Claire, and Comb Evolution – a photo post

September 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve been planning to do this for a while: a sequential series of photographs showing how our sweet, pretty little Cleops gradually got more and more roosterish. Her comb and wattles have been a source of progressively increasing horrified fascination for a long time.

It’s worth noting a couple of things. First, she is definitely female. She was our #2 layer in her pullet season, just one egg behind Frida. Second is that other chickens see her as female – although she has rooster-like behaviours in terms of bossing the other hens, as soon as we added two actual roosters to the flock (Lola and Sebastian), the difference became very clear. (Most obvious was the fact that the boys didn’t want to fight her, they wanted to mount her. And did. More than once.) Third is that bird gender is quite a lot different to mammal gender. For one thing, roosters are ZZ and hens are WZ. A related aspect is that the default sex in birds is male, with female being the special case. (In mammals the default is female.) And there have been documented cases of parthenogenesis in chickens.

None the less, Claire is not, it cannot be denied, a good example of what a female Welsummer should look like. But neither is she even vaguely like a male Welsummer … ultimately, she is Claire. Madam Moo. Very definitely One Of A Kind. And we love her just the way she is.


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