Chicken have language

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by azygous, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    They absolutely do. Besides the obvious clucking that may denote danger or announcing an egg has been laid, they have definite, easily discerned phrases. And it would appear they're born knowing this language and speak it right away!

    This was a complete gob-smack five weeks ago when I had just gotten a new batch of six baby chicks. I was holding one tiny three-day-old in my lap when my cat strolled into the room. The chick had been chirping steadily up until it spied the cat. Out came a perfect five note phrase from her teensy self that was exactly like the five note phrase clucked by the older chickens whenever the cat appears.

    Has anyone ever tuned into the various chicken phrases? The phrase for "here comes the cat" is a steady five notes with the accent on the third note. When I approach the chickens, their phrase for "here comes the human" is a perfect five note phrase with no accent on any of the notes.

    Thinking this was an aberration, I put that baby back and got another one out of the brooder. I walked into the other room where the cat was and the chick whistled the exact same five note phrase as the other baby!

    Over the five weeks that the chicks have been in the house in their brooder, there have been countless times to verify this example of language in baby chicks. Every single time that the cat appears while I'm holding a chick, or even when I'm just transporting them in the pet carrier outdoors to their pen, if they see the cat, one or two will announce it with that exact five note phrase with the accent on the third note!

    We all are aware chickens have a language of sorts to communicate with each other. But the spectacular revelation is that they're born knowing language! And even more spectacular, we can understand it given patience and mindfulness.
     
  2. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    I can easily understand the rooster. His crow in the morning is different than his crow in the afternoon--usually he and the neighbor rooster crow to one another at 2pm and then around 5pm.

    He also has his "chicken growl" which means "back off"

    Along with his "buck-BAC-buck-buck" which he usually says whenever I have to pick up a hen who is struggling or if my daughter tries to chase him. So I take it this means "leave alone."

    Another one of my hens I swear is the gossipy one of the group. When I do chores in the morning she follows me around clucking to me.
     
  3. Lifetime chicken lover

    Lifetime chicken lover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought it was amazing how well my hens imitated an eagle cry!!
    I was feeding them some treats in the run one evening, when suddenly one of them made an alarm call. They all froze in their spots, then one did an amazing imitation of an eagle cry (as if to say, "eagle flying overhead")!!! they stayed still for a few more seconds then resumed eating!
     
  4. BC_Farms

    BC_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. magic maker

    magic maker Out Of The Brooder

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    Everything my chickens say translates into "Bring me some raisins." [​IMG]
     
  6. gwill23

    gwill23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I paid closer attention with this group of chicks. The mom definately had a language. I could tell when she was calling out food sources, telling them to come on and follow, or the clearest was when I was messing with the babies [​IMG]. I never missed that message.
     
  7. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The thing I've noticed most is the different alarm calls that my rooster makes. I could tell there was an obvious difference between "hawk" and "cat." The responses to that call are different as well. For cat, everyone freezes. For hawk, everyone looks in that direction and then starts to walk towards cover. It's so cool to see how they talk to each other and to me. My three dominant chickens started yelling at me the one day when I picked up one of the hens and scared her. She started yelling and the two roosters began yelling something similar to crowing and the dominant hen started in then too. And of course, the egg song is pretty much the same for all chickens.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Aren't chickens fascinating, though? When I'm in the pen watching and listening to my crew, I sometimes feel like Jane Goodall and her apes. I wouldn't be surprised if we could learn a lot of our flocks' vocabulary if we paid attention. I sometimes mimic some of my rooster's vocalizations, and some of his responses are surprising and occasionally very scary! Like, what did I just say? Must've been fightin' words!
     
  9. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to do that with my cat, until I ticked him off majorly one day. I had no clue what I said, so I just stuck to english since he seems to understand that just fine.
     
  10. Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex

    Tam'ra of Rainbow Vortex Chillin' With My Peeps

    I used to speak chicken as a kid. I frew up in the country with 20+ bantam mutts and I could mimick most of their sounds well enough they would respond appropriatly. Over the decade I have spent without them, I have gotten rusty and now know only a little. I am working on getting my vocabulary back up. But I wonder if there are breed dialects? I swear my current flock says things differently than the bantams of my childhood did. I have new words to learn. Not that they care... they are perfectly happy for me to speak english and feed them kitchen scraps.
     

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