Trans-HEN-der: Feathers fly as chook changes gender
THREE months ago Pam Hamil's hen Chook showed some odd signs of masculinity.
Instead of laying eggs, Chook began crowing at the crack of dawn.
Her legs became thick and rooster combs started popping up on the top of her head.
Chook the Hen became Hooster the Rooster.
Mrs Hamil said the whole transition was a "freak act of nature" that left her scratching her head.
She'll be exhibiting Hooster at the upcoming Royal Darwin Show.
The transgender chicken will be on display with poultry in the Joe Yates Pavilion.
"For five years she's been a regular brown hen laying eggs in my backyard until one day I noticed she started looking pretty butch," Mrs Hamil said.
"She grew red rooster combs on the top of her head, wattles under the beak, thick legs and long tail feathers.
"I was thinking of entering her in the show this year but what category would you put her under?
"She doesn't look anything like a hen and she's certainly not a rooster, so we decided just to put her on display in the poultry section as something of interest for the public."
She said apparently spontaneous reversal can occur in hens when their ovary is damaged and can no longer produce the necessary levels of oestrogen.
It can also relate to flock dynamics since it primarily happens when there are only hens and the flock doesn't have a rooster, so one of the hens becomes one.
But after 25 years of being involved in the Royal Darwin Show, Mrs Hamil says she's not new to some of the bizarre things you can find there.
"I run the arts and craft section and last year I found a green tree frog that had been born with three legs in our hall," she said.
"I ended up keeping him, he's at home in a glass aquarium. We call him Prince Ching because it's Prince Charming without the arm."
Hooster is not the first gender bending Territory pet.
In 2016, the NT News reported Jiji the cat had changed sex after undergoing lifesaving surgery.