If you hang around Chicken groups long enough, somebody is bound to tell you the story of a hen that turned into a rooster. Not just a lead chicken getting bossy, as they nearly all do, but literally turning into a rooster, with a comb and a crow and everything. I was agnostic on the subject.
Then I accidentally stumbled over an article that explains it. A bit. It’s kind of short.
But the right ovary produces more testosterone. There’s a political joke in there somewhere, I feel sure.
So the affected bird stops laying (usually) and grows male plumage. There’s a lovely picture at the link of a peahen with the full peacock deal going on. They become sterile – or, at least, never fully develop as males. In one example, the male who favored her continued to court her after the chance. What a puzzled bird that must be.
I wish there was more there on behavior. It’s hard to imagine an evolutionary reason for a useless backup ovary, unless the man-hen maybe takes a role in protecting the flock.
At the bottom of that article is a link to a scan of another article about a particular gender bending hen. The expert quoted says the right ovary actually becomes a testicle, but she also says “A whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor men” is in the Bible. It is not.
Good weekend, all!