Can hens crow?!?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by figuerjo03, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. figuerjo03

    figuerjo03 Hatching

    Nov 22, 2010
    Kempner, TX
    I received a pair of 8-12 week red-laced Wyandotte hens in the mail in late January. As they grew, I noticed one was bigger than the other, and seemed to be shaped differently. When they were about 3 months old it became clear one was not nearly as big or as "stacked" as the other. Then one morning, the smaller one crowed at me, confirming my suspicions that "she" was really a rooster. I had to get rid of him because we're not allowed to have roosters in our subdivision (don't worry, I didnt' kill him).

    Well, his sister is about 5-6 months old, and obviously shaped like a girl. However, yesterday I heard her crow. I saw her with my own eyes as she did it, and it sounded an awful lot like the "cockadoodledoo" of a rooster. Now, I know she's a girl, and I know hens make many different noises, but can a hen actually crow like (or almost like) a rooster?!? Anyone ever heard/seen such a thing??

  2. GotGame

    GotGame Songster

    Jul 13, 2010
    NE of OKC
    I had a hen a while back that started crowing, I have been told that if there is not a rooster around, a hen CAN actually take a roosters place...
  3. ole red

    ole red In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2009
    poplar grove, ar.
    i've seen a few hens crow, the old folks i knew when i was growing up, always got rid of a crowing hen, said, "it was bad luck" to have one around.

    all of em i ever saw were older hens though.
  4. Chihuahuamom444

    Chihuahuamom444 Songster

    Jan 27, 2011
    My hen crows just like a rooster usually before she lays an egg
  5. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I have a Serama hen that raised her last clutch in my living room. She regularly crowed while in the house; it blew me away the first time she did it! Before she came in, I never heard her do it, and I haven't heard her since she went back out (I suspect the roo she's with wouldn't like it very much!).

  6. GardenerGal

    GardenerGal Songster

    Dec 20, 2008
    Hens definitely can crow.
    It's about hormones! You probably learned in high school biology class that there are "primary" sex characteristics and "secondary" sex characteristics. Primary sex scharacteristics are the sex chromosomes that define what makes a human (or bird) male or female on the genetic level. Secondary sex characteristics are the features that are caused by hormones, such as rooster plumage, hen broodiness, rooster crowing, etc.

    On top of that, males produce a little bit of female hormones, and females produce a little bit of male hormones. Sometimes, for various reasons, females produce a bit more male hormones than usual, and... they crow. Some grow spurs and bigger combs as well, but you can get a hen that is otherwise totally henny, she just crows sometimes. I have two older bantam hens that occasionally crow, and it sounds like a rusty gate. [​IMG]

    I had a RIR hen with some kind of reproductive tract condition, due to injury. She stopped laying, grew big spurs and a large comb and wattles. But she didn't crow, ever.

    When I was in high school, we did a hormone experiment along these lines in 10th grade biology. We had a batch of chicks, and every day we carefully injected them with a little bit of testosterone. At about 3 weeks, the all started growing combs and began crowing (it was very high pitched chicky crowing, but definitely crowing). The testosterone was higher than what the cockerels would have been making naturally at that age, so the injections sped up their development of male secondary sex characteristics. And, the pullet chicks developed the same male characteristics because they were getting the same amount of testosterone. We had a brooder full of cock-a-doodling male and female chicks. After the lesson was completed, the chicks were given to a local poultry farmer and allowed to naturally develop. I'm assuming the females went back to normal, but it wouldn't surprise me if any of them crowed now and then. [​IMG]

    And what Ole Red said -- that crowing hens were thought to be bad luck by older people -- that was true in Europe and here in the U.S. Where I live, in New England where there was witch hysteria in the late 1600s, if a person had a crowing hen they might be put on trial for witchcraft. The hen, too!
  7. bantamboy

    bantamboy Songster

    Apr 9, 2011
    Conway Sc
    wow i learned a lot from this great info everyone [​IMG]
  8. erica.godinez

    erica.godinez In the Brooder

    Aug 7, 2009
    central florida
    hi there sorryto interrup but i would like to mention, when i was little in mexico, my uncle had a lot o rosters he trained them for ( you all CAN IMAGIN for what) something that i never like but unfortionatly in mexico is something tha happens a lot. any how back to what i was going to say , he had a couple of so called "GALLINETAS" these so called "GALLINETAS" have both sexes - omg these Chickens acted just like a roo and a hen they would crow and get broody, and even try to mate with a hen. of course i was to little to understan. i was 8 years old. so maybe someone here can explain of these fenomenon. oh and the bread was game. GALLOGALLINA ??????
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  9. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Songster

    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    With Junglefowl hens will start to crow when they are without rooster. The pitiful sounding crow would attract another rooster who is thinking that there is a smaller juvenile roo he can beat up and instead finds a group of lonely ladies looking for a man.

    Just a tidbit of info I found out on a european forum from a biologist who specialized in Jungle fowl. I think that trait is still somewhat present today since any hen I ever had that crowed lived without a rooster for at least a month or longer before she squealed so awefully [​IMG]

  10. Cuttlefishherder

    Cuttlefishherder Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Tucson AZ
    We have a hen that crows regularly but only once or twice a day, she started shortly after we killed our first accidental roo. She is an itty bitty Black Minorca, shes such a graceful looking bird. Her comb never fell over though so people frequently ask "Is that a rooster?" we say no and then she walks off and crows. She likes to make us look silly.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by