Questions on Fascinating Vocalization Sequence of Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Daisy8s, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    My flock consists of one rooster, two chicks, and seven laying hens of various breeds.

    This morning I was sitting in the run feeding them an old melon. After about 5 minutes a wild bird made one sharp call from the woods about 100 yards away. The rooster immediately oriented toward that sound and gave an alarm call. Every bird in my flock stopped eating, looked in the same direction as the rooster, and froze. The two chicks moved under some brush, sat down and went silent.

    Everyone remained still and silent for another 30-40 seconds. Then, slowly most resumed moving around except for the rooster who remained on high alert.

    About 3 minutes later a hen in the corner of the run began making that typical buk-buk-buk-buk-buh-GAWK call. As soon as she began making the call the rooster moved toward her and chimed in on the last note with one squawk of his own. Soon every hen was joining in...most only making the GAWK at the end of the call but a few also doing the full buk-buk-buk-buh-GAWK. It was total cacophony as every hen GAWKed in her own rhythm.

    The whole flock did this while milling around, and even the hen who'd been inside the coop came out and joined in. It went on for 20-30 seconds and then suddenly stopped. There was no more vocalization at all. The hen who began this whole thing is the top hen, after the rooster, of course. I think the whole thing stopped when she stopped, but I'm not sure.

    So, anyone have any insights on this behavior? Are they counting heads after the danger to make sure everyone is still around?

    About once a day I hear this from them, always at random times and I never see what sets it off. I'm fascinated by it and wondering if others have observed something similar.
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, I definitely have. The egg song comes on if they were frightened suddenly and are saying :"Whew.. that was a close one!" Or they do it to make sure they know where everyone is at any given time. My roosters always chime in. Here is my flock doing it last winter.
     
  3. Time-Out

    Time-Out Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2011
    The Peak District, UK
    lol what a noisy flock you have!

    Mine definitely pass the warning message around that comes in from wild birds.
     
  4. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    Aoxa, that was about the funniest video ever! Were your ducks even chiming in...? (I couldn't tell for sure.)

    I also have a barred rock rooster (see my avatar) and a silver-laced Wyanotte...but no silkies. So, what set them off?

    Yeah, I'm not sure why that is called an egg song because they make it at random times and anywhere, not always after they get off the nest from laying an egg. In fact, I've never heard the younger hens make it at all and they've been laying for a few weeks now.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You can get them started yourself if you impersonate them. I always get my roosters going just for giggles.

    My duck liked to talk. He was probably wondering what all the fuss was about. My barred rock girl started it after laying one of her first eggs.

    I love the silkies and their egg song. It is very cute! :D

    I would say that the majority of the times they start it up, it's out of being startled. :)
     

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