Chickens and Roosters
Zoology or Animal Biology

Can a chicken change its gender?

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Wiki User
2010-11-21 00:27:47

Due to an ovarian change that affects the balance of hormones in

chickens and other birds, it is very rarely possible for a female

bird to adopt male secondary sex characteristics (feathers, combs,

and even crowing in a hen turned rooster). However, this is not a

true sex change because the bird cannot fertilize eggs. On large

farms of 10,000 or more hens, this has been definitively


There are some animals that actually change sexes, but the

chicken isn't one of them. I recall a marine biologist I once met

telling me that all very large groupers -- the ones that weigh

hundreds of pounds -- are females because only mature specimens can

grow that large and all groupers change to females as they mature.

It's called sequential hermaphroditism. When males turn into

females, it's called protandry, and when it's the other way

around, it's called protogyny. Only fish and some

invertebrates demonstrate sequential hermaphroditism.

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