Henny Spurs

April 20, 2011
hen with spurs
Hen spurs

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


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9 thoughts on “Henny Spurs”

  1. Thank you Cyclingchicken! I thought that I was going to have another rooster! I am so glad that I found out this little fact.

    Let me know Cindy, do any of your girsl have them?

  2. Most of my hens have spurs – and it was a shock when I first started noticing it! I can usually tell which are cockerels at 2-3 weeks old by the ones with the most pronounced combs. And it varies breed to breed – but if one of the same breed has a comb that develops faster than the others, it's usually a cockerel. Dangit!

  3. Wow, I am so relieved that I found this blog! I have been searching all over trying to find info on spur bumps. I just got a new Ameraucana pullet yesterday after taking my 2 month old hen turned rooster to a farm. I discovered bumps on the legs and panicked! I just didn't want to go through that again and get attached to the new one and find out it is a rooster too. The farm store reassured me that they were pretty sure that they were all pullets. After reading your blog, I do feel much better and will just keep my fingers crossed. She doesn't have any other signs of being a rooster and she is about 2 or 2 1/2 months old.

  4. Hi Chris! Yes, Dottie Speckles is now 4 months old and she is definitely a pullet. I felt exactly the same way! I am so glad that my experience was able to help you.

  5. This morning I was able to grab a hen that normally I cannot get close to, I was checking her out to see if she was ok when low and behold I saw spurs.
    My RIR’s do not have spurs but the Lakenvelder does. I never heard of that. I was shocked to find they were so long and sharp it is amazing, she is the nasty one so I let her go rather quickly. I have had her for a few years and never got close enough to see this. She was adopted and she is just coming around to letting me near her.


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