Chicken owners do not find the necessity to set the alarm on their phones. Hearing their roosters have their cock-a-doodle-doo routine at four o’clock in the morning had always been their natural alarm. Roosters that crow is a common occurrence. Therefore, do hens crow just as much as the roosters?
This article will cover
- Do hens crow like a rooster?
- What causes my hens to crow?
- Do hens crow at dawn?
- 5 Tips on how to stop hens from crowing
- What do the normal hen noises sound like?
- Is there a chance that hens turn into roosters?
Do hens crow like a rooster?
Although we have already established that it is an everyday occurrence for roosters to crow, hens, too, crow just like them. Hens being able to crow is not a rare occasion. Therefore, you should not be astonished if you hear one do so because it is already innate to them as a chicken. Although hens can crow, the circumstance does not happen as regularly as the roosters crowing.
However, even if hens do crow just like the roosters do and sound the same, they are certainly not as loud and powerful as roosters. Regardless of the age of the chicken, young or adult, they are still capable of crowing.
If your backyard chicken only consists of hens, but you suddenly hear one that crows, then it may be because it is the mature and alpha hen. One of the reasons why it is crowing is because it is trying to introduce itself as a dominant and protector of the flock, especially that the coop is without a rooster.
Why are my hens crowing?
Chicken breeds well-known for hens that crow are Rhode Island Red Breeds, Leghorn, and a Longcrower. Longcrower is a rare chicken bloodline that brings forth hens that crow similar to a rooster. Hens that crow is desired and very much admired by chicken owners who breed. Apart from long-crowers, there are diverse reasons why your hen started to crow like a rooster.
1. Pecking order or a Flock Hierarchy
A pecking order usually occurs if there is no rooster in a flock of chicken hens. Pecking order is when hens emphasize their declaration about the reign and dominance over all the lower-ranking chicken hens in the coop.
To do this, the hen has to start crowing like a rooster to prove itself and its worth. According to studies, the sole reason roosters crow is to declare dominance and colony among the flock, which is similar to why hens start to crow. Ergo, power-tripping is present.
Due to the pecking order, relentlessly bullying will eventually happen, resulting in chaos in the chicken coop. The masculinity attribute of the chicken alpha hen will continue if no action is done on the part of the chicken owner. This is where the importance of being a responsible chicken owner comes in. It is essential to maintain peace and order in the coop to avoid future nuisance.
The solution to this pecking order is to immediately isolate the alpha chicken hen among the rest and observe changes before introducing it back to the flock.
Watch the video to learn more about chicken pecking order problems and signs
2. Age, Diseases, and hormonal imbalances
Age, disease, and hormonal imbalances are some of the factors why your hen starts to crow. As hens begin to age, there is a high possibility that they may undergo some crowing phase. Disease and hormonal imbalances affect each other which can lead to hens starting crowing.
Just like humans, hens, too, have two ovaries. Though they have two ovaries, only one is functioning: the left one– the ovary-producing egg. However, diseases and injuries are inevitable occurrences.
The left ovary produces the female hormone estrogen. On the other hand, the right ovary produces male hormones. Over time, the left ovary of every hen has the tendency to be damaged, which will prompt the right ovary to develop.
Therefore, sex reversal takes place. Thus, producing male hormones can make the hen carry and see itself similar to a rooster. Both external and internal diseases may cause ovarian injury or what we humans call ovarian cancer. And sometimes, chickens also start to crow while laying eggs.
3. Dietary Issues
Though ovarian cancer can still be avoided if a responsible chicken owner can provide all the nutrients the chickens need in their body, unhealthy and malnourished chickens might suffer from premature damage in their ovaries.
Calcium deficiency can cause the shells of the eggs to be thin and brittle. Thus, when a hen starts to lay eggs, there is a tendency that the internal pressure of producing an egg can cause internal damage to the reproductive system of the hen.
Since we have already acknowledged that broken ovaries can cause hens to crow like a rooster, there is also a possibility that your hen can convert to a rooster.
This sometimes makes it change its hormone and can also acquire the physical traits and features of a rooster. Some of which include the wattles, plumages, sudden growth of the comb but the worst thing that could happen is to either stop or slow down the egg production.
5. Are you sure that your hen is not a rooster?
A cockerel or a rooster typically starts to crow at around two or three months of their age. Although this is unusual, it could still happen. It is a common mistake done mainly by hatcheries. Frequently, they tend to mistaken the identity of a baby chicken, whether it is a hen or a cock. This occurs for the sole reason that methods to identify its gender are not hundred percent accurate.
6. A rare breed of crowing chicken: The Longcrowers
From the name itself, undeniably, longcrower chicken breeds have hens that crow. It is a rare breed of poultry that was introduced under the T’ang dynasty of ancient China and most parts of Asia and Europe. With the name given, these chickens are named Longcrowers because the duration of their crow is longer than the normal ones.
Do hens crow at dawn?
Definitely yes. However, since hens and roosters sound just as much the same when they crow, we will not be able to recognize whoever crows. We only use our sense of hearing when chickens crow in the morning. Thus, we cannot confirm which gender it is.
5 Tips on how to stop hens from crowing
1. Isolate the chicken to reduce its dominance among the flock
Isolating the chicken is also deemed to be an excellent solution to break down the order pecking.
2. Introduce a rooster
Please include at least one rooster in the flock to rearrange the hierarchy by letting the rooster takeover all its duties and responsibilities.
3. Make use of the no-crow collar
It is a little band placed all around the neck of the rooster to make sure that it is quieter when it crows.
Watch the video to learn more about no-crow collar
4. Introduce new hens
Introducing new hens will be of great help in reordering the flock hierarchy of the chicken hens.
5. Providing a clean and decent living condition
Although it does not wholly stop chickens from crowing, it is still considered to be good prevention. A healthy and robust chicken means low chance of damaging the ovaries, which often causes gender-switching due to hormonal imbalance.
What do the normal hen noises sound like?
If you are a backyard chicken owner and have had it for years already, then you can now differentiate the noise your hens make. This is already a piece of cake for long-term chicken owners, but for those new to poultry life, you may think that all the noises they make and the crow are just the same.
1. Cluck of contentment
This sound is often heard whenever the hens are in a free-range mode. It is like a low murmuring sound that makes you feel calm and peaceful. The sound means that it is giving a hint to all the chickens in the flock that they are all doing well.
2. Alarm Call
One of the most common noises a chicken can make. However, you have to make sure that the alarm call is the one that will not make you rush into the coop. If the sound is persistent, loud, and sharp simultaneously, then something wrong is going on. This alarm call is a cry for help simply because there is a presence of a predator.
3. Broody Growls
Broody hens tend to make broody growls because it is not in the mood to leave its nest.
4. Egg Song
The egg song is frequently heard when multiple chickens compete with whoever gets into the nesting boxes to brood or help hatch the chicken. It is a persistent and loud noise that only halts whenever it reaches its destination.
5. Food Call
The rooster mostly makes the food call noise, but if you do not have one, then the alpha hen does it when it has found good food to share with the flock. This noise means that it is broadcasting to everyone about the excellent meal it has found.
Is there a chance that hens turn into roosters?
Yes, there is an excellent chance that a hen will turn into a rooster not only its hormones but also its physical attributes. When the left ovary gets broken, the right ovary will step up. However, it is the ovary that produces male hormones. Therefore, it can cause the hen to act and look more similar to a rooster.
Watch the video to learn more about hens turning and acting like roosters
The response to the question “do hens crow” is undoubtedly a yes. Hearing hens crow is common, and there is nothing to concern about. And they also crow like a rooster. Although there are various reasons that prompt hens to crow, it is still vital to check the reason as to why hens started to crow for you to take immediate action when needed.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken & Scratch.