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Can a chicken change its gender?

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βˆ™ 2010-11-21 00:27:47

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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 observed.

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.

2010-11-21 00:27:47
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