Peahen Morphs

Discussion in 'Peafowl' started by ezcruiser2001, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. ezcruiser2001

    ezcruiser2001 New Egg

    Feb 6, 2012
    Has anybody ever had a peahen whose feathers have morphed into
    a males. The avatar I have is a picture of her.(Not a very good one)
    She has the long train eye feathers like a males and a blue chest.
    She is very old and carries the black shouldered gene. Anybody
    have a theory about what's going on?
  2. Bigcreekpeafowl

    Bigcreekpeafowl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    This happens because the left ovary ceases to function and the right ovary has become active. This happens from age, infection, etc.
    The right ovary produces more testosterone resulting in male plummage and secondary sex characteristics.
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
  4. ezcruiser2001

    ezcruiser2001 New Egg

    Feb 6, 2012
    Thanks!!! Makes complete sense. I'm so glad I found this forum with so
    much knowledge about Peafowl.
  5. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    yes i have seen it when the hen get past her laying years, all mine got a train and color like a 2 yr old male......
  6. AquaEyes

    AquaEyes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sexual dimorphism in feathers can be either genetic or hormonal. Many many years ago there were experiments to determine which was which by transplanting areas of skin between males and females -- if the graft later sprouted feathers of a different kind, it was deduced that the sexual differences were due to hormones. If the graft remained the same, it was deduced that it was genetic. And "genetic or hormonal" could relate to different areas of the body -- hackle feathers might be driven by genes, while tail feathers might be driven by hormones.

    In any case, when the hormone balance shifts, feathers which are influenced by them will change as well. Capons (castrated male chickens) display plumage differences, as to poulards (spayed female chickens). When females age, they may develop something akin to a condition found in humans called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (or PCOS). The ovaries develop cysts, which interfere with ovulatory cycles. Much of the estrogen females have flowing in their bodies arise in developing follicles during ovulation.

    There's a bit of a complicated feedback system, whereby the estrogen level regulates the production of a hormone which initiates the chain of reactions that lead to estrogen -- as well as androgens (male hormones). When the mechanism for estrogen production is diminished (as happens in PCOS), the chain of reactions continues longer, which causes androgens to be produced in greater quantities. The result is a shift in the estrogen to androgen ratio, and this can affect plumage, causing male-appearing feathers to start coming in. Usually, by the time this happens, the hen is no longer fertile.

    Or, the simpler explanation is that it's comparable to when post-menopausal women not on hormone replacement therapy start getting whiskers.


    P.S. The only reason I remember this off the top of my head is because Wednesday I had an exam in my Psychobiology of Reproduction class, and this was one of the topics I had to study.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2012
  7. PeepsCA

    PeepsCA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Big Oak Valley, CA
    LOL, so glad I cannot relate to that statement yet, but Thanks for the simplified explanation. I'm sure that hits it home for a lot of Peafowl newbs [​IMG]

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