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Hermaphrodite chickens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Camelot Farms, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    I have just come across my 2nd (and possibly 3rd) Hermaphrodite chicken. I';m beginning to worry about what's in the water [​IMG]

    Last summer I hatched 2 adorable Bantam Salmon Fav hens from a reputable Faverolle breeder. At about the age of 2 months, one of the hens began to 'color up' until finally she had developed all of the outter male characteristics including hackles and saddle feathers. At the age of 9 months, she died without every having laid an egg. Her sister also died a short time later also without having laid. They did come into POL just as winter came on hard here in SW VA so I attributed the sisters lack of laying to that.

    Now, I have 2 Bantam BLRW birds who I was completely convinced were hens until about a month ago ( age 4 months), they began to develop saddle feathers. One of them also developed a small comb and wattles. The other has no comb or wattles. There are also 2 distinct roos that hatched at the same time (same breeder) who have full roo characteristics and 2 hens who are also 'normal'. The 2 that show signs of gender confusion dont seem to have good body form or good feather color. I will be culling them shortly for those reasons but am intrigued by the fact that we have ended up with 3 birds in a 12 month period who show no typical signs of gender.

    Would love to hear from anyone else who has run into this or has some information.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    At My Desk!
    The only hermaphrodite chickens that I know of are gynandromorphs or sexual chimeras. Some are half siders, some are not. It really depends on what age the embryo was when a problem in the development occurred. The earlier on in incubation, the more striking the division will be. There are also endless variations of them. Some are predominantly female, some are predominantly male, others are a combination of both. I have a gynandromorph that is a half sider. It lays eggs as well as crows occasionally. There is a wealth of information out there on gyandromorph chickens if you google it. It could also be that the "hens" that you bought were actually cockerels. Especially at the age that you bought them at. At two month of age, many cockerels will look and act like pullets. Sometimes they are several months old before they crow for the first time, leading many to believe that they are pullets. You can never judge by how quickly others at the same age in a flock will develop. Some roosters take twice as long as others to color up and develop.
     
  3. retiredwithchicks

    retiredwithchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2009
    Byrdstown, TN
    I have a year old chicken that has a cone of hen, saddle feathers, hackle feathers, has never laid an egg, has never serviced a hen, has never been serviced by a rooster that I have seen, never heard it crow. I have often wondered about it but couldn't bring myself to give it away with other roosters to be eaten. Just don't know.
     
  4. Camelot Farms

    Camelot Farms Chickenista

    Quote:Great info! I actually hatched all 3 of these here in our incubator so I didnt have a preconceived notion of what the gender would be.

    Here is a pic of the bantam Salmon Fav hen as she began to develop the roo coloring:
    [​IMG]

    Then another a few weeks later. You can see the mahogany saddle feathers coming in here:
    [​IMG]

    Yet she never got a comb or wattles and she died at around the age of 9 months which by then, gender should have been easily identifiable in this breed by color.

    Heading over to google to research. Thank you!!
     
  5. Toni-Marie

    Toni-Marie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Metro Atlanta Ga.
    Can you take a pic from the top(looking down so we can see the 2 sides at once?) Because the pic makes it look as it could be 2 diff birds?..That would be great!... Coloring like that is fairly normal in breeding long tails..Hormones in young hens do that.. It could be that the feathers so happen to be growing in on one side first...Time will tell... Nice bird all the same...Toni-marie
     
  6. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    upstate SC
    I had a white Cochin rro that lived to be 4 years old. He never crowed, never tried to service the ladies, occasionally got into the nest box but never did the grass throw over the back or squawked like laying an egg, never produced an egg but had the big comb and wattles of a roo. He died one night unexpectedly at a young age but I believe he was half and half.
     
  7. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I had a RIR once that I was sure was one. This one looked a big ungainly hen. The roosters ignored it and the hens would all peck it. I know it layed eggs occasionally because I only had 5 hens and sometimes I got 5 eggs in a day. The egg was very large. As it grew older, it looked more like a rooster and the eggs stopped. When it was about a year old, I bought some more hens and my odd chicken went crazy over them,mating whenever it could. Soon after a neighbor's dog broke into my pen and wiped me out.
     
  8. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 28, 2008
    MA
    Quote:Great info! I actually hatched all 3 of these here in our incubator so I didnt have a preconceived notion of what the gender would be.

    Here is a pic of the bantam Salmon Fav hen as she began to develop the roo coloring:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/33499_dscn1749.jpg

    Then another a few weeks later. You can see the mahogany saddle feathers coming in here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/33499_dscn2285.jpg

    Yet she never got a comb or wattles and she died at around the age of 9 months which by then, gender should have been easily identifiable in this breed by color.

    Heading over to google to research. Thank you!!

    I remember this bird! It's really too bad you lost him/her/it. This is NOT normal for faverolles, as you can definitely sex them by 1-2 weeks old. I have no idea why this chick would feather out first as a female then turn into a male's coloration. Not to mention bantams will certainly have begun laying long before 9 months old. I would wonder what's in the water also. [​IMG]

    Can you post pics of the BLRWs too? I'm curious to see what they look like.
     
  9. comickook

    comickook New Egg

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    Jul 29, 2011
    This talk about gynandromorphs is very interesting. I wound up with 8 chicks last year after Easter (my sister should have known better than to give into her daughters). One got killed by some animal which left me with 7 layers. For months I got a steady 7 eggs all through winter. During the Summer, however the eggs have dwindled. Eggs got broken, destroyed and eaten (but not by us humans). I researched it and fixed the nesting area, supplemented the chickens (they are Buff Orpington) with calcium etc. So, it happened again, only it was my Mother whom bought the six chicks. Now I am intergrating the young chicks, slowly being accepted by the older birds. Suddenly, one of the older birds is getting picked on. Her comb is bloody and all the chickens are chasing her. I was looking her over for injuries and saw she is growing male type leghorns! I suspect she isn't laying now either. She is about 18 months and has become a pariah in her own coop. I don't know about saddle feathers, maybe those are yet to come. Obviously something changed in her hormones, and she is developing male characteristics. At least I am not the only one to experience this weirdness. Thank you everybody!
     
  10. G9inwonderland

    G9inwonderland Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 19, 2012
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    I bought a couple laying hens to get some eggs now, while I wait for my girls to start laying...



    I got them, noticed one leghorn "girl" looked just like one of my leghorn roosters. I notice it was pretty beat up before, but there seemed to be a fresh cut (i'm assuming from one of my roos.) So I moved it to a crate while I waited to get a replacement, I wasn't thrilled I got a rooster when I asked for a laying hen and he came to me looking like crap... Well low and behold I got an egg.



    I really thought it was a rooster, I'm still convinced it's a hermaphrodite... I don't know whether to be weirded out or in awe. I'm mostly annoyed someone charged me $10 for it... At least I got an egg. So I'm keeping it and going from there. As long as the other hens aren't bothered by it, I don't see the problem with keeping it.



    I'm in the process of figuring out if the eggs are still edible/safe. Can it be bred or breed a hen? (don't really need that in my bloodline...)

    The roosters want to attack it, the hens don't care it's in the same airspace but totally ignores it.



    Fun times. I haven't noticed the hens beating he/she up, and I moved all but one rooster from the pasture/coop who seems to be nice, but uninterested in it. So at least peace is back in the coop for now.
     

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