But though I have parts of other blogs written and some of them are not about chickens, I have something I just have to share. Have you ever heard of a hen that transforms into a rooster? It got my attention too. We had a goat once who was born with both sets of sexual organs but this is a "a horse of a different color." or rather a chicken. This is a hen who is all girly and feminine laying eggs who up and quits and becomes a rooster, or rather sort of. She grows spurs, a large comb, and her nice round feathers on her neck transform into hackle. Maybe not the fly tying quality but definitely hackle. To top it off, some of these hens who transform crow. You heard me, crow. That, I'd like to hear. I've raised a number of chickens over the years and I have to wonder. Do they sound really roostery or is the noise more like a strangled chicken? You know the one immature roosters make when they are just learning. It is kind of like a 12 or 13 year old boy's voice which breaks off in mid word or rather crow and squawks and squeaks.
I stumbled across this little side show while researching one night. At first I thought it was a hoax. But no..., the information was from a reputable university agriculture website. I checked further and indeed this is possible -- but rare.
The hen does not really turn into a rooster since she still has all her feminine parts but the hormones get mixed up. For you young'uns, I will explain the birds and the bees of the thing so those of you too young to hear this part put your fingers in your ears and say, "Nuh, nuh, nuh.", really loud. I'll holler when I'm done. A hen has two ovaries. Most female animals do but what is different about a chicken is that the right ovary stops developing when the female chick hatches. The left ovary continues to mature and produce eggs. I can't help but think what would happen if both ovaries went to town producing. "Wow!!" I can't believe a scientist hasn't worked on this project.
The cause of this strange hen turning into a rooster phenomenon is a damaged left ovary. Chicken ovaries produce the hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Read that sentence again. It is oestrogen, not estrogen. I'm really resisting heading off and learning about the difference between estrogen and oestrogen but my to do list today is reining me in. I admit, I did check to see if a hen goes through menopause. You know when the ovaries cease to function anymore on a woman. Why not a chicken? There is a debate out on that one.
It is ridiculous! I think it's a disease. My brain won't shut down with questions that scream, "I want answers!!!"
I have a theory about this strange rooster look for hens. I can't help but think the oestrogen and progesterone levels go down in the damaged ovary and the testosterone remains strong. Hence, the roostery look but not the full effect because the testosterone level is not full force like if there were testes. My question though is why does the right ovary not develop at this time? You know how the brain can in part rewire itself if damaged. If it isn't a spare then what is its function? See, the brain won't shut down. I would have loved being a research scientist.
To get the whole scoop from the horses mouth try some further reading in the link below.
See I tried to not make the post all about chickens. Note the horse references thrown in here and there.
YOU CAN PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS NOW!!! I'm done.