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How to Determine a Chick's Gender Before It Hatches

By Jen Davis

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

No surefire scientific method allows your average backyard chicken breeder to reliably determine the gender of chicks before the egg hatches; however, that has certainly not stopped chicken owners from trying to do so. An assortment of egg characteristics can help you guess the gender of an egg. Being able to accurately predict the gender of a chick by examining the egg takes a lot of experience and a fair amount of luck. It is worthwhile to attempt to guess the gender of your eggs because hatching a batch of laying hens is more profitable than hatching roosters.

Step 1

Attach a needle to a string and dangle it over the egg for a minute or two. The needle is supposed to move in a circular motion for a pullet, or young female hen, and in a back-and-forth motion for cockerels, or young male roosters.

Step 2

Examine the shape of the egg to determine whether it is shaped like an oval or if it has a point on one end. Eggs that have a distinctly oval shape are supposed to contain pullets, or young female hens, and those with points are supposed to contain cockerels, or young roosters, according to one commonly heard method of guessing chickens genders before they hatch.

Step 3

Have your poultry specialist veterinarian perform clinical tests on the eggs to determine what gender each chick will be. Tests exist to determine whether an embryo will be male or female based on the amniotic fluids inside the egg.

Items you will need

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Veterinarian


  • 💡 No method of determining chick gender is 100 percent accurate other than simply waiting for the chicks to be born and then watching them develop.
  • 💡 It can be costly to have your veterinarian determine the gender of your unhatched chicks, depending on the number of eggs you want to have checked and the facilities and equipment your veterinarian has access to. Such service may not be available in all areas.


  • Handling chicken eggs will always put them at some level of risk -- they can be dropped or broken, or become too cold, damaging the embryos inside the eggs.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images


Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.