Did my chicken just purr? Okay, maybe a chirp?

amyfitz100

Songster
7 Years
Jul 10, 2013
155
55
151
South Carolina
I am clearly a newbie to having chickens, and today when I took 2 of my 4 out to play, they did the normal scratching, pecking, eating... And after a while they stood perfectly still and started making this other noise. They both did it, like a conversation, but neither moved a muscle. I tried to get it on video, but they were not completely cooperative. After several minutes, they just sat. Eventually, (seemed like an eternity) they got up and started acting normal again. What was that? Scared chickens? Tired chickens?
 
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reckless

Songster
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
388
26
103
michigan
My Coop
My Coop
It's called "trilling!" From what research I have done, they do it when happy usually. Sometimes as a warning or if they're surprised. My silkies do it a lot- mostly my young silkie pullet, Sunflower. She does it so much.. so cute! My barred rock hen, Berzillia, does it when she's content. My silkie rooster, Albedo, does it when startled. I guess it depends?

Here's Sunflower doing it in response to me making squeaky noises- she was confused!
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong please, or add your knowledge. :)
 

memphis

RIP 1958-2020
8 Years
Aug 6, 2012
8,194
21,498
877
Mine do the trilling & freeze when they sense a preditor or some kind of danger. Then they usually slowly sit down. When one starts the whole flock responds to it & freezes. I've never had them do it when they are happy. When happy they just quietly cackle amongst themselves. I think they are gossiping! And if they want a treat they all loudly whine at me! They make all kinds of noises. The longer you observe them the more you' ll learn what all the different noises mean! They do have a language!!
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
687
296
Australia
In my experience, hatchery bred birds who never knew their mothers for many generations of artificial brooding, hatching, and rearing are the most likely to make the noise as an expression of happiness. In general it is an alarm call but chickens use the same noises to mean different things. The hen's 'egg song' is something also only made as an alarm call by naturally bred birds whereas hatchery birds tend to start screaming on and around their nests, which obviously in the wild would bring predators straight to them. I have had chicks that are still wet from the eggs take a peek out from under their mothers and make that alarm trill at me. I also had one gizzard bound male who I detected was unwell because he was making that sound rapidly and nonstop on the perch, as a symptom of poisoning. Chickens can use one sound to mean a variety of different things, just like a cat's purring being able to mean it is happy, or in pain.
 

MANNA-PRO

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