Previously quiet hens suddenly SO LOUD

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hensintheghetto, May 16, 2010.

  1. hensintheghetto

    hensintheghetto Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Sacramento Valley
    I have 5 laying hens, all about 13 months old.

    While they'd previously all been pretty quiet (squawking a bit when they laid eggs, but that's about it), for the last few weeks the noise has been almost constant loud, squawking starting at sunrise and lasting most of the day. I thought at first that it might just be one or two of them, but I think it might be all of them taking turns making noise.

    One of the hens is currently broody so she's pretty quiet, but I wonder if that's somehow agitating the other hens? The broody hen has been sitting in the nesting box that none of them use anyway, so I don't think it's that they want to be where she is.

    I'm not sure this is relevant, but they started laying at the end of last summer, stopped for about a month during the summer, and then started laying again this spring.

    Are they destined to be loud chickens forever? Or do hens go through noisy phases? We have our chickens illegally, so I'm nervous about them being a giant pain for our neighbors.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  2. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    Of my two hens, one squawks 20-30 minutes before she even begins to lay an egg, the other only squawks when she's laying. The third, she's wanderin, so I couldn't tell you.LOL!:[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  3. hensintheghetto

    hensintheghetto Out Of The Brooder

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    22
    Apr 3, 2009
    Sacramento Valley
    Anyone else?
     
  4. MiniBeesKnees

    MiniBeesKnees Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've never noticed a broody causing or making noise but almost anything will set mine off...especially if my dog barks or when any one of six roosters (at any given time five are caged) makes any kind of noise. I've been out there and a wild bird flew down and they all started a ruckus. I don't notice very much as I more or less have no neighbors, none in hearing distance anyway.

    Sometimes they will all start when one of the hens who's turn it is to free range heads for the coop to lay...or merely walks by the row of separate pens. I play rooster roulette to try for fertile purebred eggs.

    I know I'm smarter then my chickens are but that doesn't mean I understand them totally. [​IMG]
     
  5. notv

    notv Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 10, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I'm having the exact same problem. We keep our chickens in a closed run most of the time, but whenever we get the chance, we let them out to roam and free range around the yard. I think this may have gotten us in trouble, now that the days are much longer and the sun rises earlier. It's been a real concern because #1 they're waking us up at 6:30am with this racket and #2 we're concerned about neighbors who may be experiencing the same.

    The 3 reasons hens seem to make noise, and they are all distinct sounding in our hens, is
    1) they've just laid an egg, or just about to
    2) they're concerned about danger
    3) they want more food / want to get out

    #3 makes me feel like a pavlovian effect is going on. We've conditioned them to be out a lot, so now they of course want it.

    I've trained my chickens "come" and "no" with verbal cues, so sometimes I can shush them by giving them the "no" sound. But, this is pretty inconvenient when you're trying to sleep. 2 things we are trying now are to put extra food in the run at night while they're sleeping, and to try to throw a tarp over the run so they can't see us and perhaps tone down the sun rays a bit. We're also avoiding letting them out very much for the next couple of weeks, which is kind of sad, but maybe it will help.

    I've heard that hens peak at loudness in their 2nd year, and then from there they tend to quiet down. I hope that's the case for us! The cooing turns to crowing, and it's led by the queen of the flock -- I've thought about putting her in "time out" much like you would with a dog, not sure how hard it is to untrain a chicken.

    Any insight from others who have had success with this would be welcome! Thanks.
     

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