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Chicken Sex Change in the news

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gallusdomesticus, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    It's interesting that a vet said this could be due to fungi in her food.....

    Gender-Confused British Hen Acts Like Rooster, Baffling Its Owners

    Published March 31, 2011
    | FoxNews.com

    A chicken in Cambridgeshire, England, shocked its owners when it seemed on the verge of a natural sex change.

    Owner Jeanette Howard and her husband began noticing the changes after the hen, Gertie, began to moult, the BBC reports.

    "She grew back lots more feathers -- she was quite straggly before -- and I also realized that she had filled out quite a lot. Gertie looked very healthy," Howard told the BBC.

    Besides the fuller feathers, Gertie began to develop wattles, and her comb became larger and more distinctive, like that of a rooster.

    Soon, Gertie was strutting around the coop and crowing.

    "She wasn't very good at first, but she's progressed nicely and now she really goes for it," Howard said.

    Veterinary surgeon Marion Ford told the BBC that changes in hens' gender-related traits are not uncommon and could be caused by fungi in stored animal feed, which act like synthetic hormones.

    "An increase in testosterone will result in a hen growing an extended comb, exaggerated wattles and cockerel-like behavior, including strutting and crowing," Ford told the BBC.

    Now, Gertie enjoys "frog-marching" around the garden and has stopped laying eggs.

    "I'm not really sure whether Gertie has actually changed sex," Howard tells the BBC, "but to all intents and purposes, she's now a cockerel."

  2. clintwilson59

    clintwilson59 Songster

    Jul 12, 2010
    blanchard, louisiana
    that is very strange!
  3. Country Girl 2011

    Country Girl 2011 In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2011
    I Just noticed one of my hens a cookoo moran has stopped laying and her comb has grown much much larger and has also grown wattles, i also noticed that she has been grabbing the other hens by the neck with her beak and is well trying to do what male chickens do, can someone explain to me what is going on and suggestions as to what do i do.......
  4. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    I've heard of this more often than you'd think. Without a roo around, sometimes a hen will step up and be a "roo." Not that any eggs ever get fertilized, but for all other purposes, she becomes he.
  5. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Songster

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    Probably some damage occurred to the left ovary...


    I suppose it could be dietary, but it seems odd that all of her birds wouldn't have shown masculine features assuming they were eating the same food.
  6. bckyrdchknluvr

    bckyrdchknluvr Chirping

    Jun 12, 2011

    I've heard it just sometimes happens with the dominant hen. Not much you can do.
  7. Country Girl 2011

    Country Girl 2011 In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2011
    since its not producing eggs anymore its basically usless to me now what do i do with it,wait and see for a while or kill it

  8. roosterpaul

    roosterpaul In the Brooder

    Aug 6, 2011
    My Rooster Paul was a female light brahma for the first 7 months of her life. She laid eggs and all. The flock never had a rooster and grew up all together. I had always heard that one of them would step up and be the rooster, but when she actually grew larger, and started crowing, I did a little more investigation.

    Turns out it's rare, but it can happen as the link above says it usually has something to do with an injury. When I thought about it, I remembered one of my light brahma's acting funny in the fall. She had some sort of leg injury and didn't want to get up. We'd help her up and then she was fine after a couple of days. That's the only thing I could think of that might have triggered the physical change.

    She/he was a rare bird and I'm sorry to say he died a couple of weeks ago along with his favorite hen to a fox. [​IMG]
  9. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    Dang...on top of everything else they get "gender confusion"?! I had my first hen go broody on me last week - and I put her in a wire dog kennel for 6 days until she got over it. In the meantime, I would let her out every day for a short while to dust bathe, run around with the others, etc. During the past few weeks, we've noticed some of our other hens going a bit bare on the neck. I finally caught my broody jumping on the backs of my other girls and pulling their feathers out! Obviously she's the dominant one - but is this an indication of her taking over a rooster's role (since I don't have a roo)? If she doesn't resume laying...I may just have to get a roo to put her in her place!

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