Do pullets' voices change or is this a sign of a problem?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ZooAtHome, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

    107
    197
    126
    Jun 7, 2018
    NW Oregon
    First time chicken owner. I have a 10-wk-old Easter Egger pullet (yes, I'm 95% sure she is female, won't be 100% until I see that first egg) who is very vocal and has been "beeping" at me since she was tiny. Yesterday, her "beep" sounded more like a "honk" ... deeper and squeakier. Occasionally, it would sound "normal" again, then would go back to sounding odd.

    She seems fine. Activity and appetite all good. Drinking normally. Nutmeg (pullet in question) is my most active chicken and runs around all the time. This hasn't changed. No nasal or ocular discharge, no difficulty breathing. Crop feels normal. Poop appears normal. She had one incidence of gaping (not panting) a couple days ago, during a major heat wave, but nothing since. All the chickens sneeze on occasion, but nothing chronic or persistent. I did a fecal float to check for parasites, gapeworm in particular, and found nothing even remotely suspicious. This morning, she still seems fine, but her "voice" continues to sound strange.

    I have two cockerels in addition to my 10 pullets and I have noticed distinct differences in the sounds they make as they've gotten older (no crowing yet though), but until now the pullets have all sounded pretty much the same as before. Nutmeg is not my oldest pullet and I thought EEs matured more slowly, yet she is the only one who's voice has noticeably changed. She is, however, my most vocal bird and she talks to me more than the other chickens, which may be why I've noticed a change in her but not the rest. Could it be that this girl is hitting puberty, causing the change in her voice? Is this a thing?

    If it's not a puberty thing, what might it be? Should I be worried and keep looking for some underlying cause?
     
    chrissynemetz likes this.
  2. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Free Ranging

    1,166
    1,842
    592
    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
    I'm thinking it's just the teenage thing, she's finding her adult voice. They can sound really pitiful for a few weeks :)
     
    rosemarythyme and ZooAtHome like this.
  3. chrissynemetz

    chrissynemetz Free Ranging

    1,166
    1,842
    592
    Dec 19, 2013
    Olathe Colorado
    Keep any eye on her for any breathing issues, but I really believe it's just the normal voice change :)
     
    ZooAtHome likes this.
  4. janz70

    janz70 Songster

    129
    120
    117
    Jul 4, 2017
    N.E. UK
    they do carry on cheeping like a chick for quite a while - i wouldn't be concerned, just keep an eye on her and make sure shes acting normally and eating ok
     
    ZooAtHome likes this.
  5. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    X2 Pullets go through a voice change and it is rarely cute concerning is a better term.
    I'm sure you've noticed all chickens sound a little different all have distinctive voices.
    You are seeing how this occurs first hand. The only question now is which of these god awful sounds is going to be her forever voice. :)
     
  6. ZooAtHome

    ZooAtHome Songster

    107
    197
    126
    Jun 7, 2018
    NW Oregon
    I definitely have and Meg's voice is the most distinctive of all. It used to be this cute beep. Now, she sounds like a rusty hinge or an old squeaky toy. I'm relieved to hear that it is probably normal. I will, of course, continue to monitor and watch for signs of problems, but I can relax again while doing that.

    Thanks, everyone, for your reassurances. Love this community. :love
     
    Chickassan and chrissynemetz like this.
  7. Biddybot

    Biddybot Chirping

    136
    267
    84
    Aug 4, 2018
    HRM, Nova Scotia, Canada
    99% probable that it's just the normal voice change all chickens undergo as they approach adulthood. Personally, I consider both sexes to be 'chicklets' during that period when they're naturally dumped by their broody moms and on their own and that day when they stop 'peeping' and consistently sound more like adult birds...that's when they become pullets or cockerals to me. I've read that the reason that chickens continue to peep like chicks for a relatively long time during their growth period is that it's an additional auditory signal besides their looks that they're still too immature to be breeding and therefore of no real threat yet to the established pecking order amongst the adults. Normal adult hens and roosters kept in relatively natural flocks should honour that to some degree and will tolerate the chicklets' presence without hassling them too much as a consequence. Of course the chicklets need to do their part too and scoot out of the way of the more dominant adults whenever required. Otherwise you'll likely hear that clonking sound like two coconuts colliding as the offending chicklet gets a disciplinary peck to the skull from some outraged, gnarly old boss hen.
     
    ZooAtHome likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    62,328
    52,636
    1,417
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I love the 'honking' stage...always cracks me up!!
     
    ZooAtHome likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: