Birds

Do chickens have sex and how they do it

do chickens have sex

There is a lot to know about chickens and their different species, but in this article our focus is how do chickens have sex.  So, in the preceding sections, a lot of important details about how chickens having sex will be shared.

Have you seen a rooster and a hen in a position that seems like there is an entanglement? It could be the cock trying to get the hen to be in a certain position so that they can mate. Sometimes the hen may just be calm and still in the position depending on the breed of chicken and also on the hen itself, other times the hen will struggle and sometimes find a way to wriggle out, then the cock or the rooster will again start going after the female chicken (hen).

Sometimes it gets it back, but sometimes it starts looking for a different hen entirely. Whether it looks for a different hen entirely or it still goes after the hen is depending on the environment.

If the rooster is in an environment where there are other hens of the same species or breed, chances are that the rooster will go for the nearest hen.

In the same vein if the rooster is in an environment where there is no other hen, and probable a restricted environment, chances are that the rooster will not go for another hen. In fact, there are no chances for the rooster to go to another hen.

In the light of the above of paragraphs, we will be looking at the question “do chickens have sex?

Do Species of Roosters have Testicles or Balls?

Oops! I guess you were not expecting this to be in this article or probably to be the next question right after the introduction. Any ways, the thing is that we cannot talk about how chickens do have sex talk without talking about the organs that should be active during the activity. So, consider this to be the first step in getting to know whether or not the different species of chickens do have sex.

So, do the species of roosters have testicles or balls?

Well, they do. The different species of chicken (roosters) do have testicles. This might be a little hard to believe especially when you look at the body of the species of chicken you may not see anything that shows that because of how the system of the chicken is.

However, unlike the very visible penis and testicles or balls of many other species of animals, the roosters do have testicles or balls, only that the testicles or balls of the rooster are not very visible because they are internal; they are in the body of the rooster itself.

Have you ever heard the word or the phrase ‘Caponizing chickens’?

I will tell you about it. Caponizing is the process implored to surgically remove the balls of birds. Apart from the surgical method, caponizing can also be successfully done by the implantations of estrogen after which the sex hormones of the male birds do not work again even if they are not removed from the body of the bird.

Apart from stopping the male birds from having sex, this also reduces the aggressive nature of birds which makes it calm and very easy to handle; also, this is best done when the male bird is young. The method of carrying this out is quite amazing.  This is because since the testicles of the bird are tucked up in the abdominal cavity against the spine, and has to be removed by using instruments with hooks, a barnyard surgery must be carried out to achieve the desired result.

Caponizing can also be carried out on the male chicken (rooster), and is mostly done when the chicken is still a cockerel so that it does not grow to have any effects that could come from the hormones for sex. The castrated capons or roosters or even other species of bird are called capons.

During the era of the Spanish conquests, people would spend their penny to get roosters that have been castrated because these roosters when well fed could grow to the size of a turkey with enough flesh or rather meat that also is very tender.

So, if the roosters had no testicles or no balls, what are they being castrated for? Why would castration be in the same sentence as the rooster?

So How is an egg fertilized by a rooster?

The female chickens have eggs in them that need to be fertilized before a chick is hatched. However, to fertilize an egg, mating has to occur between the rooster and the hen which brings us to our topic “Do chickens have sex”.  For animals, sex is mating, although the sex between the rooster and the hen is not as deep as we may like to think of it, or as deep as we envisage when we see them in an entanglement that has the cock on top of the hen.

However, it is not as we imagine it because the roosters do not have any penises neither do the hens have any vaginas like most mammals and humans do. Regardless of the kind of breed a chicken maybe, its body system is not very different from those of the other breeds.

It is important that you know that the hen and the rooster both have a certain opening in each of their body that is called a cloaca. This cloaca is the organ or the opening that the hen and the rooster (both sexes of the chicken) use  when chickens have sex as well as for excrement or removal of waste from the body. In addition to those other functions of the cloacal, the hen lays eggs through its cloaca.

How do the both sexes of chickens really have sex?

Have you seen a rooster crowing with one wing dropped and walking in circles, almost like its walking on a leg? Think carefully, because if you live in a neighbourhood where there are chickens, that is hens and roosters, chances are that you have seen this before.

Now when you see a rooster in such situation, it means that rooster is trying to initiate sex or rather mating with the hen. I suppose it does that to look attractive to the hen or to inform the hen of its intention.

When the hen gets the message, the hen just gets in position by crouching, then the hen will flatten its back and be very calm for the rooster to have a grip of her. Being in that position, the rooster proceeds to holding the feathers of the head of the hen with it is beak for an even balance, then the rooster will in that position mount the hen.

After taken position, the cloacal kiss begins. You already know that the cloacal as the opening, in the body of the chicken, what most people call anus. For the cloacal kiss to happen, the hen lifts its tail up (not too high) while the rooster lowers its own tail as low as is required so that the cloacal of the hen and the cloacal on the cock meets; that is the cloacal kiss, and that is also the how the mating between the hen and the cock happens.  In the process of the cloacal kissing, the rooster passes sperm from its testicles to the hen.

The whole process of when chickens have sex happens only within few minutes. After the first initiation of mating the hen may not crouch for the rooster the second time, but the rooster will still go ahead and push itself on the hen regardless. In a case where a different rooster has mated with the hen, the hen may not want to have to mate with another cock, but a cock can mate for more than five times in one day.

However, as soon as the sperm of the rooster gets into the body of the hen, the sperm is held carefully in it the oviduct of the hen. With the sperm in the oviduct, the yolk in the ovary of the hen leaves that ovary, and enters the oviduct, the yolk meets with the sperm in the oviduct and then fertilization happens.

Now this is not a guarantee that an egg will develop. Actually, the egg will not develop until some conditions are met; and the most important of these conditions is that for more than twenty-four hours the egg will be at almost ninety-nine degrees Fahrenheit.

How Many Species or Breeds of Hen can a Rooster Mate with?

Clearly from the preceding section, you have seen that a rooster can mate with the hen more than five hens in a day. the question is now if the roosters are limited to certain species or breeds.

Actually, the different species of roosters can mate so many breeds, as long as these breeds are hens. The rooster does not even care about the colour of the hen nor about the size of the hen in question, it just goes on to satisfy its urge to mate.

The asymmetrical gonads

It is necessary to know the asymmetrical gonads of the chicken to properly help us understand how chickens do have sex. Here is how it is arranged.

The male chicken (the rooster) has only two testes, and the females (the hen) has only two ovaries. Both the male chicken (the rooster) and the female chicken (the hen) have one gonad on each side of the body. The rooster has one on the right side of the body, and one on the left side of the body, and the hen has one on the right side of the body and on the left side of the body.

However, the hen has only one functional ovary, same goes for the cock. This is because birds need to be very light in order to fly, so only one part of the gonad is developed. This is also a very common phenomenon among birds mostly because they fly.

More so, for the males of different species of birds, the testes on the right is usually smaller than the testes on the left; so if the testes that is most active is hurt or for some reason stops the function, the left one could work only that it is smaller. Amazingly it is not the same with roosters probably because chickens are birds that dwell on land.

No genital organs

We have established in one of the preceding sections that the rooster and the hen do not have any genital organs. We have also established how chickens do have sex regardless of the breed of chicken is simply the cloacal kiss which happens through the cloacal.

The rooster and the hen irrespective of the breed also defecate through the cloacal hole, but during when it is time to lay the egg, the excrement of defecation does not stand in the way, neither do they cover the egg.

Most are virgins

After the insemination of a hen by a rooster, the eggs take up to four weeks or a period of twenty-eight to thirty days to be fertilized. This is because there is a sperm nest in the oviduct.

More so, most hens do not mate because they do not really need the rooster to lay eggs. What they really need to lay eggs is a stimulation from light. This explains were so many commercial poultry farms do not really care about trying to mate a hen and a cock. Furthermore, this explains why hens lay more eggs during the summer and spring because there is a great supply of light by nature. And when summer is over, commercial farmers make sure to stimulate summer in the coop.

Very productive

Chickens regardless of their breeds lay eggs often and on. After hatching an egg out of itself, it takes the hen between eighteen weeks to twenty-four weeks to hit puberty. In the same vein, it takes about twenty-six hours for a hen to make an egg, after which she begins the process of producing another egg within the time space of forty minutes to sixty minutes. Compared to birds like the turkey, the hen lays more eggs. The turkeys are quite lazy, but a single hen can lay up to three hundred pieces of eggs in one year.

Unique egg shell pigment

We have established that the hen takes about twenty-six hours to lay eggs, out of the twenty-six hours, the hen has to form a chicken egg, twenty hours from the twenty-six hours are needed and are used for the formation of the egg shell.

The shells important because they protect the yolk and they are also very beautiful as well as colourful. The colour of the egg is important because the colour of the egg shows that the bird is very fit and healthy. So apart from the shell making the egg pretty, the aesthetic nature of the bird also shows how healthy the hen is, which is very important to farmers, especially private chicken farmers.

There are various types of pigment that makes some eggs more beautiful than the others, it could be a lovely brown pigment, or a mysterious blue pigment. The pigment that is responsible for the production of blue eggs is biliverdin which is a part of the bilirubin pigment usually found in blood of the hen.

Although there is study that shows that the pigment biliverdin is produced in the uterus of the chicken and not in the blood of the chicken.  More so, further recent studies have also shown that there is an enzyme that converts the biliverdin to the bilirubin, and in humans this is a necessary regulatory response of an innate immune.

Can Chickens be a set of twins?

Chickens can have a set of “twins” only when the ovary happens to release about two yolks at once. These yolks are however processed together in the oviduct of the chicken where only one shell begins to form around the yolks. Hence, two embryos will be formed by one egg.

Sadly, there is usually a problem once the chick is ready to hatch. The chicks need to peck their eggs in order to come out, unfortunately, the room is usually not enough for the two chicks to come out so rather than to continue pecking, they end up fighting each other. They end up dying except a C-section is done by a skilled farmer or doctor.

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