TELLING GIRLS FROM BOYS BY THEIR COLOURS AND PATTERNS
QPlease explain the term autosex. I read it in a recent issue of Your Chickens.
A Victoria says: In the 1930s there was a large hike in poultry research in Cambridge and one of the interesting findings was that certain colours/patterns of chicken plumage resulted in day-old chicks having specific colours/patterns for each sex. This is also know as sex linkage. This is very useful commercially as vent-sexing chickens is not an option without serious training. Since then, broiler chickens have had a fast feathering gene added to them which gives females small wing feathers at hatching. Thus anyone can sex huge numbers of commercial poultry quickly and easily. Originally, the pure bred Rhode Island Red cockerel if mated to a genetically silver hen, such as a White Sussex, would produce brown females — hence the colour of commercial hybrid layers — and yellow males. There is an autosexing pure breed which uses the cuckoo pattern with the male chicks having a large white spot on the head and the females a small white spot. Pure breed chicken keepers still take advantage of this colour/pattern finding so that they can feed the cockerels separately for the table.
Sex linkage is very useful commercially as vent-sexing chickens is not an option without serious training