Genetics Pullet or Cockerel?

Sexing Chickens: Crests

Here’s a follow up to my article “Pullet or Cockerel? Understanding Sexual Dimorphism Will Help You To Figure It Out”.

Sexual dimorphism is the differences in appearance between males and females of the same species (i.e. combs, size, colour, etc). Knowing what those differences are will help you sex your birds.

After I posted that piece someone asked if this works for crests as well. And the answer is: yes.

I have had many crested birds, mostly crosses derived from Polish, Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Houdan, Silkie, Cream Legbar and Icelandic. Each breed has different crests.

In this piece I want to show you how to sex Polish birds by looking at their crests. Hens will have symmetrical, rounded crests while roosters are a bit more wild, with streamers (thin wispy feathers). Think of a bowl haircut vs a Rod Stewart do.

Here is Corazon: she is mostly Appenzeller Spitzhauben, which have vertical crests, but she’s clearly inherited her crest from her Polish ancestors.

Her great-great granddad. El Jefe, is a purebred Silver Laced Polish and the foundation of my Polish birds. Her dad, Simon, is ¾ Appenzeller Spitzhauben and ¼ SL Polish. Notice their uneven feathers and streamers?

So next time you’re looking at a Polish bird study their crest for clues as to whether they are a pullet or cockerel.

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