any advice on noisy hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chuckachucka, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm fairly new to chicken keeping and have ended up with three hens living in a small coop with an attached covered run in my city garden. Due to foxes I have only ever let them out while I'm in the garden, maximum a couple of hours a day in summer, and now in winter no more than an hour a day.
    I've had one of the hens for nearly a year and for the past three or four months she has become louder and louder. I've also noticed the other two hens, who are younger, have started making the same noises. Its a long, drawn out bwaak bwaaak bwaaaaaak that gets very loud and the older hen in particular does it many, many times a day. It sounds like she is in distress, its that bad. I believe from the fact that she also paces by the door to the pen that she wants to go out, but I cant let them free range unsupervised. I have tried once or twice staying out with them recently for a bit longer and they still make the noises after they have to go back in.
    Its getting to the point where I'm worried I might not be able to keep the hens because they seem so unhappy and I'm worried my neighbours will complain about the constant racket. Has anyone experienced something similar?
    The run is about 2m by 2m which is most likely too small but I've tried keeping the two younger hens in the house for a couple of hours and the older hen still complains loudly over and over. I cant extend the pen or coop. Would it be helpful to find a new home for one of the hens so there would only be two and therefore more space? Or do I have to give them all up? Its really upsetting because I'm quite attached to the older hen. I realised that chickens make some noise but i only have three and did not expect them to make this terrible distressing noise all say. The only thing that stops it is shutting them inside the coop, but what the point in that?
    If I never let them free range, will they eventually forget it and get used to the run and stop making the noise? This will be difficult because even when i go in to replace food and water, they escape and I have to herd them back in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  2. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    They're just whining. My girls tend to make that sound when they are about to lay an egg, but they do do it throughout the day. I'm not sure why, but it isn't anything to cause worry for their health. In fact, I worry when they stop making that sound [​IMG]
    What breed are your girls? Some breeds tend to be louder than others. Leghorns, andalusians, and Old english game chickens, for example.

    If you think that they might be disturbing the neighbors, try giving them some "toys" or distractions to keep them busy.
    Here's a link: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2015/02/20-winter-boredom-busters-for-backyard.html

    I'll let you read that instead of me try to type down some of them for you [​IMG]

    Hope this helps, and [​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Are these young birds near onset of lay?
    Pullets close to laying often make quite the racket.

    Dd you get rid of the 'pale faced rooster'?

    Is the 'head shaking' still going on?
     
  4. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2016
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    Yes the two pullets are nearly ready to start laying. The older hen is already laying though and makes the most noise. I've come to realise she must be unhappy in the run and wants to free range but with the foxes around its too dangerous. Im thinking I may have to rehome all the chickens since they seem so unhappy.
    As for the rooster, he lived inside the house for a while, and now we have found him a new home. Couldn't keep him because the neighbours wouldn't put up with the crowing. The head shaking continued as long as we had him. Never did figure it out.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hopefully you told the new owners about the head shaking.

    The noise thing can happen even if they do have plenty of space tho....I've had some real jabberers and screamers.
    It comes and goes, especially with new layers and their surging hormones, but can definitely be intolerable when it's happening.
    If you don't have enough space and/or cannot tolerate the noise, then sadly it may well be that chickens are not going to work out for you.
     

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