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Deaf Chicken!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bocktobery 10, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Bocktobery 10

    Bocktobery 10 Songster

    Oct 8, 2010
    Hi Everyone,

    I didn't know exactly where to post this, but I thought that this might relate with 'chicken behaviors'. I just realized today that my one year old Buff Orpington hen is deaf! Has anyone ever had a deaf chicken before?

    I can't remember what it was that made me think maybe she can't hear- maybe it was because she was always the last one to come when called. I decided to test it today, so several times I made loud noises, or called the group of chickens over only to notice that she never raised her head until she saw the others do so.

    All this makes sense with her past behaviors. For one, I noticed since she was a chick, that her voice is funny. She sounds as though she has a sore throat all the time, or she sounds as though she is a duck rather than a chicken. It just sounds off, or hoarse and loud. I thought perhaps this was due to her big size, but now it makes sense that if she is deaf, she cannot hear herself or the others.

    She has always been a very nervous chicken. I had before attributed this to an attack from a crow that happened when they were all very young. All of them survived, but while the others hid into deep shelter, she was the only one left standing there stiff as a board and not moving a muscle, eyes wide open, terrified. Ever since then, she seemed to exhibit extra cautiousness at all times.

    She is also the only one that when in the coop at dusk will continuously make the 'warning call' sound that all chickens do if she sees any movement at all. She is always very nervous at bedtime it seems... and now I think I know why... Chickens have bad night vision and she must feel as though she is now loosing the one function that she relies on solely for her protection... sight! It must be really scary for her! She is the only chicken I have that is somewhat aggressive- which only happens at times like when she is in a place that is dimly lit. She would always peck at me at night if I came close, but she never does this to me during the day. (She loves to be held and does not run away from me) I would suppose this is because when it is dark, she can't see OR hear me to be sure that it is really me. Poor chicken!!!

    So, I'm just wondering if any of you had ever had a deaf chicken before? I don't think there is anything else I can do for her, but I am a bit sad knowing that this could make her vulnerable to predators... or cars! I let them freerange, but perhaps I will have to get a poultry dog or something for extra protection.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I haven't dealt with deafness, but have partial blindness. I think chickens adapt pretty dang well to whatever life deals them. As you said, you may have to be more cautious of cars and such, but as long as she learns to take her cues from the flock (and she will) I'm sure she will do fine.
  3. stargirl

    stargirl Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    Oh, bless her!
    It definitely sounds like you're right about her hearing, and that she's coping really well! If you ever needed a way of calling her, I bet you could train her to respond to something like a red flashing light.
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I agree with gritsar, she will learn to watch the rest of the flock, and react accordingly. Chickens have terrible vision in low light and darkness, so that's why she's agitated at that time.
  5. Raggedyred

    Raggedyred Hatching

    Jun 25, 2013
    I searched online for an answer to the question "is there such a thing as a deaf chicken?" and this thread was first up. 3 years later!
    I couldn't understand why one of my little black cross breeds wouldn't follow the others back to the coop when they made the warning noise, and why she made different sounds from the others...like a constant quacking: more like a duck than a chicken. (So much so that we named her "Duckie")
    She was deaf.
    I say "was" because she is no longer. A hawk has been hanging around for weeks menacing the flock and she had managed somehow to avoid being caught for some time.
    I miss her little sounds. She was so precious. Never minded being picked up and cuddled. The hen she was reared with misses her too I think. Strange how chickens can work their way into your heart.
    Thanks for this discussion.
  6. Souperchicken

    Souperchicken Songster

    Jan 18, 2009
    USA- Southwest
    I just found this thread as I was looking to see if anyone has had a deaf chicken. I'm pretty sure I have one. I have a lavendar d'uccle that is around 2 months old. Everytime I go into the coop while the chicks are relaxing, they all jump up and run around when they see me, she will continue to sleep as long as she doesn't get bumped. Several times I thought she was dead, but it turned out she was just sleeping and never heard me enter the coop. I clapped my hands and made loud noises and she doesn't respond while asleep. Eventually she does wake up and acts like everything is fine.
  7. Mac14

    Mac14 Songster

    Jul 21, 2012
    Northern California
    Wow, I've never heard of a deaf chicken. Interesting.

  8. Raggedyred

    Raggedyred Hatching

    Jun 25, 2013
    Souperchicken, maybe you could do some "tests" to check her hearing. I'd be very interested to know the results.
    What kind of noise does she make?
  9. MEMama3

    MEMama3 Songster

    May 23, 2013
    Vacation Land; Maine
    I was just commenting in the BO thread that I am quite sure my bird is deaf as well. Same tests and observations as you had.
  10. One way that might help test the hearing is to wait until she's making chicken noises and then whistle softly. All the birds will hush to listen. If she hushes, odds are she can hear.

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