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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Abbie is my 3 year old RIR hen. Lays eggs fairly consistently. I can always tell which eggs are hers because for some reason they have always been really big and rather on the wrinkly side. :p The other day I noticed she has what looks like a spur growing on each leg. :eek: Its about a 1/4 - to 1/2 inch long. None of my other girls have this. What's going on? :confused:
 

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I thought all hens got spurs ? I'll have to look it up, lol I never even looked at my girls legs I just thought they would eventually .
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The other RIR that is also 3, doesn't have them nor do the 3 year old barred rocks. I checked the other girls ages 1 - 2 and they don't have them either. Its like a nubbin on the back where there would be a spur.
 

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A Round American Woman
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I've had a couple that have had bumps for spurs. They never grew very big, but they were there. I can't remember what breed though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Okay. Just seemed odd to me that out of 9 chickens, she's the only one that has them.
 

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Abbie is my 3 year old RIR hen. Lays eggs fairly consistently. I can always tell which eggs are hers because for some reason they have always been really big and rather on the wrinkly side. :p The other day I noticed she has what looks like a spur growing on each leg. :eek: Its about a 1/4 - to 1/2 inch long. None of my other girls have this. What's going on? :confused:
1st do you have a rooster?
2nd is she the top hen in the flock?
we had a couple of white leghorns & 1 had a huge spur
well we figured the one with the spir was a rooster
it never crowed & never layed an egg
so it got "processes"
come to find out it had eggs inside of it so it must have been a really old hen.
sometimes the alpha hen will frow a spur or 2 to help defend the flock if there is no rooster in the flock.

piglett
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nope. No rooster.
Used to be top hen. At the moment though none of them seem to really rule the roost. They just peck each other at bed time, not any particular one more than another. She is the most ornery one though and quick to spike her head feathers in challenge to any dog she doesn't like - or when she wants to play with our big dog. Sneaks up on Lily and pops her one then spikes her feathers and runs away.
I do have a drake duck now though who is a few months old.
 

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Flocker
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If she is the top hen, or thinks she is the top hen, she may grow spurs, and even try to crow. If you think that's crazy, wait 'till you see what she tries to do to the other gals! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh my Sophie is the queen or should I say "king wanna be" in that department. She's a 3 yr old Barred Rock and she's been torturing my other girls with that for a couple years now. :eek: I can't believe they put up with that! Even crabbie Abbie. I intervene if I see it going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks. :) I was trying to get a few up-dated pics of them when they both did the head cocking at the same time. One of those things that I'd probably never get on camera again.
 

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It's interesting. Gail Damerow sites in her book The Chicken Health Handbook that some hens can go through a spotaneous sex change. She notes that it can be possibly due to an infected ovary causing a hormonal change.
 

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No offense but I call bs on some magical sexchange. Infected ovary or not. Just saying. You can't believe everything in books or the internet.
 

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Well.....never said I believe everything I read. I was just putting an idea out there which is what I thought this forum was about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you Pinkter. My cousin had heard the same thing - that if there is no rooster, then one of the top hens would take over acting as a rooster. So, I have Abbie growing spurs and Sophie trying to mate her sisters. Nice! :rolleyes: Now a dear elderly friend of mine who had chickens and Pekin ducks for years, said that my duck Jack would become protective of all the girls and be a great watch duck - like a dog as he matures. Right now he sure is at his honey's beck and quack!
 

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Flocker
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Here's one that will blow your mind!!! This is from ScienceFocus magazine, not a fly-by-night internet site.

It depends on how you define gender. The chromosomes that normally control the physical differences between male and female are fixed at the moment of fertilisation and cannot change. But the sex chromosomes work by coding for enzymes that affect the bird's development in the egg and during its life. These enzymes are sensitive to temperature and if eggs fertilised with male chromosomes are cooled by a few degrees for three days after laying, the relative activity of the sex hormones will favour development of female characteristics. (In reptiles, temperature is entirely responsible for determining sex.) In about 10 per cent of cases, this cooling will produce a chicken with a fully functioning and reproductively fertile female body-type; even though the chicken is genetically male.

http://sciencefocus.com/qa/can-chickens-really-change-gender
 

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Actually, spontaneous sex change is known to happen in nature when there is a gender imbalance in the population. There was a discovery I heard about when I was a teenager: Crabs (Hermit or Fiddler, can't remember) were obtained in quantity for a biology study. First think, the teacher had the students divide and separate the group by gender. A few days later, when the professor observed that there were females in with the males and vice-versa. Prof chastised the students and made them separate them again. Happened again. and again. Turns out in a population of just one gender, some (less than 50%) would change (excellent species survival characteristic).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That's really neat! I used to have pet hermit crabs when I was in junior high. Binky & Dinky were their names.
 

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No offense but I call bs on some magical sexchange. Infected ovary or not. Just saying. You can't believe everything in books or the internet.
I agree but it also depends on the writer of the book or piece of text, Gail Damerow is a well informed writer who has had chickens and other barnyard animals for a long time and probably knows a lot about them. If I remember correctly in the book Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens she talked about chicken sex change as well. It says that sometimes when one of a hen's ovaries is infected or injured the ovary might not function properly which can lead to hormone imbalance, and then cause sex change. :]
 
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