It’s too early to know for certain but you may well be right – those are the sorts of signs to look out for.

  • Ellie:

    I have 7 Silkie chicks that are roughly 11 and 12 weeks, 6 of them have combs coming through (even though one is tiny) and one has none coming through at all. Is it too early too tell? I want to get rid of the roosters because we have 2 other roosters and we don’t want anymore.

  • It is very hard to know with silkies until they are fully matured – even experienced silkie owners can often find themselves proved wrong when sexing youngsters.

  • melanie:

    I have 3 silkie young chickens not sure what sex they are they are between 6 to 12 weeks 1 of them is a half silkie with something else, Im really hoping they are female. Can 2 cocks live together happy, with 1 hen ? Im so attached to them now, they have grown up together will they be ok?

  • Roosters can be a problem but they don’t always fight constantly – it is only if they both want to be ‘alpha’ that the scuffles can happen. Two roosters will probably be too much for one hen though – the ideal ratio is 1 rooster for every 10 hens.

  • Shelly:

    Ok, I know this has been posted long ago, but…I purchased for silkies “hens” from an extremely experienced breeder after the TRAGIC loss of my previous Silkie Lucy, the last of my 3 beautiful Silkie’s taken by a neighborhood dog :'( When Lucy was gone, I couldn’t take it. I went and bought the four, though I love them, they don’t replace her AT ALL. AAAAND, two are roosters!! Had them for months and no eggs, and I was convinced that at least one was a rooster. It seemed overnight and I came out and one, that still looks like a female was crowing, and another was crowing and seemed to morph into a rooster overnight!? They are bantams, where my 3 previous were around the size of my Leghorns. So, it took a couple months, but now the other two are laying!? And what is also very strange, is that when those four are together, it’s no problem, but add my nine Leghorns, and there’s always a problem! So much so, that my tiny black Silkie ‘Knight Rider’ (my son, lol), got moved to the bachelor pygmy goat pen (needles to say, he’s not thrilled, but my girls come first.) The rest are all fluffy white, and the (very lucky and happy) bantam Silkie ‘Roo2’ (again, my son), is loving life! He dotes on his little silkies, but likes all the lady’s 😉🐓🐔

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Seperating the Pullets