Chickens Getting Really Noisy When Greedy

Melbourne Chickens

In the Brooder
Oct 13, 2018
Hi all,

My name's Jeremy and this is my first post! Also my first chickens. I live in inner-city Melbourne, Australia and I have three wyndotte barnevelders. They are awesome, they started laying only 2 weeks ago, so they are still quite young.

So being new chicken parents, my housemates and I probably put in too much effort and worry too much about how they are doing. None of us had chickens, kids or dogs before except for when we were younger with our parents.

We've set them up in an enclosed space around a big hedge. We've sealed the entrances to stop foxes and we have a wooden coop we bought and built together. They seem happy (though they do get a bit annoying before 8am, but I'm going to build an automated door opener).

Their main space is about 15m2, it's on brick but there's 2 decent sized garden beds in there, a bunch of big pots and things for them to climb on and we've covered the space in hay, bark chipping and mulch. They've mostly eaten the plants in the garden beds and they seem quite happy still. We have shade for them and lots of sun. It's a private space, we feed them free range layer pellets as well as a bunch of food scraps that they seem to like.

The issue is, on the other side of the gate is our front lawn and a larger garden bed. The front garden itself is maybe 30m2 and we were told we couldn't keep our chickens there permanently (landlord doesn't like it).

Now that we've settled them in and they are laying, we decided to let them out of their space and onto the grass for maybe 30 minutes a day. They can peck around and explore, we can't leave them out there because of the landlord, but also because the space is pretty open to the footpath and outside the property. So we sit out there with the chickens while they eat, then feed them corn to get them back into their space.

Lately they have been making really loud noises and we think they want to go out there more. They do maybe 5 clucks and then a bigger noise. They do that when people are watching but also just generally. Mostly in the morning. Sometimes it's like 10 short sharp noises then a larger noise. It sounds different from their happy sounds or even their scared sounds, I think.

Is there a way to teach them to go outside their fence and enjoy it, but to not always want to go there? We are worried that we might have to stop them going outside their space entirely because it's just too annoying how loud they are in the morning.

What should we do? Will they get used to the idea of going outside their space daily but not whenever they want? Will they quiet down after they get used to it? Their main space is fine enough for them surely, so we shouldn't feel bad about keeping them in there!

Thanks in advance and apologies for the long post!

Could they be laying eggs before they make this noise? Hens tend to sing a beautiful(yet highly annoying) song when they lay an egg... or in my hens case before they lay for 37 mins until the hen in her box moves... then after for 37 mins just cuz shes practicing for American idol.
Thanks for the speedy reply! And yeah haha, I've noticed they do make a lot of noises before they lay. I figure it's the cost of another great egg. I'm sure that they are making a lot of noises because of that too (and they seem to only want to go into their home to lay one chicken at a time)

But they are also making a fair bit of noise when they are standing up to the gate, or go to my bedroom window and literally tap on the glass.

Maybe you're right though, I guess some days they have been louder and I wonder if that's because they all want to lay. At the moment we are getting roughly 1 egg per day, sometimes 2 but not often yet.
Welcome, Jeremy,

Congratulations on your inner-city chickens and on joining this community.

Many people will have great information and suggestions for you. I don't know that I have answers to most of your questions, but I think even experienced poultry owners have times when they put "too much effort and worry too much" about their babies.

It sounds like you have given your chickens an environment that will provide variety and interest for them. I've read in several books that the pellets provide balanced nutrition and too many treats upset that balance. However, since I enjoy a good chocolate-dipped shortbread cookie and too many chocolate bars, how can I deny my girls delicious table scraps -- or, their favorite treat: fresh grapes?

My chickens only free range when I am home. They would LOVE to roam all the time, but the problem here is predators -- mink, owls, coyotes. My Salmon Faverolles, especially, like to yell at me -- and I do mean yell -- when they believe they should be free and I want to leave the premises. After I lure them back to their coop/run with some yummy grapes, they usually settle down within minutes. BUT, the yelling will resume when they spot me returning home. Chickens are rather like children; they may not like the rules, but they can learn to accept them.

Welcome to the group!
So many replies! Hi and thanks for the responses.

Yeah, I'm beginning to realise they seem to act very childlike sometimes, which is good and bad I guess. The chickens are situated right on the other side of my bedroom windows which are almost at ground level. It's a good and bad thing as I am experiencing. So it's fairly easy for them to get my attention, even if they can't see me behind my desk in my room.

At the moment we are given them mostly veggie table scraps, the occasional rice or weeds we've removed from the garden. We also use corn as a bit of a bribery tool, but maybe only half a small handful for all 3. Hopefully that doesn't upset their balance too much.

A swing could be a cool idea, and it'd look pretty funny as well! Their space has a fair bit of interest, an old park chair, a bunch of old pots covered in vines, a few taller ones for them to sit in/on and the two garden beds to peck at. I'll see about adding a swing though.

We just had 3 eggs for the first time today. I think maybe the first poster was correct and they were all just really noisy before they laid.

I guess the real question here is.. is it a good idea to get them used to going outside their space for 30 minutes once or twice a day? Will there be issues if it isn't every day? It's really relaxing to sit out there and watch them, especially while the weather is nice. I hope they don't expect the same treatment when it's raining or cold though. We'd love it to be a nice activity for them.. but if they are like a 6 year old, they might start expecting the activity and get grumpy if they don't get it.
They will always be grumpy if they cant explore. Chickens love being free until theres danger. I only let mine run a muck when I'm home and can be out with them and they are fine. They dont get upset when they cant go out. They'll just be that much more excited the next time to do get to go out. I just make sure they are entertained we have a long branch suspended they can swing on and misc chairs and perches. Theres 2x4 across the top they can walk along. We also till the ground in the summer so they can dirt bath and in winter I fill a kiddy pool with loose soil and wood ash for a dirt bath. Yes my birds are so spoiled I'm surprised their eggs aren't rotten
ETA: Oh, and....Welcome to BYC!
Thanks for adding your location!

Chickens can be loud, especially when new to laying, but other times too.
Letting them out occasionally may make them squawk to be let out more often,
especially if you let them out to shut them up, they'll have you trained in no time.
I'd say to keep the peace with your landlord, and help reduce the clamoring to get out, keep them in their run. No matter how much they, and you, love to let them free....they will be fine confined. Beware anthropomorphism.
There are lots of things you can do to enhance their run space to keep them stimulated.
Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs, tables, branches, logs, stumps. Lots of diversion...and you can change it up once in awhile.
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