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Chicken Changing Sex...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CascadiaRiver, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. CascadiaRiver

    CascadiaRiver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Every time I was told that hens could change into a rooster I of course didn't believe them, I have a large flock and had some boys at some point too, and never once did one of my ladies crow or mount or anything rooster-y. The lady we sold our last roo-baby to told me that hens can change if they'd been bred in the last 30 days since they can carry the sperm and use that to transform or something. She also said they were born with both genders which I believe to be false too.

    So here is my question... Can they change genders and are the born as "both"?
     
  2. JacksFarmNGardn

    JacksFarmNGardn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like one crazy lady!
     
  3. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    I'd say the lady you spoke to is very misguided. Once a sperm fertilises an egg, thats the end of the story.

    CT
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    Not so fast there peeps.

    Here are the facts. Chickens carry both male and female sex cells. To clarify, this is different from sex hormones, of which we humans carry both.

    There have been rare, isolated incidents where chickens have actually changed from one sex to the other, adopting the plumage of that sex. It's usually due to some environmental stress factor.

    I'll see if I can find an article on this. Here's one http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124529630

    And here's one about a hen spontaneously turning into a rooster. http://www.urbanchickenpodcast.com/ucp-episode-018/
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  5. marnweeks

    marnweeks Just Hatched

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    My chicken Peggy turned into a rooster when the flock's rooster was stolen. There was another female with peepers and someone apparently needed to take over protection duty. The change started with a single curved opalescent black feather at the base of her tail. Over several weeks her feathers gradually changed to the rooster formation. Then one day ... she crowed! And that was that. I don't know if she ever fathered chicks.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks for sharing that!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. JacksFarmNGardn

    JacksFarmNGardn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old was "she/he" when she went through this and what breed? Some breeds mature later.
     
  8. marnweeks

    marnweeks Just Hatched

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    I hope I did this quotation thing correctly :)
    Sorry to say, this was in 2003 and I don't know what her age was. As I recall, she was at least a year or two old, though chickens don't last long here in this Hawaiian valley, adjacent to the forest. These chickens took to roosting in the neighbor's garage and visiting me regularly for handouts and to clean my yard of cockroaches and centipedes. These are all classic jungle fowl with the occasional exotic pet chicken genes mixed in. I have seen many chicks grow to adulthood and rather slowly take on their male plumage and behaviors, but I'm pretty sure she was a full grown lady who adapted to circumstance. When it happened, I read about it, then talked to some chicken farmers here in Hawaii, and was told it was in response to the male being removed from the flock at a vulnerable time, with baby chicks at hand. Some scientists have other theories.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Your comments and articles are interesting and thanks for that azygous. My post was in response to the OP bit - "The lady we sold our last roo-baby to told me that hens can change if they'd been bred in the last 30 days since they can carry the sperm and use that to transform or something." and nothing more.

    Was I really being "so fast"? [​IMG] It's always good to read posts carefully before responding [​IMG] (I am certainly guilty of not doing so myself).

    Anyway, its no biggie but just thought that I'd mention it. I have read many of your posts and respect your input and knowledge greatly.

    All the best
    CT
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

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    I meant no offense. Please accept my apology.
     

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