What? What? - Hen growing spurs!

Kuntry Klucker

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 9, 2010
1,623
845
321
Tennesee Smoky Mts.
Hi All,

I think I may have an alien chicken in my flock.
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I have a flock of BO's all age 5 years.

My rooster, has been sick and away form the flock for about 3 weeks.
He is doing better now after much TLC and is now with his girls again.

I was putting the girls to bed last night and noticed that my alpha Hen is growing spurs.
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I have also noticed that after their molt her tail is also taking on a rooster-ish look as well.

I know she is a hen, she is my best layer.

What is going on!!! please tell me this is normal, or as she been possessed by an alien.
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Thanks
 

Kuntry Klucker

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 9, 2010
1,623
845
321
Tennesee Smoky Mts.
It's normal. I have a Welsummer with one-inch spurs. It doesn't affect her
"femininity" at all.




Really, phew ok. What causes it to happen? Do you know, is there some kind of hormonal imbalance that causes it?

When my rooster was in ICU I thought that maybe she was assuming the role of watching out while the others
were looking for grubs. (she is the alpha hen, that is how I came to this conclusion), I had no idea that she would also grow the spurs.

do you just treat them the same as a rooster spurs? you know, keep them trimmed and so forth so that she
cannot hurt herself of the other girls?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,754
34,236
1,122
Colorado Rockies
The reason some hens can have secondary sex characteristics of roosters, spurs, large combs and wattles, and even crowing, is due to the fact that chickens all carry both male and female sex cells in their bodies. Sometimes, albeit rarely, environmental stress factors can cause a chicken to turn into the opposite sex, either partially or completely. Chickens are scientific marvels, indeed.

Yes, I keep my Welsummer hen's spurs filed down so she won't injure herself and others, me included.
 

Kuntry Klucker

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 9, 2010
1,623
845
321
Tennesee Smoky Mts.
The reason some hens can have secondary sex characteristics of roosters, spurs, large combs and wattles, and even crowing, is due to the fact that chickens all carry both male and female sex cells in their bodies. Sometimes, albeit rarely, environmental stress factors can cause a chicken to turn into the opposite sex, either partially or completely. Chickens are scientific marvels, indeed.

Yes, I keep my Welsummer hen's spurs filed down so she won't injure herself and others, me included.

Would a stress factor of a rooster being sick for several weeks and separated from the flock be something that could make a hen turn into a rooster?

Does the change happen slowly or is it a quick change? Can they even fertilize eggs if they make the whole transition?

That is crazy, I had no idea that a hen could turn into a rooster. I knew that one hen might stop laying a keep watch, but I had no
idea that they would actually turn into the rooster.
 

Kuntry Klucker

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 9, 2010
1,623
845
321
Tennesee Smoky Mts.
The reason some hens can have secondary sex characteristics of roosters, spurs, large combs and wattles, and even crowing, is due to the fact that chickens all carry both male and female sex cells in their bodies. Sometimes, albeit rarely, environmental stress factors can cause a chicken to turn into the opposite sex, either partially or completely. Chickens are scientific marvels, indeed.

Yes, I keep my Welsummer hen's spurs filed down so she won't injure herself and others, me included.

What is the likelihood that she will make the complete transition? Are they hens that turn into rooster more or less aggressive? I am just wondering. This is just all so interesting.
 

SusanD

Chirping
Feb 20, 2015
348
5
71
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Hi,

Your post got me curious too. For a chicken to be able to switch characteristics like that, does it mean the they have chromosome issues (analogous to Klinefelters or Mosaic Turners in humans)? Or is there something else going on (like producing more of a specific hormorne)?
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chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,200
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Hi,

Your post got me curious too. For a chicken to be able to switch characteristics like that, does it mean the they have chromosome issues (analogous to Klinefelters or Mosaic Turners in humans)? Or is there something else going on (like producing more of a specific hormorne)?
smile.png
D.gif

As we all age we sometimes have secondary sex characterizes of the opposite sex. Without making a big deal out of it a woman who grows a mustache is one example. An older man with breast is another. I suspect that there is no longer a sufficient amount of female or male hormones being produced to depress these tendencies.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,754
34,236
1,122
Colorado Rockies
We humans have a mixture of male and female hormones. I am talking about cells. Chickens have both types of cells.

Do a search on "sex changes in chickens".
 

Kuntry Klucker

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 9, 2010
1,623
845
321
Tennesee Smoky Mts.
As we all age we sometimes have secondary sex characterizes of the opposite sex. Without making a big deal out of it a woman who grows a mustache is one example. An older man with breast is another. I suspect that there is no longer a sufficient amount of female or male hormones being produced to depress these tendencies.

Ok, my girls are 5. I am not sure if that is old for a chicken or not. But would it be common for more of them to grow spurts as they get older? Like the natural
process of aging for chickens.
 

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