Is my chicken sick or just "different"?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Rena, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Rena

    Rena Out Of The Brooder

    59
    3
    41
    Sep 30, 2011
    Colorado
    Hello,

    I am new to this forum. I apologize if I am not doing this correctly or if I'm not posting in the right area.. I couldn't decide where to put this.

    I have 4 red sex-link ("red star") hens that I got as chicks about 6 months ago. From day 1, one of them has always been different. The others are all clearly red, while this one is more orange. The others all started laying right at 18 weeks of age... I am 99% sure this chicken has never laid an egg. I have gotten 3 soft, deformed eggs in the last two months that may have come from this chicken- I'm not sure which one they came from- but she has never laid a proper egg for sure. I know, chickens aren't machines and they all lay differently- I'm just concerned that her not laying means something could be wrong with her. Most interestingly, she never really developed any comb or wattles(?).. the other three all have large red ones, and hers is tiny and flesh colored, like an adolescent chicken I guess, but they're all the same age.

    She is the same size as the other girls. I don't think she's a rooster.. she does not crow and hasn't tried anything with the other chickens (although she is the least friendly of the group and is the only one who pecks at me). She does not have any symptoms of any kind of illness or injury.. I always just said she was a "late bloomer" but now I wonder if there is something actually wrong. I'm concerned that she may have a genetic issue as she really seems completely asexual, but I'm hoping maybe she really is just slow to develop, or that she has some kind of nutritional issue or something that I could treat.. I'd like to help her if I can.

    Is it possible for a chicken to take more than 3 months LONGER to mature than others of the same breed? Or could she be sick? Or is she just not normal?

    This is the "special" chicken:

    [​IMG]

    This is one of her sisters on the same day:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry the pictures are not great. In person they really look pretty different. I can take some more if that would help.

    Thanks for any advice or input!
     
  2. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Are you sure they are really the same breed? The combs look different but I can't tell if hers just isn't developed or if it looks different - like a pea comb not a single.
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    6,771
    130
    281
    Apr 15, 2009
    Some clearer pictures taken at different angles might be helpful. That bird has a roo-ish look to it. I can't see any secondary sex characteristics, but I think you might have a roo there. Either that or she damaged her ovary/ovaries and has essentially become androgynous. (Does that word apply to chickens?)

    More pics please.

    ETA- Sex links are not a breed but a mix, so different physical traits may have been passed on leading to some wide variation in what is normal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  4. Rena

    Rena Out Of The Brooder

    59
    3
    41
    Sep 30, 2011
    Colorado
    I guess it is possible that they are different breeds. They were ordered from a hatchery and maybe they made a mistake. I know that with cross breeds there can be more variation on how they look, which is part of why I'm so confused.. but my gut is telling me this girl (guy?) is not quite normal, especially because the others are all identical. I do know that with red sex link chicks the males are supposed to be lighter color than the females.. which is why I was concerned that this one is orange instead of red.

    Here are a few pictures I took just now (no, they don't live in my messy garage, I just moved her into an old cage for pictures because it was too dark out by the coop). If there are specific angles that would be helpful please let me know and I'll take more.

    Thanks for helping!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Davian

    Davian Chillin' With My Peeps

    298
    3
    99
    Sep 8, 2010
    Vermont, USA
    Quote:At 6 months, I'd think a Roo would be showing some far more obvious traits than this bird.
     
  6. bustermommy

    bustermommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    734
    3
    121
    Apr 16, 2011
    I don't think you'll know without killing her (or waiting till she dies) and doing an autopsy/examination of her internal organs. I'd bet on damaged/dysfunctional ovaries/reproductive system myself.

    She doesn't look sick to me.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    6,771
    130
    281
    Apr 15, 2009
    That's a girl, alright, but look at those thighs! And the stance in the first pic. I am stumped. I think you might have a girl that is not getting enough girl hormones. I'd say she has something abnormal going on, but I am at a loss as to what it could be. I have zero experience with androgynous chickens. Maybe she is just a late bloomer? Just out of curiosity- is she bigger than the rest of the birds? Does she stand taller normally or is your son holding her stretched out in that first pic?

    She doesn't look sick to me, either. In fact she looks the very picture of health.
     
  8. Rena

    Rena Out Of The Brooder

    59
    3
    41
    Sep 30, 2011
    Colorado
    Quote:She is not larger than the other birds- I would say she's maybe the second largest, but they're all pretty close in size. She normally doesn't stand taller just walking around- but she perks up like that when we approach her. Seems like kind of a male "posturing" type of thing, but I wasn't sure.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by