The Stealth Rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jugchoke, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. jugchoke

    jugchoke Chirping

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    We bought chicks in two different TSC stores last spring, both “straight run” for some and pullets in other bunches.

    So, I was watching pretty closely when they started to mature, intending to “repurpose”, “fried chicken”, most of the roosters. As the ones I had picked out as roosters, and were slowly dwindling as part of the flock, the last four or five suddenly just disappeared! Either I had been wrong on them or we lost some to predators. All of a sudden, we only had one left.
    Now, this one had always been a bit “different”. Black Astrolorp, very, very short tailed, but pegged as a rooster. All of a sudden it looked more like a hen, with a rooster type large comb and wattles. Still a short tail.

    Now at maturity, it very much appears as a hen, and doesn’t crow. BUT, it most certainly mounts hens and appears to be breeding them!

    The funniest thing is when our only other rooster sees this, a good sized bantam, he bee lines over there, and then stops in his tracks and acts completely confused! It’s actually quite hilarious!
    Poor confused boy!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    It would be very interesting to see a photo of this stealth rooster.
     
  3. jugchoke

    jugchoke Chirping

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    Will see what I can do, but she/he/it looks like any black hen. Just has the tallest comb of any hen in the lot, other than the 3 leghorns.

    Certainly looked more like a tailess rooster a few months ago.
     
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  4. jugchoke

    jugchoke Chirping

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    I actually have a neighbor that claims he had a rooster a few years ago that laid an egg about once a week.
     
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  5. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    We're talking about secondary sexual characteristics. Hens can sport very large comb and wattles, and even grow spurs out to over an inch. I have a few such hens. The presence of a heavier than average balance of androgen hormone is responsible for this. They can continue to lay eggs normally in spite of looking a lot like a rooster.

    However, the rubber meets the road in the reproductive system. Roosters do not have a functioning ovary to enable egg laying, even if they somehow damage their testes. On the flip side, a hen can injure her ovary, (only the left one being functional) causing it to produce more androgen hormone, and this can cause her to develop even more visible secondary sexual characteristics, including the drive to mate other hens.

    Bottom line is that, as strange as it may seem, a hen can appear to turn into a rooster, but a rooster will never be able to turn into a hen and lay eggs.
     
  6. jugchoke

    jugchoke Chirping

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    I don’t think that I claimed “it turned into” anything!

    I used the words that it first looked like a tailless rooster, (as a 3/4 grown bird).
    Then it started looking more like a rooster, demeanor and appearance.

    Now arrarently matured, it acts like a rooster, although it takes a lot of crap off the hens, runs away from them, other than when one accepts his/her advances. Then, complete copulation appears to be completed.

    The neighbor claimed his both crowed AND laid eggs. This one has never crowed to my knowledge, and I have never seen it on a nest. But it does top-off hens on a fairly regular basis, although he/she likely is only accepted maybe 10 percent of the time.
    It’s worth watching to see the Banty rooster go bannanas and then abort the fight, while this guy just completely ignores him! All the other roosters we have have had, abandoned everything and would flee for their vary lives!
     
  7. BadBloodNelson

    BadBloodNelson Chirping

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    Thank you for the laugh. Sounds like some chickens decided they weren't happy with nature and changed their ...ahem.. ️‍orientation. lol. I love this forum.

    Seriously though, I agree with what azygous posted. It was very informative, thank you.
     
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  8. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    I forgot to add that some hens are able to crow very credibly due to these secondary sex characteristics. I have an eight-year old Speckled Sussex hen that crows exactly like a rooster when she is attempting to establish her dominance. Another of my hens, a Cream Legbar, also crows very occasionally just for the heck of it. She sounds a little wobbly, but you have no doubt you are hearing crowing.

    Chickens have a much more fluid sexuality than humans because they have both male and female sex cells in their bodies, apart from hormones. It may be a holdover from ancient dinosaur times when some of the giant lizards may have reproduced by parthenogenesis, chickens being decedents of these creatures. Who's to say that some day with changing conditions, they couldn't revert back to this handy method of reproducing themselves. It's interesting to ponder.
     
  9. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Free Ranging

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    In a somewhat similar situation I have just experienced, my very proud rooster and king of my bachelor pen was finally given girlfriends. 4 17 week old pullets meeting their first Rooster, and 5 1 year old hens switching their guy for next springs breeding season. Three days in they plucked all his tail feathers completely. He bled a lot and I nursed him inside for about 3 or 4 days before returning him to the ladies. He still crows, but not as much. He’s stopped tidbitting and almost completely stopped mating the girls, he has an entirely different attitude and is behaving much like a hen. I’m hoping he will return to his old masculine self by spring, as I really wanted to Breed him...

    Very interesting to read about your stealth rooster, and I got a good laugh as well picturing the Banty Boy running over to protect his hens from the stranger only to be befuddled by his “disappearance”. “Nobody here but us hens... what rooster? Nope haven’t seen him! Looked like me you say? Nah, I didn’t see him mating your girls, what have you been eating?” :gig
     
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  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Would be interesting to see this bird,
    especially close up of saddle and hackle feathers.
    How old is it, in weeks?
     
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