Can a female mallard change sex?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by dacdeihl, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. dacdeihl

    dacdeihl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2009
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    I bought two duckling in March. Over the first six weeks and since they both feathered into female feathers. Dark and light brown feathers all along the chest with the blue feathers onthe wing. Obvoiusly female.
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    Over the last several weeks I've noticed one of my ducks chest feather changing to a light grey. His/her voice has now turned to a quiet squeek like the male Pekins I have. His body is also noticable bigger that the female with the feather still the same. I can't find anything online about the development of a male mallard feathering. Can this be possible? Or do males mallards develope much slower than the females and get their feathering later. Like at three months?
     
  2. dacdeihl

    dacdeihl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2009
    NorthEast, In
    Well, I feel sheepish. Just looked harder on line and foud that juviniles develop late and look like females when young. I'm glad I thought I had some sex changing thing going on. YIKES!!!!!
     
  3. Kim65

    Kim65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL [​IMG] I have rouens who are young enough the only reason I can tell who's what is the bill color on Little Bill is olive green and he still cheeps [​IMG] His sisters quack. The stripe of color on his wing is a definite greenish blue while the girls have a deeper blue stripe. He is getting bigger too but no signs of mature male feathering yet.
     
  4. maralynn28

    maralynn28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Corpus Christi, TX
    No, that's funny...there's a story is "Storeys" guide about that happening to his favorite 'hen' who later turned out to be a drake. It didn't really explain though, so I was wondering too![​IMG]
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Maralynn that was a hen and it did remain to be a hen. Her name was Tina. She just went menopausal and kind of changed into the look of a drake. Nature does this protect old hens so they don't get mounted by drakes any longer.
    Katharina
     
  6. maralynn28

    maralynn28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 4, 2010
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Katharina,
    Yes! That is the story I was talking about. So I guess boys look like girls until they are older, and girls look like boys when they get old.[​IMG] Thanks for explaining it to me. I was confused like...whoa, can that REALLY happen?!?! [​IMG]
     
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I wouldn't have caught, if I hadn't read in Holderread's book quite recently. I occasionally go back to books I've read and I'm always amazed about things I find in them. Little things that you quite easily forget. I bet that was what happened to you. You kind of remembered, but then you forgot something.
    Katharina
     
  8. Hattiegun

    Hattiegun Chillin' With My Peeps

    so do the drakes think she's a drake..??? I have a 4 yr old hen I just got and introduced to my flock (3) and Im thinking the 2 drakes think she is a drake as she has taken on the drake look... the reason I got her was to have more females for my males. Ive seen my boys chase her around and be mean to her sometimes . I feel really sorry for her , they seem to be nicer to Luna the other female I got. Heres a couple (not very good) pics of her.. the butterscotch one in the back.??!!



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  9. mominoz

    mominoz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    North Georgia
    Young Ducks go thru a juvenile molt, then they molt again and get "nuptial" feathering (as in mating feathers to attract the opposite sex). they keep their fancy boy feathering about half the year, then they molt again and the drakes look like dirty females for a while. When they are young, it may be hard to identify the sex for some. Females will get loud quack, males have a softer voice and sound. Also when they go into 2nd molt the first year ,the drakes will get a curled 'drake ' feather on their tails . I have 2 month old runner (mallard colored) runner babies right now,I can't tell are male or female yet,(well without looking at their parts)... but I know they will molt again and I will be sure.....don't really need to know right now.
     
  10. farmfreak

    farmfreak New Egg

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    Aug 4, 2013
    Yes, certain foul can change from one sex to another.

    That being said; I am no expert, scientist or doctor so do not quote me or think this is the absolute truth.
    This is just from my personal experiences.

    Ex: 1 I had a pair of Rosecomb splash bantam chickens. The rooster died unexpectedly and the hen began to roost and crow. She did not change colors, but she also did not lay another egg until 4 months later when we bought her a new mate. Things resumed to normal.

    Ex: 2 I have a 1 and 1/2 year old, Rouen drake who has in the last month (July 2013) molted and changed colors to now appear to be a hen. Lost his Drake (curled) tail feather, green head is now brown with tan markings from eyes toward rear of the head, and not sure about the quack. Haven't paid attention of any change in it.I got this duck and a pair of geese over a year ago. The gander tangled with a neighboring dog and lost. The goose and drake Rouen are still very close and are always together. However, I do have 1 Muscovy hen and 3 Muscovy drakes. Not good odds for Rouen drake. He gets raped often. Therefore, in my opinion, a sex change was necessary. It is too soon to tell about the 'factual' sex change as there has not been enough time to see any development of eggs. I will update if there is a change.

    Still not convinced?

    Ex 3 I had 4 Jake turkeys and one turkey hen all 2 years old.. Uneven odds again. One of the jakes (the slightly smaller of the bunch) was always trying to proclaim his dominance. He was always the one mounting the hen. He did not fare well when confronted by the heavier jakes and was sorely put in his place. However, he would still 'puff' up and gobble his little heart out. When the time came for the hen to build a nest, she did, but the smaller jake would sit on her nest while she (the hen) was out scratching, sunning and eating. They would take turns setting. The smaller jake would then get up and continue his tom-like practices, gobble, puff up, fight, etc. One night, while the hen was setting and the smaller jake was roosting with the other jakes, something got the hen and eggs. Feathers everywhere, Egg's shells scattered. It was maybe the work of coyotes. Well, some good, full year later we thought we would not have any turkeys nesting. We were wrong. The smaller jake began to stop puffing up. His snot never drooped again, no gobble, (only made chirping sounds) and no sign of a beard anywhere. During that setting season, he, eh-um, she laid 4 eggs and hatched 3 beautiful little turkey chicks. We had no other turkeys and I personally saw him, I mean her, lay those eggs. Well, I saw her lay 2 of them. And yes, that was the same turkey that used to run around with the other toms and gobble, puff up and it's snot drooped every time it puffed up.

    Now, none of this is scientific, but (excuse the poorly chosen play on words) if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... it's a duck.

    Therefore, if it looks like a male, it is a male. If it looks like a female, it is a female. I cannot say that the physical body parts changed and that they were only but imitating the other sex, but they sure done a fine job of fooling me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2013

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