Determining the sex of baby turkeys can be challenging. A young turkey's developing sex organs are difficult to see, and often, males and females look similar. Although some farmers argue that you can determine the sex of a chick by the shape of the egg it hatches from, this is not an accurate means of determining whether baby turkeys are male or female. The most effective way to determine the sex of the birds is by vent sexing.
Hold a turkey chick in your hand, rear end up. Its neck should rest between your middle and ring fingers and its legs should fall between your pinky and ring fingers.
Squeeze the chick's lower abdomen to evacuate any waste from the cloaca, or lower intestinal cavity. Avoid a mess by hold the turkey chick over a waste container during evacuation.
Lift the chick to eye level and squeeze open the cloaca; press on the outer left edge of the cloaca, or vent, with a left finger. Use a thumb and pointing finger to pull open the right side of the opening.
Look for a male process, a transparent bump that sticks up from the middle fold of the vent's interior. It should protrude almost to the cloaca opening. The presence of the process means the baby turkey is a male. You can use a magnifying glass if you have trouble seeing the small organs.
Look for a shallow depression to determine if your turkey is female. if your turkey has a small bump that looks more like a fold, it is also female.
Confirm whether your turkey is male or female by weighing. Male turkey chicks generally weigh more than females.
Observe the turkey chick; if the chick begins strutting, or gobbling and shaking its body, it's a male. Male turkeys as young as a day old may begin strutting, a mating practice that they maintain throughout life.
Things you need
- Baby turkey
- Waste container
- Magnifying glass (optional)