This article will talk about the most common sounds that chickens make and what they mean.
Chickens are capable of producing different sounds, just like any other animal. These sounds always have their distinct meaning and communicative call. Anyone with chickens can learn a lot by listening to what they say.
For example, hens let each other know they’re there, where food is, respond to each other, and so on. Chickens will also greet you in the morning when you enter their coop.
If you introduce new food or perch, listen for cooing and clucking noises, this shows their appreciation.
The Egg Song
The Egg song is the most common chicken vocalization for laying hens. When they are in the process of laying an egg or perhaps ready to lay, then they will make all kinds of noises. The song is a mix of familiar chicken noises.
Clucking, bawk’s, a buck-buck-buck, and a happy cackling. Other hens will join in, and it’s enough to entice a rooster to mate with the hen that just laid an egg too. They might be heard cackling as they look or wait for their nest box.
You might also hear grumbles of agitation when they find that their favorite nest box is already occupied. The impatient chickens, who can no longer wait for the nest box, will incredibly agitate more and start complaining.
The song can also change a bit, becoming higher pitched and more frantic if two hens begin to fight over the same nest box. Usually, this warbling will cease quickly when a most dominant hen can get her way.
Chickens may make all sorts of noises first thing in the morning. The noises imply a good-morning saying to you and each other.
You’ll also notice coop chatter when they are settling down, ready for sleep. Morning noise tends to be rowdier while evening chatter will be more subdued; murmuring, trills, and contented sounds abound.
However, if you open the coop late, the chickens will scold you in no uncertain terms. They will also accuse of lying in bed wasting the day.
Broody hens are unmistakable. Those who have laid eggs and are now sitting down on them, waiting for them to hatch, will make some noise. The noise only comes out when the hens feel threatened or agitated.
For example, when you try to push the broody hen off her eggs, or another hen tries to do the same. It will let out one of these grumbles.
Getting too close to a broody hen will also make her growl to you. This is just a way of telling you to go away because she is surging with hormones, and she doesn’t want you to get anywhere closer to her eggs, sometimes chicks too.
When you cause much trouble near her, she will scream so loud at you, turning her grumble into a full-blown, enraged tantrum. She might also puff up feathers and peck at you until you leave.
Instances when the hen gets off her eggs in her own accord, either to look for food or water to drink, she will engage in constant clucking as a sign of telling everybody to get out of her way. This makes it easy to get what she wants to accomplish and get back to her eggs.
This is the best kind of chicken noise to hear. It is a contented noise when they’re hanging out in the yard, foraging, or chilling in the dust bath. It is also the easiest way to identify through hearing whether the chickens are safe and happy or not.
They usually like to remain within the earshot of each other while they graze. Since they are happy and not disturbed, they let out frequent low murmurs to make sure they can hear each other.
If you pet a chicken, you may also recognize this kind of noise when you groom them or keep them on your lap. It’s therefore easy to tell if your chicken is happy because it will make some low, contented noises too.
The noise is a call that is one of the most important to know. When a predator appears, the chicken will usually make a very high, very loud, and very shrill noise.
While it’s more common for roosters to make predator alert calls, signaling the rest of the flock to danger, you may hear it from a more dominant or even from other members of your flock if you have a small group.
These noises may b singular loud, piercing calls, or they might be elongated bellows. You might also hear a caution call which sounds like rapidly repeated notes. This might not mean that the flock is under attack.
But definitely, there is something dangerous and the flock is alerting each other to pay attention. A repeated alarm noise sounds like a repeated cackle and is even a stronger sign that a predator is nearby.
An ‘air raid’ noise is the most alarming noise that flocks make. It is the noise that will send you scrambling out to the chicken coop with whatever weapon you find. An ‘air raid’ sound is a very loud and identifiable sound.
It signals that the hen of the flock is in imminent danger. You might hear this noise if a hawk is circling overhead, a possum is lurking nearby, or a raccoon has made its way into the run.
Parenting and Chick Chatter
Two ways a mother chicken can talk to her babies are when they are still in the egg and long after they have hatched. For the chicks still in the egg, she makes a clucking and purring sound that is done quietly.
This is because she doesn’t want to disturb the unhatched chick. She does this either while sitting on the eggs or perhaps when she needs to get up and shift the eggs underneath her.
She clucks and purrs as a way of acclimating the chick to the sound of her voice. When the chicks are in their final stage of incubation, they start peeping back as they talk back to their mothers.
The hen responds, she is essentially encouraging them to break free of the shell, letting them know that they will be safe once they do so.
When the chicks hatch, you will hear their mother clucking as she teaches them certain lessons, like how to eat, drink, and bathe themselves.
If she has chicks that are struggling in any way, she will slow down the rate of chatter so that her chicks can understand what she is trying to tell them.
Chicks will also release their version of warning or distress calls when they are small. Most often, a distress call from a chick is because it is either feeling threatened, stuck somewhere, or lost.
When a mother hen rushes over to check on her chicks in distress, she will bring them back to her nest or emit a soft growling sound if she believes the chick is in danger.
If a chick is raised in the absence of the mother, you will get used to hearing these sounds on your own. For example, you will hear light, quiet, or trills. Soft warbling soundsare also common.
However, if the chicks make repeated strident, insistent noises, then something is wrong. Other times, it might imply that the chicks are in a state of stress, and there is a need to address the situation immediately.
If there’s food and one chicken finds it, it will make the rest know about it about a unique sound. A hen does the same to call her chicks. Regardless of the gender of the chicken, it will make a series of dull clicking noises, letting the others know that there is food nearby.
Roosting calls sound similar among the sexes. It will be loud, low-pitched, and usually repetitive.
Chickens may call each other as they prepare to roost. This occurs at nightfall, showing it’s time to go to bed.
Depending on the breed of the chickens, you might find that your roosters begin to emit succinct, loud calls as they encourage all other hens to get inside the coop.
Mating noises are made on behalf of the rooster. It’s usually deep, low, and rumbly. Roosters will be exhibiting other signs that he is ready to mate, for example, circling the hen and flicking their wings on the ground.
This sign indicates that the rooster is ready to mate with a hen.
On the other hand, hens won’t make any noise during the courtship process. In most cases, they produce a sharp cry of a surprise if a rooster approaches and they don’t see him.
A chicken can make several kinds of distress calls. Many are similar to those made by chickens who alert others to the presence of predators. Distress calls can also be indicative of injury or illness.
This is usually brief, sharp, and succinct. It is also made by chickens who have been separated from the flock.
Another noise you might hear is a long, loud, high-pitched cry that is being emitted by a chicken who has been captured and is being moved away from the flock. A good example is when the predator snatches a chicken, expect to hear this noise.
Chickens make all kinds of noises. We recommend that anyone having an idea of keeping them must try and learn about their sounds to understand what they have to say.
If you hear a panicky noise and it is in any way out of the ordinary, check on your chickens immediately. While some chickens are lower on the pecking order may not vocalize as much as more dominant chickens do, all chickens will make some form of noise during the day.
Some chickens are generally shy, but if your chickens are not talking at all, then there must be something wrong. We also recommend that you use the noises of your chickens to guide you about your flock’s health and wellbeing.
They can be a good sign of any illness, injury, or predator issues. These unique chickens have their language. While we may not understand it all the time, knowing the difference between the most common chicken noises is the easiest way to ensure the health and happiness of the chicken in the long term.