Picture this scenario. You are a backyard chicken keeper rearing only hens in your coop because you do not want the early morning noises from the crowing of roosters. Or maybe roosters are not allowed in your locality. Then one morning, you hear a crow coming from your coop. Why does my hen sound like a rooster?
Of course, you will start wondering how it happened. You can even start imagining that a rooster probably sneaked into your backyard. If you are sure of no rooster in your flock, You will start asking yourself if hens can crow.
Can a hen crow like a rooster? The answer is yes. Your hen can crow like a rooster. Many reasons that can lead to this. Keep reading to learn more.
Reasons Why a Hen Can Crow Like a Rooster
You do not have to panic, as this is a rare occurrence. Most chicken keepers can confirm that they have never heard their hens crowning. There are, however, a few cases of hens crowing, and it is not a big deal. Here are reasons why your hen may crow:
The Pecking Order
The pecking order refers to an established dominance order that makes itself clear at an early age in the lives of a group of chickens. The pecking order may be reestablished anytime new chickens are introduced in the flock.
In most cases, hens crow to establish their pecking order. Like roosters, hens will crow to assert their dominance in the flock and to establish a territory. Your hen is thus more likely to crow because it might be on a sort of power trip.
The crow will not sound exactly like that of a rooster. However, you may find it hard to differentiate between the two if you raise chickens for the first time. A hen’s crow usually sounds a bit terse and strangled. You can be sure of the pecking order being the cause of your hen’s crowing if she shows other roosters’ characteristics, such as bullying behavior and aggression.
Lack of a Rooster in Your Flock
If you once had a rooster in your flock, but you no longer do, a hen may decide to take his place in the flock and start crowing. This can be because of the pecking order or hierarchy.
Imitation can also be one of the main reasons why your hen crows. She might crow just by mimicking the rooster. You do not have to panic as it may not necessarily happen to your hens just because it happens. It is easy to stop this behavior if your hen has acquired it. You have to remove the rooster from the flock, and your hen will eventually stop this behavior.
Your hen can crow like a rooster because she could be suffering from a phenomenon known as ‘sexual reversal.’ In this phenomenon, the ovum, responsible for estrogens in hens, may start failing or become damaged. This will cause the estrogen level in the hen to drop while the level of testosterone will rise.
If the testosterone level rises and that of estrogen drops, the hen will start looking like a rooster. The hen will stop laying eggs and adopt rooster characteristics. Eventually, your hen will start crowing.
Normal Noises Made by Hens
If you suspect your hen of being crowing, you will have to listen more carefully. Sometimes, it could not be a crow by other types of noise. Here are some of the everyday noises that hens make.
Cluck of Contentment
The cluck of content is one of the prevalent noises that hens make. You can quickly notice it if you carefully listen to your hens as they roam around the pen or when they are free-ranging. It sounds like a peaceful, calm, and slow murmuring. Most chicken keepers believe that hens make this sound to indicate that they are doing well and everything is fine.
The Alarm Call
The alarm call is probably the second common noise that you will hear your hens making. However, it may not be the sound that one will want to hear. It usually sounds like a loud, fast, and repetitive clucking. If your hens start making the alarm call, you must move very fast and check what is happening.
If left undressed, the sound may turn into a sharper and piercing scream or shriek. The alarm call is usually a signal that something (a predator) is coming after the chickens.
The Egg Songs
Another common noise made by hens is the egg song. If you have more hens in your coop, they will make this sound when they are all trying to get into the nest box at once. It sounds persistent and loud and will prolong until the hen making the noise makes her way into the nesting box. Nearly all hens of the chicken breed will make this noise.
The egg song is typical just before the hen lays an egg. They will also make this song after laying eggs. Most chicken keepers say that the egg song is meant to alert other chickens that the hen is about to do something she is proud of.
The Broody Growls
If you have ever kept broody hens in your backyard, then you must be familiar with the broody growls. A hen that does not want to leave the nest box will puff up her chest and growl. If challenged, she can even hiss.
The broody growly will later shift when the hen is allowed to hatch her eggs. She will start to coo and murmur to the unhatched chick. It usually starts just before the eggs hen hatch, and she starts talking to the chicks inside the eggs. Sometimes, you may hear the chicks talking back.
The Food Call
In most cases, the food call noise is usually made by roosters. However, if you do not have a rooster in your coop, one of the hens, as a dominant leader, will take this role. The hen will announce with a sound when she finds good food. The rest of the flock will draw in when they hear the sound. The food call is much like the sound used by a hen when talking to her chicks.
How to Stop Your Hen From Crowing
It is not just enough to know the reasons why hens crow. It is essential to take the necessary required steps to stop the habit. There are various home remedies and methods that you can use to prevent hens from crowing.
Introducing a Rooster to the Flock
Lack of a rooster may be one of the reasons why your hen is crowing. It is easy to solve this. All you will have to do is to introduce a rooster to your flock. The dynamic will be changed by the rooster by taking the crowing duties. The hen will be forced to surrender the responsibility to the rooster.
Introducing New Hens to the Flock
You can try introducing new hens to the flock as a way of stopping your hens from crowing. This may lead to a change in the pecking order in your flock, and the crowing hen will be upset and stop the habit. You can consider introducing more dominant chicken breeds such as Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red, and Leghorn to push the crowing hen to lower the pecking order.
Introducing the No-Crow Collar
This is one of the best and more effective ways to stop your hen from crowing. No-crow collars are small bands usually put around the neck of a rooster to make him quieter. You can also use it on your crowing hen to achieve more immediate and sure results.
It works by restricting the amount of air that can be drawn in by the hen. In the process, it will prevent the hen from producing loud crows. The collars do not hurt the hen or cause any discomfort, and a hen with it will still go on with her regular duties. The only change will be a quieter crowing.
Provision of Good Living Conditions
Although a clean living condition will not stop a hen from crowing, it will help with preventive care. The body of your hen will stay stronger if she is provided with all the necessary nutrients and minerals that she may need. When she is lacking the essential nutrients, the body will deplete the nutrients from her bones and internal organs to make eggs.
The pillaging of nutrients will leave your hen more vulnerable to bacteria, injuries, and diseases. In the end, it may result in hormonal imbalance, which can make the hen gain features of a rooster and start crowing.
Hens can sometimes crow like roosters. There are several reasons that can lead to this, such as lack of a rooster in the flock, change in the pecking order, and hormonal imbalances. There is nothing big to worry about if you hen starts crowing. However, it would be best if you tried to end the behavior.