The sex-change chicken that crows

Last updated at 08:54 19 April 2006

A sex-change chicken which started life as an egg-laying hen has turned into a crowing cockerel.

The pet, called Freaky, spent eight months laying dozens of eggs until she crowed like a cock bird one morning.

Over the next few weeks, she sprouted a scarlet comb, grew red flaps called wattles under her chin and tufty tail feathers - all attributes of cockerels.

Owner Jo Richards, of Saltford, near Bristol, said: "I've kept chickens for 10 years but I've never heard of such a thing."

Animal experts said Freaky's sexchangewas a one-in-10,000 rarity. It happens when a damaged ovary causes the hen's testosterone levels to soar, turning the remaining ovary into a testicle.

Freaky, a silver-laced Wyandotte hen, now crows every sunrise, aggressively attacks other males and even tries to mate with his old female friends.

Victoria Roberts, of the Poultry Club of Great Britain, said: "This is very, very rare. I've been keeping poultry for 35 years and I've seen it only once."