Like what we said in our Wednesday (December 28) post about interesting chicken facts, hens can choose which rooster fathers their chicks.
They are polygamous and they can pick the father of their chicks. Sounds like girl power at its peak. Not really.
Hens usually have no choice when a rooster wants to mate with them, but they have their own way to reject those low-status roosters.
Study shows that a hen can eject 80 percent of the sperm from her reproduction organ.
“It is beginning to appear females can play a much more subtle, but powerful role in the battle for fertilization,”said by TommasoPizzari, evolutionary biologist and lecturer at Oxford University.
The study used chickens from a flock that lived in a semi-feral setting. The hens were mated with different roosters, which the researchers ranked according to pecking order from one to six with one being the most dominant.
The results confirmed that sperm from the low-status roosters are mostly ejected.
When mating with several roosters, hens ejected more semen from the later mates. It makes sense because lower-status roosters don’t get the first shot at the hens. Pecking order also has strong effect on whose sperm the hens kept.
The study was published in the September 2011 issue of the journal The American Naturalist.