Four-year-old SHE is turning into a HE?

Discussion in 'Turkeys' started by Breac, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2010
    I've found myself in a bit of a confusing dilemma. My four-year-old hen, Gilly, has recently (approx. 2 weeks ago) begun to act like a tom! She fluffs up, struts about and has even started to gobble! Her carbuncle is getting bigger and redder, plus there's now some bluish tinges on her cheeks. She's been a happy, healthy hen all her life, and I can't imagine why this has started. I already have a tom with them; a one-year-old Royal Palm. Previously, there were three toms. Two sons and a father. The father and one of the sons died, leaving one tom for three hens.

    Could this have anything to do with her 'adoption' of the two (now reduced to one) poult(s) that I hatched/raised myself? They were born in May, and I raised them myself until they got large enough to move into a small hutch inside the turkey coop. Gilly 'adopted' them and has formed a close relationship with them. Could her masculine behavior have anything to do with this?

    I don't know if it's age-related, either. Her same-age companion, Jenny, is acting normally.

    Is it common for hens to suddenly decide to act like toms? Is this reversible? Will she eventually start acting like a hen again, or is this likely permanent? Any insight would be really appreciated.
  2. Conn55

    Conn55 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 9, 2011
    Sometimes hen turkeys will strut telling the Toms she is ready to breed and wants a male companaion. One of ours it did it and a toms soon mated with her. We have month old tom poults strutting along side ot the big toms.!
  3. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2010
    tioga tx
    A hen will strut and get very agressive if you mess with her poults. I tend to think she is protecting her poults for a perceived threat.
  4. Lagerdogger

    Lagerdogger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2010
    Aitkin, MN
    There's a difference between strutting and trying to look big. Most hens will fluff up (including a tail fan) to look large to defend the poults. It sounds like this is what she is doing, especially since you say she adopted the additions. If she is truly strutting, with the wings dragging and the little sneeze noise and the tail vibration, I'd be surprised (and very interested [​IMG] ). Toms and hens can both change skin color at will, with the red expressing a more aggressive mood (like defense!).
  5. Breac

    Breac Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2010
    Thanks for the answers, everyone!

    Lagerdogger- The thing is that, Yes! She does do the little sneeze/tail shiver. She's doing all the typical tom behavior. It's not just that her face is getting redder, which I've seen before; it's that the carbuncle is getting more developed, too! As far as defending the poults, there's a few things that make be question that. One is that the poults are inside the coop in their own little hutch for a majority of the time. I only let them out when I could watch them. Even then, Gilly would regularly go outside and strut and puff, even though she couldn't see or hear them. Plus when I did let them out, the poults always wanted to be held and would sit on my lap. When I'd be petting them, Gilly would stop strutting and go and sit on my lap as well, like when she was young. (I raised her from a poult as well.) Maybe she doesn't perceive me as a threat, but the other turkeys?

    Would she still be strutting/defending when they weren't around?
  6. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    When a female bird's ovary is damaged or stops working, they produce testosterone & become male in plumage & behavior though they will not be fertile males.

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