lesbian chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by farmergal, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. farmergal

    farmergal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    I Googled "lesbian chickens" and only came up with a couple of hits, so I am turning to the great knowledge of BYCers on this topic...

    Here's the story:

    I have a barred rock, Tux, who is one of my sweetest hens and also one of the hens that my roosters rarely mount. Rare is the rooster who'll set her running; mostly, she just fluffs up her feathers, lifts her wings up, and sasses them back until they leave her alone. In fact, it almost seems like she purposely walks towards them when they're "in the mood" -- acting aggressively to deter them from even trying.

    Well imagine my surprise when, half an hour ago, I glanced over at her in the chicken yard and saw a RIR HEN mounting her. And she wasn't putting up a fight. About 30 seconds later, this same RIR hen was mounting another RIR hen. And I do mean mounting -- fully up on top, and doing her best (or so it seemed... I wasn't watching too closely) to, well, you know. (Let's just say, she was arching.)

    Anyway, what I found on Google only referred to this behavior in the absence of roosters. I think it's fairly common in the natural world for a top female in an all-female group to start acting like a male. But I have a ridiculous number of roosters right now (about 15 awaiting freezer camp, and another 5 that I'll retain for breeding). My poor hens' backs look terrible, some of them actually have bald spots, and now... I have hens mounting hens?

    Does anyone have experience with this? A sidenote: this RIR hen has no mussed feathers on her back, so I'm guessing she's also rarely mounted by the roosters. Since I can't really tell my RIRs apart, I don't know too much about her behavior besides that.
  2. merry hens

    merry hens Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2009
    How old are they? Maybe she is a he?

    I have a hen that mounts other hens as well, despite numerous roosters. Similar situation as yours. Maybe it has something to do with some kind of chicken mob mentality. Before I got rid of my excess roosters, they would mob up on hens and this one hen always joined in on the chasing and mounting of other hens.
  3. farmergal

    farmergal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2008
    Nor Cal
    She's about 9 months old, so I'm pretty sure she's a she... again, I can't tell my RIRs apart, so I can't say I've seen her lay... but no crowing, no tail, hen-sized comb and wattles.

    It's so odd! You might be onto something with the mob mentality, but it wasn't like she was joining in; she was initiating and then the roosters were crowding around, wanting to join in. I'll have to put a leg band on her to keep watch on her.
  4. Anny

    Anny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    Perhaps it's more of a dominating thing rather then a sexual thing.
  5. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    I have two female geese ... they take turns mounting each other each spring. I had to rehome a rooster that decided ducks were his cup of tea and he couldn't get enough of them. I don't think that the poultry have the same 'rules' we apply to ourselves. Possibly some of it is dominance.
  6. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    It's about her place in the pecking order, which is the top. Nothing much to worry about, make sure she's still laying, if she's not do whatever you would for a hen who's stopped laying.
  7. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I'd put her by herself and see if she's laying eggs. She may not be. Once again if a hen has damage to her ovaries she may take on the characteristics of a male. She will also be infertile. I understand from a current issue of Back Yard Poultry they only have one working ovary anyhow.
  8. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    This is the best BYC forum topic ever!
  9. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    Sometimes if the rooster has been remove, absence of of rooster or if a hen's ovaries have been damaged they will assume more roo traits.

    I've read that only 1 in 10,000 hens that it happens to. I also have a 2 year old RIR hen that is the same way. Funny that you said your pullet is also a RIR breed. Hmmmm!

    We had a SLW roo in w/ the flock of 15 girls (EE, SLW & RIR's) from age day 1, but when his hormones kicked in he went through my whole flock stripping them of their saddle & wing feathers very quickly before I could separate him. Frisky fellow.

    I know the literature says 7 - 10 hens to a roo would be ok, but not in my case, so I separated him in hopes of the girls to recovery their feathers. I didn't feel like making saddle guards for 15 girls. LOL!!!

    Their feathers wouldn't grow back and the skin on their saddle part looked red and irritated. I was at my wits end trying everything. I bought Avian charge to supplements vits & minerals to add to water, increased their protein in take & they received sun flower treats on a reg basis, but still no re-growth. I even added some kick n chicken to their feed to give them some essential fats and omega 3, etc. I did anything I could try.

    Next thing I know my husband says we have a lesbo chicken. He swore he saw a RIR hen humping another RIR hen, but he wasn't close enough to see which girl was doing it. I never caught them in the act, but I did notice that my RIR girl named Ginger was very dominate acting towards the other girls.

    The baffling thing is that she still occasionally lays an egg, so I guess her ovary is not completely damaged, but she is growing a spur. Only one spur on one side of her leg.

    The flock finally molted this fall into winter and grew their feathers back.

    Anyway....that's my weird lesbian chicken story.
  10. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a splash andie who thinks she's alpha chicken and will mount the other girlies. She does lay her own eggs but she doesn't lay as consistently as the other girls. The last roo we put in there was challenged by her several times before she finally lay down for him.

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