Extremely Loud Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by angelnina, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. angelnina

    angelnina In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Seattle area
    A few weeks ago I purchased two 9 month old laying hens. They are laying well, both are very sweet and seem to like me. Also, both are laying.

    The problem I have is that the Barred Rock is as loud as a rooster (I have backyard chickens)--if not louder at times, and she goes on for hours. A friend of mine who has raised chickens for years has never experienced a hen doing this, and when I was a kid I don't remember anything like it, so I need some advice. She seems to be the guardian of the other hen too. She bawks right along with the RIR as she is laying too. I'm not sure if she just rules the roost or if she could have a problem.

    Oh, and I'm not talking about the typical loud bawking when they're ready to lay or after they lay. This is ongoing at times like a dog barking--for hours. Sometimes it is intermixed with a screeching noise like a parrot, and some grumbling and yapping sounds. The volume is incredible. We have an insulated, well made coop, and you can still hear her in the neighborhood when I put her inside. Sometimes she only does it for a little while, but some days (like today) she is relentless. She appears healthy and allows me to go right to her and pick her up. She eats her layers feed, oyster shell, and my fresh lettuce and watermelon. She also free ranges and eats bugs and worms around my yard. In other words, all seems well healthwise.

    Any thoughts?

  2. lfoose

    lfoose Songster

    Oct 1, 2007
    Medina, OH
    Is it possible she is lonely or that she is trying to tell you there is something wrong w/the other hen? I have a BR that can be mouthy but it's usually when she is waiting for me to come into the coop or at bedtime.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    You say this as I listen to my BR Lexie do her "Woody Woodpecker cackle". And she hasn't even gotten on a nest yet today. She goes on and on sometimes.
  4. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Your picture definitely puts a visual with your description ! Don't know what to advise you... I don't know why some yell for long stretches at a time. Maybe she's just young, and being new to your yard and neighborhood creatures, is easily alarmed by every little thing. Maybe she'll mellow as she gets used to her new digs, and gets older.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  5. angelnina

    angelnina In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Seattle area
    I'd never thought about her being lonely. The 9 week olds are in the coop but we keep them separated (now with a wire wall) and she only has the RIR (Mama hen) with her.

    When the rock first moved in she was very aggressive with the RIR (she actually pecked her head so hard she drew blood), but now she seems to be used to us and her new surroundings and hasn't tried to hurt the RIR again. They both came from the same flock--my vet's flock, and have been well cared for. I was thinking the stress of the move might have freaked her out causing her to attack the RIR.

    They seem to really enjoy one another now. I'm watching them as I write this and they are side by side on the coop ramp. They're very sweet. Of course, like a sleeping baby, when they're quiet they look so sweet but when they're up screaming all night it's stressful! ha!
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    If you just got them, they could be still making a rukus getting used to the area and your nosiest one could be the top hen. Could they be used to free ranging at their previous home and so want out? Some hens can be picky. Hopefully they quiet down for you.
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
    ALL of my critters make a lot of noise and it's my fault. When they get to hollering I come running. To make matters worse, I have a habit of talking, or hollering, back at them. Sometimes I don't even notice I'm doing it. I'l just be plugging along, doing some gardening or cleaning and they start to yelling, so I start yelling with them. Then my BF stops me and reminds me that they'll never be quiet if I don't shut up first. Like owner, like pet.
  8. supdude

    supdude In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2008
    New Orleans, LA
    your chicken has that expression my leghorn has, like something just offended her and shes in disbelief lol.
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    She's turned alpha. I love that picture.

    In the absence of a male, some hens will adopt the male's position in the flock - as the alpha or head honcho. They'll fight and carry on and screech (hen crowing) and in general become as raucous as any male. Whether the flock is 2 or 20, this can happen without a male in the mix. I once had 4 Buff Orpington femmes, one of which was a real alpha terror. This is why I chuckle when some new urban newbie wants to know which breeds are "quiet and tame."

    Some of this may be moving in jitters, but I think not. You said that it has just started - I say that after 2 weeks, she's gotten comfortable in her surroundings and is now asserting herself.

    The likeliest solution is to get her some more competition by moving in some more birds. The pecking order will be forced to re-establish, and she may not be top dog anymore. The bet is that she'll lose her apex position and the new alpha won't be as rowdy as her. Unfortunately, the behavior has become ingrained and she may never completely stop.
    She may win the pecking order shuffle, too, and remain alpha. That is a distinct possibility.
    But, it IS a pretty good bet that with some more flockmates around, she'll have more to keep her busy.

    One can hope, anyway....
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2008

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