Newborn chicks can survive without food or water for the first 48 hours, and sometimes, they last up to 3 days. This is because they have already absorbed all the nutrients they need before they were hatched. So, if you are into the poultry business, shipping them does not really pose a risk. Nevertheless, it is also important that you know how to identify the sex of a chick. Sexing chicks would help you choose what to send to the buyer.
There are a lot of ways to if a chick is a male or female. But in general, they are only two techniques. The first one was developed by Japanese scientists during the early 1920s. This process involves flipping the chick upside down and studying its cloaca (or vent) using a binocular loupe or naked eye. Sometime in 1933, a lot of Japanese chick sexers migrated to the US and earned good money for their unusual skill.
But because this technique takes years to master, another way of sexing chicks is through crossbreeding. Amazingly, you can also determine the sex of a sex-linked chick by checking their color, pattern, as well as length of its wings. Although this technique is also a bit tough to learn, some characteristics are now common to cross breeders.
A good example is when a New Hampshire rooster is mated to a Delaware hen which is very common. In most cases, the chick is a male if its pattern resembles that of his mother. On the other hand, a male chick usually has his father’s solid red pattern. However, male and female offsprings of Delaware rooster and a New Hampshire hen are likely to have the same feather pattern as their father.
Likewise, you can also sex an offspring of a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Plymouth Rock hen. To identify male chicks, their heads usually have a white patch while their beaks and shanks (bottom part of legs) are yellowish. For female chicks, their heads are usually black and they have dark beaks and shanks. This is why they are sometimes called black sex links.