Bilingual Rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 12 Acres, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. 12 Acres

    12 Acres Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    Oak Harbor, OH
    I noticed some very interesting behavior in my chickens today. I was outside on the south side of the house watching my birds for a brief moment before going back inside to warm up. The birds and I were up close to the house and the roof overhang was directly over our heads blocking the view directly above the house.

    Suddenly some Blue Jays began their loud call, "Jay! Jay!" My Hamburg roo then sounded an alarm. All my chickens went under the porch and one of my hens who was up on the porch crouched beneath the grill. I looked up but didn't see anything overhead.

    I looked down again at the hen crouching under the grill, confused. I looked back up into the sky above us and just then a Cooper's hawk flew over the house into view.

    How did my chickens know that the Blue Jay was sounding an alarm for a hawk? I've read that chickens have over 30 vocalizations. Some of those are alarms for different kinds of threats: threat by air, threat on the ground, etc. Do Blue Jays also have different alarm calls? And if so, how did my Hamburg roo know that the Jays were warning that a hawk was coming?

    Chickens are a lot smarter than we give them credit for! My roo is an excellent group leader. This isn't the only outstanding characteristic he has, but it certainly is the most remarkable. My roo understands Blue Jays!

    Here he was at 22 weeks this fall. His tail is much more impressive now. What a good roo!

  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Thats why a lot of people keep guineas. Chickens pick up on alarm sounds of other animals. I think most animals do.
  3. Morning Dove

    Morning Dove Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    Eastern Shore MD
    Quote:I know that all song birds have a common distress/danger call. I think it's totally possible that Chickens pick up on this.

    Heck, when my roo catches sight of a hawk and calls, even my cats duck for cover!

  4. Ladyhawke1

    Ladyhawke1 Songster

    Quote:My dear, in my way of thinking, the whole rest of the animal kingdom is smarter than the smartest human ever born. [​IMG]
  5. flakey chick

    flakey chick Songster

    May 3, 2007
    Well certaintly all your chickens have learned your treat call. It's just not that hard to put 2 and 2 together. At first my girls didn't even recognize the hawks cry. Now they know the squirel's warning.
  6. the1much

    the1much Currently Birdless Hippy

    my roo tells all the english sparrows, and ringneck doves that theres a pred. here,, when he holla's,, every bird shuts up ( and theres always a few hundred here chirping), and finds a hiding place.
  7. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I've seen mine so into a complete freeze when the mockingbirds and crows make certain sounds. I don't think it was a danger cry (as no one took cover), but it was certainly a "heads up" signal. The lot of them were completely still and all looking in the same direction. After about 30 seconds they all went back to their normally scheduled activities.

    I definitely think they communicate with other species of the animal kingdom. I have seen mine chew out the kittens that live in their coop. One of them got stuck in a tree and was there all night (took me forever to find him!). Once I got him down he decided to try his luck with another tree an hour later. I figured it out because all the chickens were crowded in that corner of the coop making really unhappy chicken sounds. It took me a minute, but I finally saw him hiding up in the tree. The chickens were not amused. (Either they speak cat or they think the kittens are sadly misshapen chicks. [​IMG] )
  8. Quote:Sure am glad someone knows about this. I added 10 guineas and plan on adding another 4 this winter to the flock. I started with two whites, added four lavenders and then 4 purples. It took them awhile to form the "unimind", but they are all staying together now.

    When these guy ALERT, they are VERY louad and they fly in a group. The chickens KNOW something is up and I have seen them take cover under anything they fine. Sometimes it is a mad rush to the barn door. The Guinea fowl roost with the chickens as night. They have also been following the roos in when the crow now.

    Cool birds
  9. eggzettera

    eggzettera Songster

    I think its more of an accent thing like British vs. Australian - same language just sounds sooooo different - Know what I mean mate?
  10. Pinky

    Pinky Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    When the mockingbirds sound the alarm because of a hawk or owl my chickens call out their danger call and hide.

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