How to Determine the Sex of Turkey Chicks

How to Determine the Sex of Turkey Chicks. If you plan to sex turkey chicks at a very young age, know that they must either have been bred in a specific cross-mating or the handler must have extensive experience with turkey physiology. Certain methods of sexing require great care so that you don't damage the chicks. Following is are some methods you can use to determine the sex of turkey chicks.

Vent the chicks. This method requires extensive training that can take several months, but an experienced handler will be able to use a forefinger to open the chick's cloaca and expose its genitals. It is possible to injure the chick with this method, so it must be taught by someone who knows what he is doing.

Use a proctoscope-like device to examine inside the chick's large intestine. This device can let you see through the intestine wall to locate the chick's gonads; males will have two testes, and females one ovary. This method also takes thorough training so as not to harm the chick.

Compare the chicks' covert feathers to their primary feathers. For chicks of a cross between a rapid-feathering male and a slow-feathering female, the females will have covert feathers that are always shorter than the primary feathers, because it is a sex-linked characteristic. This can be a useful method of sexing chicks that are only hours old, with minimal training.

Wait until the chicks are eight weeks old, when the males will develop larger feet and shanks and have fewer feathers on their heads. The females will appear more gracile.

Wait until their first breeding season. You don't have to be an expert turkey observer to realize who's who during a mating.