Screeching hens every morning! How to stop this behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4UrbanHens, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. 4UrbanHens

    4UrbanHens New Egg

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    Hi All! My husband and I are new to keeping chickens and had have had a great time raising our 4 pullets for the past several months. We have a Silver-Gray Dorking, a Leghorn, a Barred Rock and a Campine. Everything has been dandy until just recently... Our hens/pullets have begun to screech an ungodly and scratchy scream that sounds somewhat like "crrraaaaaa!" at the top of their lungs every morning around 730am! We live in a residential neighborhood and have neighbors in close proximity who most likely hear everything. I have no idea what to do to stop this behavior and was hoping any of you experts out there can help. Here are some key points about my hens, maybe this info will help decipher what's going on and what I can do about it:

    * 2 of the 4 (dorking & leghorn) have just started laying eggs (probably two weeks now), my barred rock is doing the "submissive squat" and also seems to be getting ready to lay soon. My campine is still young, her comb and wattle are barely there.

    * all four have plenty of space in the coop & run to perch, eat, dust bathe and roost... I also have two nest boxes at their disposal with fluffy wood shavings inside and a little ladder leading to each.

    * they free range every day for several hours (as soon as we get home from work we let them out until the sun goes down).

    * they eat Scratch & Peck brand feed & and are given healthy treats like tomatoes and fruit often.

    * plenty of clean water

    Lately, we have tried everything from waving our arms to throwing in a few treats to quiet them down, but the minute we leave they start up again. When they see us, or hear the door open, they yell. I recently draped the perch area with sheets to keep out sunlight until a later morning hour, but it only kept them quiet a half hour longer than usual. So now, for the past several mornings I have had to resort to letting them to free range just to make them quiet. I do not want to keep this up as I know it is bound to create a bad habit, but I feel as if my hands are tied! There is nothing else that makes them stop. Does anyone else know what we can do? Thank you!!
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC!!! Does it sounds like this?

    That's the only thing I can think of at the moment. They might be singing the egg song.
     
  3. hlavalley

    hlavalley Out Of The Brooder

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    Sounds like the egg laying song to me. Some of my girls sing it every morning and a few in the afternoon. :)
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You said it.....better to live thru it for awhile than have it go on forever.
    You could install an automatic door.


    A few of mine do the screeching thing too...not sure why.....think it sometimes means "get out of that nest, it's my turn!"

    They also make alot of other very loud noises, including the egg song and the alarm call-which sounds almost identical, off and on throughout the day.

    Folks think only roosters are loud......not true at all
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    They've got you well trained. Who said chickens were stupid? They know that loud noise = treats, attention, and free range time. Don't expect it to stop. My girls are totally obnoxious until they get everything they want in the morning!
     
  6. 4UrbanHens

    4UrbanHens New Egg

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    @lightchick @hlavalley Unfortunately, it is not the egg song! This is more like a screechy "craaaaaaaaaaw" and it is every morning when the sun starts to shine. They are quiet the rest of the day. Try as I might, I have not found any one with a similar issue... I wonder if maybe my breeds are particularly noisy? @lazy gardener I think you may be right on point. @aart an automatic door is a good idea!

    Can anyone suggest quieter breeds? If my Dorking & Leghorn keep on (the other two are a lot quieter) I will have to send them to my mom's place. She has a very large backyard that can accommodate noisier hens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  7. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    They're just saying Good Morning [​IMG] ...and to set them free haha
     
  8. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    My hens are much more vocal right before they go broody.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I don't think that 'breed' has much to do with general behavior......certain lines of breeds can carry certain behaviors tho.
     
  10. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Overrun With Chickens

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    I also don't believe it's certain breeds. I have a few hens that make quite the ruckus in the morning and the rest are quiet. Even when I open the gate there are two in particular that will stay in there bawk bawk bawking away.
     

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