spontaneous sex reversal in chickens

Asked May 31, 2020, 5:58 PM EDT

I have a 4-yr-old buff orpington that has gone through this sex reversal... I now notice another one (same age) is starting to exhibit the same characteristics... I only have 8 of these chickens and to have 2 (so far) experiencing this sex reversal seems alarming to me? Is there any chance one can influence the other?... or is there a possibility that something is being practiced in the hatchery where these chickens came from that might be questionable? i.e. exposure to and/or being fed hormones/chemicals/pesticides

Idaho County Idaho

5 Responses

True sex reversal is rare, usually from female to male appearance. It is almost always due to a tumor on an ovary or adrenal gland that over produces the opposite hormone. Generally, they will not produce offspring as the opposite sex.
There is nothing in a typical hatchery that would cause this. Hormones are not fed and other compounds that are used are regulated.

Are sure they are changing gender? How did you come tho that conclusion,?

Thank you so much for reply! I came to this conclusion as I witnessed one of the hen's (the one mentioned in my question) actually crowing. Her physical appearance has become quite stocky i.e. thick neck, chest and upper legs. She seems to dominate the coop (not harshly...but definitely in an alpha manner) when all the hens are entering for the night. I have noticed a second hen starting to take on the same physical appearance - but have not noticed her crowing yet. The egg production of all the Orpingtons have slowed way down since a year ago. I have 8 of them (3-4 years old) and might get one egg per day (total). Am sure the sex reversal suspects are not contributing to this whopping production?!

For hens kept for egg production, 4 years is getting old. Time to replace the flock with some younger birds.

Good Luck

I appreciate our responses very much. I am in a rhythm of raising 6 chicks per year to keep the production going. I am fairly new to owning and keeping chickens (5 yrs). The Orpingtons were recommended 4-yrs ago due to disposition and production (they can get quite broody though). Since then I have spiced up my clutch a bit and am introducing different breeds all similar to the Orpington type and form. I learn something new almost every week. Very fun! I also have a great line-up of peeps that love (and look forward to) the eggs. Once again, I appreciate your responses and expertise and am appreciative of this web-site for asking questions. Thanks so much.