Last week on Twitter I mentioned that Harriet, my Rhode Island Red hen, is starting to take on rooster characteristics. Then I promptly forgot to follow up on that.
Harriet has always been the most aggressive of the hens. Even so, I had noticed she was getting more aggressive lately. So that’s the first rooster-ish trait, although not a very definitive one.
But the other day, I noticed that she’s growing spurs!
Spurs are a long claw that roosters grow on the backs of their legs, for fighting.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Harriet is undergoing a gender change. It turns out that it’s not entirely uncommon for the most dominant hen in a flock to take on some male characteristics.
Plus it’s springtime, and they’ve just started laying in earnest, and that kind of thing can really play havoc on a bird’s hormone levels.
So I’m not really sure what’s going on there, or where it will end up. As a cisgender bystander (and a mammalian one at that), all I can say is, Harriet, I’m here if you want to talk.