Did you know that hens can develop spurs? I had no idea. I was under the impression that only roosters develop spurs to use as a weapon against potential threats. I guess I was wrong. Hens can get them too!
I first noticed that Dottie Speckles, at one week of age, appeared to be developing tiny bumps where spurs would grow. I, of course, panicked. I would be so upset if she was a rooster. I quickly started to do some research. Of course, I went to the community forum of backyard chickens. Within minutes, I soon discovered that I was not alone in my quest for answers. Apparently, to no surprise, there were multiple responses to my own questions!
According to the site, hens can develop spurs. Sometimes they grow no further than tiny bumps and other times,they will grow actual spurs. They will never grow to the size of their male counterparts, but they are believed to be a very old genetic trait that expresses itself in some breeds of chickens. People then went on to say that some of their hens with spurs are the best egg layers that they own. Thank goodness! However, just to be sure, I took a trip to the feed store where I purchased Dottie.
Once at the feed store, I was able to take a peek at the little Silver Laced Wyandottes still for sale. They were from the same delivery as Dottie. Upon closer inspection of the little girls in the brooder, about half of them had mini-spur bumps. Once I pointed this out to the sales girls, she too was amazed, but reassured me that they definitely had ordered all female chicks. When I came home yesterday, for the first time, I noticed that Tilly herself has had spur bumps all along!
Photo credit: Backyardchickens.com