Stopping dominant hen "crowing"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crazyfarm, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. crazyfarm

    crazyfarm New Egg

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    Sep 12, 2011
    Hi all - I am new to the board and thought I would quiz all you experts for some feed back on our little flock.

    Background - In March, we started with 6 chicks. 2 turned out to be roos, which we unfortunately couldn't keep because we live in a city. It was mid-July when our roosters moved on. We are left with 2 Rhode Islands and 2 Barred Rocks. In the last month, the smallest of all the hens (a RIR) has seemingly developed into the dominant hen. Her comb and wattle grew and are larger than the other three, she became the noisy one, and seemed to herd the others around. I have since started calling her Pat.

    This Week - Friday morning, I awoke around 7:30 to hear one of the hens "cluck-cluuuuuuuuuucking" very loudly with a second or two breath in between each proclamation. It lasted about 5 minutes, then there was quiet (although who knows how long it was going before I woke up to hear it). My first thought was, the hens could start laying any day...maybe it was a hen letting us know she had kicked off our egg production. Viola - there was an egg in the nesting box! Later that afternoon, there was actually a second egg in another box (we didn't specifically hear any proclamations, but my husband had opened up the coop for maintenance and saw the egg).

    Saturday morning, I awoke to the same "cluck-cluuuuuuck" around 7:15. This time, it didn't seem to stop or slow after many minutes. Fearing the racket would upset neighbors trying to enjoy their Saturday sleeping in, I went out to see what was going on. Pat was strutting about the yard, and the other three hens were still in the coop, quietly resting on their roost. It was like Pat was trying to crow to alert them it was morning. Once I directed the hens out of the coop, Pat immediately quieted down and started foraging on the ground. We didn't see any eggs all day.

    Yesterday/Sunday morning, I never heard any noise. There was a fresh egg waiting for me when I made it out to the coop around 10.
    This morning left me with pretty much the same story as Saturday. About 7, Pat started her racket, and all the other hens were still in the coop. This time, I herded Pat back into the coop, and she quieted down. After everyone was penned in for a couple hours, there are no eggs in the nesting boxes. In general, I'm not sure who the egg layer/layers are. I've read both RIR's and Barred Rocks lay brown eggs.

    All that said....the question is: is there anything I can do to get her to stop the 7am wake up call???
    -Is she just clucking as an egg laying alert? If so, will keeping her in the coop keep her focused on getting the job done before heading out into the yard? Since eggs seem to be coming at different times, it there a way to redirect the egg laying (and associated noise) to afternoon?
    -Or is does this sound more like a dominant hen trying to "crow?" If so, are there any tricks to get the crowing to stop? Maybe lock them in the pen each night and let them out when we decide it is "morning?"

    thanks in advance to anyone that actually read through my dissertation. I am sure the engineer in me is trying a little too hard to "fix" nature, but If she doesn't settle down, I am worried she is going to have to go "live on a farm" real soon. All of the other dominant traits are fine, but the 7am racket has got to stop one way or another.... [​IMG]
     
  2. ScotianChick

    ScotianChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 27, 2010
    I'd keep them in a little longer to at least muffle her. [​IMG] Then open the coop when the others are a little more awake and willing to join her.
     
  3. iamsara

    iamsara Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2011
    Sonoma, Ca
    you'll start noticing a variety of noises/calls/clucks over time.
    ive noticed the im laying an egg call can be loud. or its the get off the nest, girl ive got to get there to lay!
    also the predator watch call is wuite loud, but totally different sounds.. its cool how they Do communicate w us..
    have fun listening and learning and maybe just let them lay an egg for u whenever they feel it coming!

    [​IMG]
     

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