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Stop me if you’ve heard this one

I feel like I’ve posted about this before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the famous hen up close. This is my friend’s hen who has turned into a rooster. Yes, it’s a thing. Sort of.

As I understand it, chickens come into this world with two gonads: the one on the right is active and the one on the left is a they/them. The active gland determines the sex of the bird.

But if a cyst or an injury or just plain old age damages the active gonad, the enby one wakes up and goodness knows what it makes of things. The hen usually stops laying eggs and becomes sterile, and takes on the secondary sex characteristics of a cockerel.

I’ve never heard of this happening to a rooster, come to think of it.

True enough, her comb is bigger than the others, but she didn’t really develop the male pattern feathers (which can happen). Most tellingly, though, she wakes up in the morning, belts out a COCKA-DOODLE-DOO and then, oddly, lays an egg.

She’s an old hen (which is probably her issue) and an egg eater (the unforgiveable chicken sin). Their veterinarian keeps urging them to wring her neck, but they can’t bear it.

May 29, 2024 — 7:45 pm
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