Imagine this: It is early in the morning on your farm, and you’re taking in the tranquil sounds of nature when all of a sudden, you hear a loud, abrupt noise. You immediately think it’s your rooster crowing, but hold on—was it a hen making the noise?
Yes, it’s true – hens can also crow!
As someone who enjoys raising chickens, I am aware of how crucial it is to comprehend their vocalizations. That’s why I researched and wrote this article to answer the age-old query, “Do hens crow?”
We’ll go over all you need to know about this fascinating subject, including how to tell facts from myth and why hens crow. So, get ready to learn something new and exciting about your beloved chickens.
What is Crowing?
Crowing is a loud, piercing sound produced by hens constricting their syrinx, the vocal organ of the birds. The syrinx’s membranes vibrate, producing this sound, which is subsequently amplified by the chicken’s neck and beak.
As a backyard chicken flock owner, you should know that even though roosters are the more famous crowers, hens can also crow! What’s even more interesting is that chickens have different types of crowing, which we find difficult to decipher as humans.
Crowing isn’t simply one sound; based on the situation, it can change in tone, duration, and rhythm. Let’s take a closer look at the major types of crows and what each one signifies!
Types of Crowing
1. Territorial Crowing
Chickens defend their area by crowing in a territorial manner to assert their superiority. When chickens crow like this, they frequently do it at a particular time of day, like the morning when they are most active.
As a way to convey to the other chickens in the flock that they’re the dominant one, territorial crowing is typically longer and more intricate than other varieties of crowing.
2. Alarm Crowing
Chickens frequently produce a sequence of brief, sharp crowing noises to warn the remainder of the flock of a predator or other hazard.
This kind of crowing is typically accompanied by additional actions like scurrying, seeking cover, or forming close groups. Territorial crowing is generally longer and blunter than an alarm call.
3. Social Crowing
Chickens use social crowing to communicate with one another. Social crowing is a shortened, less dramatic version of territorial crowing and is primarily used in non-aggressive contexts, like when chickens find food or explore their environment.
This form of crowing is frequently called “singing” and might indicate satisfaction or enjoyment in chickens.
Misconception About Crowing and Gender
Many people have the misconception that only roosters can crow. So, let me debunk this myth for you: Hens can compete with roosters in the crowing department, despite the fact that roosters may be louder and more vociferous.
Perhaps a lot of you might also believe that only male chickens (roosters) are violent, while female chickens (hens) are passive.
But since we are talking about facts here – let me tell you: both male and female chickens can act aggressively, and their actions are heavily influenced by their personalities and social interactions with other flock members.
Hence, the next time you’re out for a stroll on the farm and you hear a crowing sound, don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s coming from a rooster – it could just be a snarky hen exercising her vocal range!
Why Do Hens Crow?
These feathered divas bring a whole new level of crowing game to the table – their hens crow just like roosters do!
It’s no wonder why chicken owners who breed flocks consider a hen that crows a prized possession. And if your hen suddenly starts crowing like a rooster, don’t fret – there are a variety of reasons why this might be happening, including the following:
1. Dominance and Territorial Behavior
Crowing can be a technique for a hen to demonstrate her authority and territorial rights because chickens are social animals that create a hierarchy within their flock.
When confronted or intimidated by other chickens, hens may crow to assert their authority and defend their territory. Its behavior resembles that of roosters, who similarly crow to establish supremacy among their group and be at the top of the pecking order.
2. Hormonal Changes
Hormones in hens, like in roosters, can influence how they act. Hens can occasionally have high testosterone levels, a hormone specific to males. The presence of male hormones can cause them to exhibit the masculine trait of crowing.
3. Mating Behavior
Crowing in hens can also be a symptom of mate-seeking behavior. A dominant hen may assume the role of a male in the absence of a rooster and engage in behaviors like crowing to entice a mate.
Moreover, hens may try to mate with other chickens in the flock, which also might result in crowing behaviors.
4. Genetic Factors
As mentioned above, specific breeds of chickens are more likely to produce crowing hens. For instance, the uncommon Longcrower chicken breed is renowned for producing hens who crow like roosters.
Hens that crow are also known to be produced by other breeds, including Leghorns and Rhode Island Red varieties. Some breeds might be more prone to crowing habits due to genetic characteristics.
5. Environmental Elements
Crowding and stress are two environmental conditions that might make hens crow. Stressed hens may engage in aggressive behavior, like crowing, if confined within a short space or are environmentally stressed.
Moreover, hens maintained near roosters or other male birds may begin to display male-like traits and start crowing.
7 Tips for Stopping Hens from Crowing
Hearing hens crowing like roosters can be annoying, particularly if you live on a residential street. Although it might seem like an impossible feat, it is possible to stop hens from crowing repeatedly. Here are seven things you could try:
1. Keep the Chicken Alone
A good strategy to lessen the chicken’s influence among the flock is to isolate it. It loses its place in the pecking order when the crowing hen is separated from the other chickens, lessening its desire to declare its superiority by crowing.
However, this approach might not always be successful as the hen might continue to crow out of habit or for other factors.
2. Introduce a Rooster
Another way to change the hierarchy is to put a rooster into the flock. Roosters are naturally aggressive and will want to rule the hens.
A head rooster in the flock will prevent the hens from crowing since they will have a boss to obey. Yet, it is essential to remember the consequences of having a rooster, including the possibility of violence and additional room requirements.
3. Use a No-Crow Collar.
A little band is wrapped around the rooster’s neck as a no-crow collar. The collar does not hurt the chicken, but it does prevent air from reaching the vocal cords, which reduces the volume of its crows to low murmuring sounds.
This gentle approach has been shown to be successful in lowering rooster crowing. However, as it may make the chicken uncomfortable, it should only be used when all other methods have failed. Check out this video to learn more about how no-crow collars work!
4. Introduce New Hens
Rearranging the flock’s hierarchy and removing the need for the crowing hen to establish its authority can be accomplished by bringing in new hens. To avoid fighting or bullying, it’s crucial to introduce new chickens gradually and watch their behavior.
5. Provide a Peaceful, Dark Coop at Night
A dark, calm coop at night can help lessen crowing since chickens are believed to crow in reaction to sound and light. Ensure the coop has enough room for the chickens to move about comfortably and has adequate ventilation.
6. Minimize Stress Factors
Hens may crow in response to stressors like overpopulation, a lack of food and water, and high temperatures.
Ensure the hens have adequate room to walk around, provide them with fresh water and nutritious feed, and maintain a suitable temperature in the coop to prevent crowing.
In order to prevent upsetting the chickens, try to reduce raucous noises and unexpected movements around the flock.
7. Use Distraction Techniques
Distraction techniques can also provide environmental enrichment for the chickens and prevent hens from crowing. You can give them toys like hanging mirrors or balls to keep them occupied and lessen their urge to crow.
Moreover, white noise machines and soft music can block out outside disturbances that might induce crowing tendencies.
Research shows that distracting the chickens with such methods can offer various benefits, including preventing abnormal or aggressive behavior like crowing.
In a nutshell, we’ve learned that this behavior is not unusual among chickens. It can be attributed to multiple variables, including dominance, hormonal changes, mating behavior, and genetic and environmental factors.
Fortunately, you can prevent hens from crowing by following a couple of different techniques like the following:
- Isolate the crowing chicken for some time.
- Add a rooster to the flock.
- Get a no-crow collar for the crowing hen.
- Bring new hens into the flock.
- Distract the hens and reduce stressors.
With these simple yet effective steps, you can easily take control of the crowing chaos in your hen house and create a harmonious and thriving environment for your feathered friends!