Have you been asking yourself if hens can crow like roosters do? Then read on to find an answer.
Most backyard chicken owners have had this strange experience- or maybe one that is similar. You own backyard hens. You do not rear roosters because the local laws do not allow you or because you do not want those morning noise disturbances from roosters. One morning as you enjoy a cup of coffee in your, you hear a crow. Yes, a crow!
You should not be worried about that crow. Yes, in some rare circumstances, some hens crow like roosters.
There are several reasons why hens sometimes crow like roosters.
The Pecking Order
In most cases, it is very normal for a hen to crow. The pecking order refers to an order of dominance established in the early life of a group of chickens. If you introduce new chickens to the already existing flock, the pecking order will be re-established.
Naturally, in a flock, it is roosters who reside at the top of the flock. According to most studies, roosters crow most of the time to assert dominance and territory. In cases where there is no rooster in a flock, a hen may take that position and crow like a rooster to establish her place at the top of the pecking order.
The crowing of a hen is not as loud as that of a rooster. The sound of the crow is not precisely as that of roosters too. However, if you are not keen or you are keeping chicken for the first time, you may find it very difficult to differentiate.
In most cases, the crowing of a particular hen will end after a few days or weeks. If it does not stop, you will have to remove the hen that is more dominant in the flock and isolate her until when she calms down. A new pecking order will be created in her absence. By the time she returns, things will be more mellow in the flock.
The hen changing sex to a rooster
Changing sex to a rooster might look strange or even surprise you, but it can happen. Your hen can at some point change sex to a rooster. This phenomenon is known as spontaneous sex reversal.
Sex reversal in hens can make them change hormonally and physically to acquire the features of roosters. Some of the standard features that you might notice in a hen when it undergoes sex reversal includes slowing or stopping egg production, male wattles and plumage, and growth of a larger comb.
How does spontaneous sex reversal occur?
Just like a human being, a hen is also born with two ovaries. The left ovary develops and produces estrogen that is needed in regulating ova production. On the other hand, the right ovary of the hen does not grow. It remains tiny, dormant, and undeveloped.
Spontaneous sex reversal will occur if the left ovary gets damaged or stops producing the right estrogen. This causes a drop in the levels of estrogen and a rise in the level of testosterone. As a result, the hen will start to transform and acquire the behaviors and characteristics of a rooster.
Hens that suffer from malnutrition for not being given a proper diet are more likely to experience premature damage to the ovaries. If a hen is not given enough calcium, the eggshell may end up being thin and brittle.
The internal pressure that is experienced during the creation of an egg can make it break internally and damage the reproductive system of the hen. If, by chance, the damage affects the left ovary, it will force the right ovary to start working. This will make the hen take the characteristics of a rooster which include crowing.
Age, Diseases, and Hormonal Imbalance
Aging hens may also crow sometimes. Besides, some diseases such as cancer that can develop in the left ovary of a hen over time can eventually lead to it developing characteristics of a rooster and start crowing.
Hormonal imbalances may also lead to crowing in hens. Hormones may overwhelm the body of a hen and lead to crowing.
What are the usual noises that hens make?
If you have any suspects of your hen’s crowing, you will have to listen carefully again. Sometimes, it might be the crow made by roosters. There are a variety of normal noises that hens produce for various reasons. Here are the everyday noises in hens.
Cluck of contentment
The cluck of contentment is a typical sound that hens make. It is the most common sound that you can hear. If you spend some time listening to them moving freely around the pen, you will hear it. The sound produced is peaceful, calm, and low murmuring.
It is thought that this murmuring is meant to signal to one another that they are having a good time. It also relates to the safety of the hens.
The alarm call is the second most common sound that you can hear from hens. However, it may not necessarily be the one that you may want to hear. Generally, the alarm cry is meant to alert other hens of danger.
There are two different types of alarm calls by hens.
- The first one is repetitive clucking. It becomes persistent, louder, and faster as the danger approaches. The alarm is raised for all hens to flee or take care.
- The air raid warning is the second alarm. It is more of a shriek or scream. It is meant to alert others that there is a hawk around.
The egg song
The egg song is common where there are multiple hens all competing to get into their nest boxes. It usually sounds loud and persists until when the hen that is making the noise makes her way.
It may get quite noisy if you have several hens in a coop lying at the same time. They make the sound when others occupy their nest box. It is more of a protest that is meant to intimidate the occupier so that she leaves it. Sometimes the complainer may try to evict the occupier physically.
Almost all broody hens will make this sound at some point. Usually, they are hormonal and bad-tempered until when chicks have hatched. The hen may not easily leave the nest and will hiss and growl when challenged.
If the hen hatches, she will coo and murmur most of the time to her chicks. This may start before hatching.
The food call is usually a rooster’s job. However, if you do not have a rooster, it is normal for one of the hens to take the role of a dominant leader. She will announce to others when she finds food in the backyard. The sound is similar to that of a mother hen when talking to her chicks.
How to stop your hen from crowing
It is not just enough to know the reasons why your hen crows. You will have to put in place various measures to stop the hen from crowing. There are several home remedies and methods that you can employ to achieve this.
Introducing a rooster to the flock
The absence of a rooster around is one of the major causes of crowing in hens. A hen may start crowing if there is no rooster in the flock by assuming his role. It is very easy to solve this. You will have to look for a rooster and add to your flock.
The rooster will take the crowing duties in the flock and change the dynamics. However, it is important to note that a rooster may not be effective if you want to end crowing because of noise.
Introducing new hens to the flock
You can try to introduce new hens to the flock as a way of stopping your hen from crowing. This will interfere with the pecking order. As a result, it can lead to an upset that can stop your hen from crowing.
You can introduce hens from breeds that are more dominant such as Wyandotte, Leghorn, or Rhode Island Red. This will ensure that your hen is pushed to the lowest in the pecking order.
Use of the no-crow collar
The no-crow collars are mainly very small bands that are put around the neck of a rooster to make his crowing quieter. If you are after immediate results, it is a sure as well as a more effective way.
The collar restricts the amount of air that can be drawn in by your hen. As a result, the hen becomes unable to produce loud crows.
The no-crow collars do not cause any form of hurt or discomfort in hens as the hen will still go on with her normal business. However, her crowing will be quieter.
Provision of clean living conditions
Although the provision of clean living conditions does not necessarily stop your hen from crowing, it will be of great importance for preventative care. The body of a hen will stay strong.
She has to have all the necessary nutrients and minerals that are needed in the creation of eggs. When she lacks the essential nutrients, her body will deplete them from her bones and the entire body to create eggs.
The pillaging of nutrients can easily subject the hen to diseases, bacteria, and injuries. This may eventually lead to crowing.
It is possible for hens to crow, and it should not be something to worry about. In most cases, it is a sign that a hen has established dominance in a flock. The behavior is more likely to go away after a few days or weeks. However, if it does not end, you should not have any worries.