Trans-gendered chicken - is this common?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Trampledbygeese, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Trampledbygeese

    Trampledbygeese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few years of chicken raising under my belt, and a few hundred chickens over those years. I feel I need to tell you this because what comes next is kind of odd to me. Never seen this before, and I need you to understand I know what I'm talking about.

    I have a transgendered chicken. I'm using gender in the sociological term as in social role as opposed to sex as in the biological sense.

    She started off a female, and at about 3 months old, she escaped into the roo-yard. The roos um, well they were young and hadn't seen a girl in a very long time, so they did what they do naturally to girls - ALOT! If she was human, we would say she was gang-raped.

    She couldn't walk for almost a month after that. But I nursed her back to health, lots of vits and high protein food like liver and worms. Plus carried her everywhere with me. She was about 4 months old when she could walk and be strong enough to go in with her flock.

    She's a pure bread Buff Brahma we got from the hatchery with full vaccines.

    Other than a bit of a limp, she was fine when we put her back in with her flock. (there are 4 other boys in the flock)

    About a month later, at 5 months old, she started to act like a cockerel with the hens (dancing and intimidating). At 6 months old, she started crowing (the hen style crowing, not the cock crow). By 10 months old she was acting full cock behavour and full cock crow. By 11 months she was copulating with the hens.

    But get this

    By 8 months old, she was laying eggs.

    She is still laying eggs.

    She is laying eggs while being a cockerel.

    Aside from the hour or so when she is laying eggs, and that her vent is full hen shaped, she is a cock.

    So, um... weird? Or does this happen all the time?

    Is she just transgendered or is she hermaphrodite?

    She's not just taking over for an absent roo. She's 4th in command (of 5 cocks in the flock). There are just under 40 hens in the flock.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Most instances of gender reversal involve ovarian tumors and hormone changes to the best of my knowledge. I have spent a lifetime around chickens and have only ever seen one transgendered bird. It was a RIR hen owned by a friend of mine who after a molt at 5 or 6 years of age became a rooster. When she molted rooster saddle, hackle and tail feathers appeared and she began to crow. She no longer laid eggs and remained a rooster for several years until a predator killed her.
     
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is crazy!
     
  4. Trampledbygeese

    Trampledbygeese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    *sigh of relief*

    So it does happen to other people's chickens.

    I've a hen that crows, but that's only for earthquakes and because the roo of the flock is more a lover than a fighter. But I've never had full gender change before, which this is except for the egg laying.

    This Buff Brahma (him/her/it) has the full feather change too. After the first malt she/he shows a lot more roo colours and feather types, but still with the fat hen shape around the hips (you can see it when the hen runs towards you - you know what I mean, right? The standard healthy hen-shape). Very small spurs (1/4 inch long last time I checked) that look like they will keep on growing.
     
  5. Trampledbygeese

    Trampledbygeese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know, right?

    If it was anyone else telling me this story, I would say that they just made a mistake - it wasn't a girl to start with, or someone else must be laying the eggs.

    But it WAS a girl to start with, and it is still laying eggs (I caught it in the act twice this year alone). And yet in all other aspects - looks, colour, behaviour, crow voice, &c. it is a boy.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    If you were to necropsy 'her', you would probably find a tumor on one of her ovaries.
     
  7. Trampledbygeese

    Trampledbygeese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Probably

    Should I worry? Will it effect the quality of life for the chicken?

    She/he is just over a year old now and has been laying since about 8 months old. Seems to be healthy in every regard except the gender confusion.
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    My friend's chicken was just as happy as a rooster as she was as a hen - that is until the coyote got him/her.
     
  9. Trampledbygeese

    Trampledbygeese Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's good news (except for the coyote). Good thing we don't have coyotes on the island where I live.
     
  10. katedf

    katedf Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes ! It has happened here.(her on the right in the run in 2010; 3 pix taken today)[​IMG]

    My girl Auntie Sue is a hero, once a daily egg layer, was caught by the fox and actually escaped - found her hiding in the garage after we had given up hope. She had two deep punctures on her back. She made an amazing recovery and by the next month was silkier than ever and sitting halfway up the ladder crowing shakily every morning. "Hey I Beat The Fox!" The textbooks say the changes indicates ovary damage (as the female hormones dip it allows the male hormone to predominate) - I like to think of it as a fox-hating testosterone rush ! . She's a five year old gingernut ranger (RIR/Lt Sussex) Noticed last week that her white tail feathers are twice as long as they were. Today I see that she has a tall spiky comb now,larger wattles, and spurs almost 2cm on both legs. No eggs. Don't think I will mention it to the sister-in-law, the real Auntie Sue.[​IMG]

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