Hen or Roo?

Day 87 of 365

There is a little game chicken people play every spring and summer. Overall, I have gotten pretty good at it, but sometimes, I am wrong. Generally, I can tell if a chicken is a hen or a rooster fairly early on. There are clues even when they are very young–thickness of their legs, tails, behavior, and in some situations, the comb can be a tell.

The last time I was thrown way off was years ago with one of Poe’s babies. That little boy had no comb and did not crow until he was 15 weeks old. I have seen roosters crow at 5 or 6 weeks. It’s the cutest thing ever! When I heard Poe’s baby crowing and realized I would not be getting a hen from my Poe, oh my goodness, my heart broke.

That was the last time I was way wrong on guessing in the hen or roo game, but I have a tricky one now. It’s Rostropovich.

When that chicken was little, I was pretty sure she was a she with an overall smaller size and thinner legs. I could tell quite early on that Dvorak was a boy, and Rostropovich definitely looked different from Dvorak. However, in the last few weeks, Rostropovich’s comb has gotten big enough that I am worried a bit.

Still, there has been no crowing at all from her (please be a her), and we have a Buff Orpington hen (Rostropovich is a Lavender Orpington) with a giant comb. So I try to be hopeful, but I worry my bias in hoping for a hen is influencing my ability to fairly assess the situation.

I took pictures tonight to share the dilemma.

This is Piatigorsky, definitely a girl and the sweetest
chicken in the history of ever.
This is Dvorak, definitely a rooster.
And this is Rostropovich. You can see the dilemma, right?
Also, I think she’s wondering why someone pooped in the
One of my greatest struggles is that I can’t tell anything by
the tails. Usually, the tail is a tell. But this is Dvorak with like
no tail yet. Piatigorsky also has like no tail. And then
Rostropovich has a pretty big tail. I could not get a picture
though. Still, it’s no help when the known hen and known
rooster of the same breed have the exact same tail at this point.
This is Emily, our Buff Orpington hen with a comb as big as
our rooster’s comb.

So what do you think? Is Rostropovich a hen or a roo?

4 thoughts on “Hen or Roo?

  1. I love this guessing game…..and the photos are beautiful!
    I’m going with “hen” on Rostropovich…..but truly, I have no clue.
    Thanks for the Hen -Roo lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, this makes me hopeful! I have to say that I watched her/him closely this morning in terms of behavior with the other chickens, and the behavior is quite passive. The little rooster pecked her/him on the head, and there was no standing up to him at all. Just head down and moved on. It’s a good sign!


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