Can roosters detect the difference in human hormones (male vs female?)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SpunkyChicken, Sep 14, 2011.

  1. SpunkyChicken

    SpunkyChicken Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I guess this is a question for the very observant, crazy chicken enthusiasts. [​IMG]

    We have a "house silkie" named Charly who we thought was a hen until he started crowing last month. This was no problem because he was still very friendly and cuddly, but after a couple weeks he started biting, and it's gotten to the point where he won't let my boyfriend go anywhere near him. This is really upsetting to my bf because him and Charly bonded more than anyone else... they would cuddle together on the couch every evening and Charly would stretch out his neck for my bf to scratch. It was very cute, but now that Charly's rooster hormones have developed, he relentlessly charges and bites my boyfriend no matter what. He can't even take Charly out of his hutch to clean it.

    On the other hand, Charly only bites me once in a while. He doesn't puff his feathers up when I walk by, and although he gives my hand the "death stare" when I first stick it in his hutch, once he realizes it's me he settles down and lets me touch him, step up onto my hand, change his food, etc without any issues whatsoever. This is very odd because he always used to be more comfortable with my boyfriend doing these things, and now it's the exact opposite.

    So what I'm wondering is, now that Charly has matured can he sense that I'm a female and my boyfriend is male, and that's why he's suddenly more threatening with my boyfriend? I suspect that when it comes to courting and territorial behaviors, hormones play a major role with birds, just like any other animal. But while hormones are generally the same for all vertebrates, pheromones are often unique to particular species, right? I'm not too familiar with the biological process that birds have to identify each other, other than physical appearance or calls (or is that all there is to it?). So what's going on? lol

    We obviously can't keep Charly in the house anymore now that he's not a very polite tenant, so I'm hoping he will get along with the hens outside... I just always thought silkies were the gentlest breed of chicken and that's why we got one as an indoor pet in the first place.

  2. miko

    miko In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2011
  3. Dowie

    Dowie Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    I think they can absolutely sense gender - I know my friend's cockatiel would always freak out around men, but was find with her girlfriends.

    Right now you are the only lady around, and your bf is the bad rooster getting in his way for dominance. In the outside world he would be sparring with other roosters and starting to mate with the laaaadiez. It's sad, but I guess he's all grown up now.
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    My hens mill around when women visit but if a man comes by, they snap down in a squat like you never saw. LOL! I think they can indeed tell.
  5. Pinky

    Pinky Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    You said your bf was close with this rooster, and now the roo matured. IMO it sounds like he's trying to 'mate' with him. I could be wrong, but young roosters will do the same to hens, run at them and peck until they submit.

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