Sex Change in Poultry

In a normal female bird only the left ovary is active. Due to infections or other problems, this ovary may cease to function. In that case the right overy becomes active, but for some reason produces more testosterone and causes the bird to develop male plumage and secondary sex characteristics, although it will never become fully male.

Some examples are found below.

"Kristina Kwacz" -- this utility Buff Runner has undergone a sex change -- note the drake feather. She was a '98 hatched bird and developed the male plumage and stopped laying in about 2001

On the left is a 1992 picture of Lucky's Black-shouldered Peahen, on the right pictures of her change in 2007.
Photos courtesy of Lucky Newton

This is a female Red Golden that started to change to male plumage after a couple years of laying. At this point (around 6) she is still laying. First signs, 3 years ago, were her crest turning orange (not gold like the male) and she got a long male-patterned tail. Each year since she's gotten more male plumage, tho' not quite the normal coloring. The male she is with still courts her.
Photos courtesy of Jan Peterka

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