If you’re a poultry farmer, then I believe you’re aware of the different distinctive sounds chickens produce. Although these birds are quiet and docile, clucking for hens and crowing for roosters is one way they express themselves and communicate with the rest of the flock. If you’re a beginner in all things chickens, then some of these sounds will keep you worried to a point of asking why is my chicken screaming.
Now, in case you didn’t know, chickens produce over 30 different sounds each with its own specific meaning. To us, these sounds may appear like a bunch of squawking and cackling. But, to them, these are special codes that convey important messages.
For instance, they can signal nesting box problems, laying eggs, oncoming threats, or “hey, look what I found”. While we may not understand all these sounds and their communicative goals, at least we can discuss some reasons why your chicken is screaming and highlight some ways you can stop them from yelling.
What Noise Does a Chicken Make?
Just as we’ve mentioned, chickens have many ways to communicate. These sounds may seem like noises or screaming to us. However, when it comes to birds, each chicken sound has a unique distinctive meaning. That said, the sound chickens make, especially hens is a cluck. On the other hand, the sound produced by a rooster is a crow.
6 Reasons for Screaming Your Chickens a Lot
1. Egg Noise
The most common chicken vocalization is probably the noise made by chickens when they’re about to lay an egg. In fact, this is one of the sounds every poultry farmer should master. Now, this cackling and squawking noise occur in three ways. One, your chickens produce this sound when they’re about to lay eggs.
Secondly, they produce a cackling sound that varies in volume and duration once they’ve laid an egg. Lastly, chickens can squawk when they notice their favorite nesting box is occupied. So, to show they’re extremely agitated, you’ll hear chicken yelling.
If you’re a keen farmer, you can respond to these complaints by adding a few extra nesting boxes depending on the size of your flock. This way, at least each laying hen will have a nest box to lay her egg in.
2. They’re Threatened
Chickens are creatures that know how to survive in the wild. That’s the reason why you’ll see them free-ranging in large flocks. Since they know they’re at the bottom of the food chain, chickens are always alert and will make distress calls to alert others when they sense the presence of predators.
Distress calls are sudden, loud, and high-pitched; indicating that something out of the ordinary has really scared them. Sometimes, it might be a snake, raccoon, fox, hawk, or pet within the home. In either case, it’s good to master chicken sounds and what they mean so that you can act accordingly.
3. Predator Alerts
Now, we’ve discussed the sound made by chickens when they’re threatened. This time, we’ll look at the sound produced by chickens when they identify a predator. Although the sound is different between hens and roosters, it’s usually a very loud, shrill, and high-pitched sound that signals the flock is in imminent danger.
In most cases, the dominant chickens such as the alpha rooster or the dominant hens trigger predator alerts. Also, the screams defer depending on whether it’s a ground or air predator. In the case of ground predators, you’ll hear chicken calling with elongated bellows or singular loud and piercing calls. You might also hear a repeated cackle sound that means a predator is near.
The last sound that’s quite common among chickens is an “air raid” sound. This noise is highly alarming and it means that an aerial predator has attacked. If you hear this sound, it’s recommended that you stop whatever you’re doing and pick whichever weapon is near.
4. Communication With the Flock
Just like humans, chickens also communicate by having a chat. In the morning, you’ll hear coop noises when you open the coop to release them. Although the sounds will appear like shouts and screams, chickens will understand the language quite clearly.
During the day, you’ll hear “click-click and chuck-chuck” noises from roosters. Here, the roosters can call their hens to share a treat they’ve found or they might be looking to impress a hen, which they hope to mate with later.
These happy chicken sounds can proceed throughout the day until evening when the chickens are getting back to the coop to prepare for the night.
5. Chicken Personality
Another factor that can make your chickens quite noisy is the breed. Now, some chicken breeds are quiet while others are very noisy. Chickens with a noisy personality will always make contented noises when they’re hanging out with others.
If your backyard has enough space for chickens to free range, you’ll hear low chatters and mummers from your flock. Some of these noises are signals to ensure the flock has each other’s back in case of anything. The best thing about this low chicken sound is that it doesn’t signal any danger. In fact, some chicken breeds will still produce these low mummers when you’re grooming them.
6. Broody Hen
Do you have a broody hen around? If you do, get too close to her nest and see what happens. In most cases, she’s likely to growl to warn you to stay away from her. The same happens to other chickens that try to get close to her.
If you try to be stubborn, she will growl more loudly and at times, she might use force, such as peck at you, to make you leave. The same happens if a broody hen wants to feed and get back to her eggs. You’ll hear grumbles or chicken yelling sounds that signal someone or something is making her feel agitated.
How Do You Quiet Your Chickens from Screaming?
From what we’ve learned, it’s normal for chickens to make all sorts of noises. In fact, backyard chickens are encouraged to make noise to communicate with you and the rest of the flock. While some of the noises are happy chicken sounds, others are serious alerts that signal close predators.
However, despite being highly encouraged, chicken screams can be a nuisance if you live in an urban area. In such a setting, it’s easy to disturb neighbors next to your home. So, to avoid disruptions, you need to find ways to silence your flock.
Consider Raising a Quiet Breed
The first obvious step you should take is to get a chicken breed that’s quiet and less flighty. Some of the breeds you can pick in this category include the Australorp, Cochin, Silkie, Mottled Java, Speckled Sussex, Rhode Island Red, and the Wyandotte.
Pick Hens Only
In most regions, people are restricted from owning roosters. that’s because roosters are very noisy as compared to hens. So, to cut down the sounds of chicken calling, it’s recommended that you stick to a hens-only flock.
Train Your Flock
Lastly, you can consider hiring someone to train your flock to stop screaming. Here, your trainer will spray water on your chickens whenever they yell. Although it’s a surefire method, it’s particularly dangerous if your flock is not protected against predators.
Remember, your chickens scream when alerting others of something. Therefore, if there’s less security in your backyard, then a predator can sneak in and kill most if not all of your birds.
Are you struggling to understand chicken sounds and what they mean? Well, this short guide has discussed everything you need to know. As you can see, chickens communicate using many sounds. Each of these sounds has a distinctive meaning. Although you may not master all the sounds, at least learning a few essential sounds is paramount to the safety of your flock.
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Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!