2 and a half year old Hen becoming a Rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tomgee, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. Tomgee

    Tomgee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have a flock of 16 hens. 14 are less than a year and two of them are about 2 and half years old. These two older hens are the top of the pecking order and the one that is the Top, "alpha" hen has been behaving like a rooster after giving me a very generous batch of eggs for two years (she even got Broody for a while and I had to get her off the eggs). The last few weeks she has started mounting hens like a rooster mating them. And this morning I heard crowing and found her in the coop crowing away like a rooster. I have heard about this happening and was wondering if there was any way to reverse it. I am not allowed to have roosters so I can't introduce one to try and right her ways. Any suggestions???

    BBQJOE Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2015
    Void where prohibited.
    OMG. The world has now given us trans chicken. Where will this stuff end?
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy Tomgee

    I have read of older, alpha hens converting to roosters in a rooster-less flock in all aspects except for being able to fertilise eggs. Apparently they crow, protect the flock, grow spurs and rooster feathering etc. This a quote from livescience:

    "Sex reversals do, in fact, occur—although not very frequently," states a 2000 report published by the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "To date, however, spontaneous sex reversalfrom male to female has not been reported."
    That's because the mechanics of this biological phenomenon seem to work in only one direction. Normally, female chickens have just one functional ovary, on their left side. Although two sex organs are present during the embryonic stages of all birds, once a chicken's female genes kick in, it typically develops only the left ovary. The right gonad, which has yet to be defined as an ovary, testes, or both (called an ovotestis), typically remains dormant.
    Certain medical conditions—such as an ovarian cyst, tumor or diseased adrenal gland—can cause a chicken's left ovary to regress. In the absence of a functional left ovary, the dormant right sex organ may begin to grow, according to Mike Hulet, an associate professor at Penn State University's department of poultry science.
    "If the activated right gonad is an ovotestis or testes, it will begin secreting androgens," Hulet told Life's Little Mysteries. Androgens are the class of hormones that are largely responsible for male characteristics and are normally secreted by the testes. "The production of androgen would cause the hen to undergo behavioral changes and make it act more like a rooster."

    The hen does not completely change into a rooster, however. This transition is limited to making the bird phenotypically male, meaning that although the hen will develop physical characteristics that will make her look male, she will remain genetically female. So while the hen will no longer lay eggs, she won't be fathering any offspring, either.

    Having said that … I have a two and a half year old Bantam Langshan in my rooster-less flock who is not the matriarch but is 2IC. She has never been broody and does not share her food especially meal worms [​IMG]

    Just recently, following a hard moult, she decided she was going to crow and she was protecting the flock, breaking up squabbles, calling them over for treats and sharing her meal worms [​IMG]. She did not go as far as trying to mount them though. The matriarch of the flock was off being a mumma to her 6 weeks old chicks.

    Anyways, Dusty’s behaviour was very disconcerting and I was concerned that she may have something going on but, after two weeks of this behaviour, she is back to being a hen .. no crowing, definitely no meal worm sharing and laying eggs the same as she used to pre-moult.

    Just my humble opinion based on my experience but with Dusty, I think a combination of the matriarch being otherwise occupied, chicks in the flock and her moulting probably resulted in a hormonal imbalance causing her to be a little gender confused for a while there [​IMG]

    The good news … she is back to normal!
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Actually that isn't unheard of in the chicken world. There's a name for it - I can't recall it right now - but if a hen has an injury this can happen. And........

    Never mind! Thanks to finally remembering to check that little New Unread Post notification on the bottom I see that question more capably answered by

  5. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Tee hee Blooie .. yep, that New Unread Post can be a gift or just plain frustrating [​IMG] You get 90% through the process of typing a well worded, spell and grammar checked response that you are pretty proud of and that New Unread Post button pops up and renders your composition pointless ... for once, I got in first [​IMG] lol [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  6. Tomgee

    Tomgee Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the input. I have read some more on it. Someone suggested separating her for a week and holding her to remind her that she is not top dog. She was a really good layer and I hope she can reverse the curse.
  7. Bethan

    Bethan Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2015
    Perth Western Australia
    Hi Tomgee. I had 3 bantams a few year back & neighbours were insisting i had a roo. The hens would have been about 5 years old then when the alpha had the re-assignment. I couldn't believe it at the time! [​IMG]

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