Do hens give predator alarm calls?

SarahGfa

Songster
Jan 26, 2018
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Bay Area, California
Sadly I had to get rid of my rooster because he became a man-fighter. A week later, we have a bad coyote attack. Before that, we went more than a year without any predator losses.

Back when the rooster was around, he was always first to give alarm calls and the hens would copy the calls. I have not heard any hens give predator calls or growl warnings, even when a predator has been in plain site. I thought that once the rooster was gone, the top hen would step up and stand watch, but they all seem to be obliviously doing their own thing.

Will the hens eventually figure out how to watch for predators on their own?
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
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Unfortunately they don't usually unless rooster does, find a nice rooster for them that was hand raised, they are more people friendly and if their hormones have leveled out should be good with the hens. one thing to know some breeds are very picky, I was gonna get a beautiful White and black with gold rooster for them and they were not having anything to do with him, but did accept the Ameracauna rooster I found after their not accepting the first rooster, I had all Rhode Island red hens. Strangest things chickens do sometimes.
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
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needing a rooster depends on a lot of things, if your flock is free ranging yes you need a rooster as he's focused on protecting his hens from any type of predator and they are only watching down for their goodies. Each set up is based on what that persons flock needs which can vary . if they have them cooped up in fort nox then no they wouldn't need a rooster.
 

chrissynemetz

Psalm 91 ❤
Premium Feather Member
Dec 19, 2013
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Well, the thing is some hens WILL sound the alarm. But you can't count on a hen to do it, many never do. Especially if they've had a rooster around.
I've had countless hens who would sound the alarm while they had chicks, but they would stop as soon as the chicks were grown...
And I've had a few who were consistently as alert to danger as any rooster ever was. But that's a few out of hundreds who never noticed anything other than food. :idunno
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Jul 16, 2015
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oh no! I had read so many posts saying hens don't really need roosters. Sounds like I need to keep them locked up until they have a new rooster.
Having a rooster doesn't stop predation. They can be the first to go, or sometimes they just run cackling. Relying on roosters to stop predators isn't gonna work long term. It works until something find your birds. A rooster can't usually stop that, although occasionally one is successful at driving something off, but usually the rooster gives his life first, and the predation continues.
 

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