Araucana – sexing not so simple?

Lavender Araucana flock

As many know and perhaps even more have learnt, sexing certain breeds of chicken can be a challenge. Some breeds such as Pekins or Leghorns can be easily identified as male or female when they are only a few weeks old, but others such as the Araucana can prove a challenge, and if you only have the one growing chick it can be teenaged in terms of weeks before it gives away its gender.

Day old lavender Araucana

This day old chick gives absolutely no indication of what sex it is likely to be and as a bit of fun I photographed this bird as it developed.

4 weeks of age

By 4 weeks of age theres perhaps an indication that it might be male, but how much of that is anthropomorphising the cheeky look its eye and scruffy “only a mother could love it” look? The Buff Orpington in the background is female, still thinking its male?

….there goes my contact lens

By 9 weeks the bird is now pretty well feathered but the jury is out on the sex of the bird still. The absence of tail plumes could be an inidicator of its male-ness but with only one bird of this breed growing and little to compare it with, it’s still a bit of guessing game.

10 weeks of age

At the 10 week marker the birds feathering is further developed but still theres no real indication in terms of male feathering or head gear growth… that though is soon to change

13 weeks of age

Within a period of around 10 days the birds feathering changed completely, sickles started to sprout from a more upright tail and the feathers at the base of the tail, and across the saddle had become pointed. This was a male Araucana, and was confirmed with a rather teenage cock-a-doodle-do.

Its far easier when you have more than one chick growing… or is it, what if they are all male or all female? It does happen sometimes.

Experience has shown me that the key is in the comb. Whilst it is relatively diminutive in this breed, a difference can be seen around 7 weeks if you part the feathers on the crest by softly blowing

Female Araucana
Male Araucana

Easy isn’t it? 😉

38 Replies to “Araucana – sexing not so simple?”

  1. We bought 6 Araucana chicks back in May. They were about 6 weeks old, so we were taking pot luck on the sexes. 5 of them turned out to be boys! We now have the unenviable task of trying to find homes for them.
    The hen is lovely though, she’s very friendly and likes to sit on my shoulder. 🙂

  2. Your birds are lovely. I just lost my last purebred Araucana to old age and am thinking of buying some new chicks. Those available locally are from day-old to a few weeks, so I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about early sexing. I feel confident that I could make a wild guess…. but I remember how hard my other chicks were to sex. I was wrong as often as right! My current rooster is about 3/4 Araucana, black and pretty handsome, but not as gentle and downright loveable as his late lavender old man. I’m happy that the search for info led me to your site! Always a pleasure to find someone else who likes araucanas, hellebores and photographing their lovely colourful egg selection! I’ll be back for a big look around!

  3. I paid for half doz Araucana hatching eggs all the same blue tint and i had 4 types of chicks , Yellow ,Black,Brown, light brown .Whats gone on here have i got a mix and match.

    1. Araucanas do come in a variety of colours although it depends on if you bought a specific colour eg black, in which case the chicks should have the same down colour. Its possible you have a mixed batch of araucanas (eg different coloured parent birds) or just some random blue egg laying hybrid. I would check with the breeder you got them from.

  4. Just collected 10 pure breed Lavender Aracuanas, the guy who I got them from had already sexed them and said I had 10 hens, and they were 10/11weeks old. But in the last week they have changed and grown fairly rapidly as i’m a novice to keeping chickens I think I have 2/3 cockerels as they have a lot more red fleshy bits round the face and seem to fight with each other by jumping up and kicking their legs out to each other, and they sound very different to the smaller (hens) and they seem to change the smaller hens when they are sitting down or going for food, next week they will be 12/13weeks of age and by looking at your photo’s I should hopefully know more then fingers crossed they are all girlies but there is something inside me is saying a got a few boys in my flock ?

    1. Mistakes can happen and a decent breeder will take back and either refund or swap out if they’ve made an error in sexing the birds. Fingers crossed theres not too many cockerels in there though 🙂

  5. I know this post is old, but I thought I’d comment anyways. What you have here are not true Araucanas. My guess, they are either Araucana mixed with an Ameracauna, or some other mutt. True Araucanas do not have beards, nor tails. If your birds have beards and tails, as I see in the picture, then they cannot be true Araucanas. This is a very common misconception. me

    1. I’m guessing you are not following the British Standards at all nor the breed specification detailed by the British Araucana Club?
      The British Araucana Club, The Poultry Club of Great Britain, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the British Poultry Council formally recognises only four “types” of purebred Araucana in the UK. Specifically; The Large Tailed, The Bantam Tailed, The Large Rumpless and The Bantam Rumpless. As you will see, here in the UK they can and do have tails. I know though that rumpless is the type that is selected to represent the Araucana in the US, anything tailed is referred to as Ameracauna, which whilst resembling the UK tailed Araucana, is in fact a different breed again.

    2. In Australia Araucanas do have tails and can have beards. The ‘rumpless’ American type is caused by a lethal gene and to many of us not in the US is quite unappealing. Just because there are different standards internationally does not make these birds ‘mutts’. Marie

  6. Hi
    Many thanks for all this great information, just hatched my first Araucana chick last night and i can hear another one hatching in incubator now! Kids are so excited.
    I just brought fertile eggs on internet but now know this first chick is a lavender araucana thanks to your site!
    I’m excited to see if i will be able to tell sex at 7 weeks when blowing on their crest many thanks for that tip! Stacey

  7. Thanks I found this post really useful. Bought four 3 day old araucana chicks a day ago and am so hoping for girls and lots of blue eggs in the future. One question mum was black and pa was lavender and we have two of each colour. Each set has one that is bigger and bossier. Will that determine the sex at all? Will the colour of Mum and Pa determine sex at all? Also one is very noisy (and biggest black) does that make any difference. I don’t mind too much having a couple more roosters as I will put them in with our silkie cross bantam and really make some crazy chicken babes… but I would also really like to keep some as pure breeds for the joy of it. Thanks again Steph 🙂

  8. I have hatched my own Arauncanas and have 13 chickens which are 5 weeks old today. It is interesing to see some significant differences between these chicks which arguably is giving an indication of sex. To be fair I have no idea what sex they are. Some have a small red cone appearing whilst others do not. Those with the red cone are the firey ones often having stand off’s during the day and I think they are male. It is fasinating but i am keen to know the sex of these chicks as soon as possible. Its great fun though but hopefully I have more hens than cockerels!

  9. I have just hatched 5 gorgeous little lavender araucanas. I’m guessing from this article it is not possible to sex them using the wing feather technique I have read about?

    1. You are correct, it’s not really possible. The feather sexing technique is only reliable to on hybrid chicks where a fast feathering cockerel such as a Leghorn is crossed with slow-feathering hens such as a Rhode Island Red & it needs to be done within the first 3 days as the males feather growth will have caught up by then. Hope the helps.

  10. Hi, I have 8 araucanas i have hatched out from eggs i bought, one especially is so friendly and wants to sit on my shoulder all the time, they are only 5 weeks but are pretty big already and 7 have quite prominent tufted feathers on their heads,the other has more of a smother look, I guess that doesn’t help with sexing them?

    1. Not really no as its possible they may be from different parents (or different hens) and that those visual elements are not sex specific. Fingers crossed I’m wrong though and all 7 ‘tufted’ ones turn out to be pullets! 🙂

  11. I breed Araucana occasionally as I have a lovely flock & I would agree with all the sexing BUT my boy chicks also like to have a bit of rough & tumble together at even 6>7 weeks old.
    I guess it’s showing who is the dominant male even at that age. My little female chicks choose to observe. That’s when I know who’s which sex.

    1. Hi Lynette, agreed, the lads can become more boisterous which is a useful indicator. Personally though I wouldn’t cull out based on that diagnostic as I’ve got it wrong due to quiet lads and loutish lasses 🙂

  12. Hi, I have just bought a trio of cuckoo araucanas that I wish to breed from, will the offspring all turn out to be cuckoo or will I get a mixed batch of chick colurs, can I then breed the new bourne hens back to the rooster or do I need a new rooster, I did hear that brother & sister should not to mated but parent & offspring was ok, them again I have also seen brother sister was ok as well??????

    can you confirm

    1. Hi, without knowing the precise make up of the parent birds I can’t say what the offspring will come out like.

      In terms of breeding back to the male, this is ok as long as you select healthy strong stock. Do some research into ‘closed flocks’ and this should help with your understanding of line breeding and interbreeding. I hope that helps

  13. I have3birds and one has the comb. But the two that don’t have started crowing. I’m so confused. Today they started all fighting. I’m gutted as I was certain I had a great trio 2 female one male. Could anyone help me sex them. I’m on the poultry pages on Facebook x

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