Loud screaming hen...any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Audie80, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. Audie80

    Audie80 Hatching

    Nov 4, 2013
    Northern NJ/Metro NYC
    Hi All! My name is Audrey and I've got two hens (a red sex link Cinnamon Queen and an Easter Egger). They both hatched in early-mid August in the past four weeks have undergone tremendous maturation (from itty bitty tiny combs/no wattles to large bright red combs and wattles (well, pea comb and no wattles as expected for the Easter Egger)).

    We previously had a rooster who was successfully re-homed (due to town restrictions) to a new eggs-only hobby farm to live with his four new girlfriends. He had been alpha in our coop.

    Since his departure our red sex link hen (named Nugget) has become a strong alpha. She'd always been pleasantly talkative when she saw my husband and I (especially in AMs) and we figured she was saying "Hello - feed me, give me treats".

    Lately (x past few days) she's been screaming at the top of her lungs in the AMs. This morning she let out a loud prolonged scream every few min. for at least an hour. It's not a nice noise and it will be a problem for us if she plans to keep this up (we're not in a chicken-friendly town).

    She's not sick and not in pain...this sounds like some sort of communicative scream. Is this hen "in heat"...maybe she's preparing to start laying?

    Will she keep this up? Once in a while (maybe a couple times a month) would be okay, but we can't have her wailing like this every morning, especially for so long (an hour!). At this rate, we may as well just have a rooster!

    Anyone out there have any experience with this sort of behavior? If so, what's causing it, what can I do about it, and what can I expect (in terms of evolution of the behavior...will it get worse)?

    Seems as if her personality has changed a bit...is she becoming some sort of mega-alpha diva hen?!

  2. Studio2770

    Studio2770 Songster

    Apr 29, 2013
    Hens can take on a male role and do "hen crows." Mine do it, yeah it isn't pleasant. But it's usually because they want to come out. Treats or scratch do the trick for me but who knows how long it'll hold her over.
    1 person likes this.
  3. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Songster

    Jun 25, 2013
    N. Texas
    My dominique got really loud a few days before laying and for the first few times she laid. Then she got her routine down and only gets like that when she wants out to free range.
  4. Well first things first [​IMG] Good to have a new addition to the flock ...

    Hens do, do this on actions she is just lonely and letting every know she
    in in charge here it will cease in time ........

  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I'm guessing that you're hearing the "egg song" Do a thread search, and perhaps you can get an audible example to compare Nugget's racket to. Usually, after they get into a laying routine, the singing will diminish. I do wish they offered voice lessons for chickens. As far as she's concerned, her singing is beautiful. some pullets are louder than others, singing when they are getting ready to lay an egg, after they have laid an egg, when some one else is laying an egg, or when they are thinking about an egg, and even if they are separated from their flock mates. Look at it this way. Do your neighbors have dogs? do you ever hear them barking? Does it annoy you? Probably yes to these 3 questions. We all deal with neighborhood noise, at least a pullet does not bark all day long, and when she does "bark", it's for good reason, unlike the dog who barks ALL day, with nothing to say!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
  6. Audie80

    Audie80 Hatching

    Nov 4, 2013
    Northern NJ/Metro NYC
    Thank you all very much for taking the time to reply to my question! Nugget's about 4 months old now, so, egg laying is within the realm of possiblity. Hopefully we'll get lucky and start getting eggs soon. After some additional research, I think that this is an egg song she's "singing"...thanks for that suggestion Lazy Gardener! I also agree with the notion that this song is not any worse than neighborhood dogs barking incessantly - it's certainly more interesting. She's been keeping relatively quiet all day after this AM's racket...my guess is that this behavior has something to do with egg laying.

    It's so much fun to be a first time chicken parent :)

    Happy holidays everyone - wishing you many all many eggs!

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