Ways to calm hens who flip out constantly?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by parkeflyhi, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. parkeflyhi

    parkeflyhi Hatching

    Jun 28, 2016
    Aloha all,

    We have 2 brown laying hens (by city ordinance we can only have a max of 2) who are about a year and a half old. They are pretty much free range around our backyard all day. They have a coop that they sleep and lay in but for the most part they come and go as they please. They have always been very active and vocal in the mornings, especially during and after laying. However, recently we have been having issues with the two of them absolutely going nuts and squawking up a storm. We have affectionately coined this insanity as the "Death Cluck" because you would swear they are being attacked and murdered by the way they are flipping out. It's so loud it can be heard quite a distance away. We go running outside expecting a predator only to find them just standing there going nuclear for no reason. Nothing seems to calm them down. They have plenty of food and water and we'll even give them special treats in an attempt to calm them. Treats work for a few minutes then they are right back to going nuts.

    This is causing issues with the neighbors as they do this anywhere from 5:30 to 7:00 AM, not to mention that one of us needs to get up at the crack of dawn to deal with them every day. We haven't had animal control come out yet, and we are trying to avoid that at all costs.

    One of our hens recently went broody but we were able to turn her around and now she is going through a really bad molting phase. She is the most vocal of the two and we are wondering if there is something more wrong with her. They only do this in the morning and then the rest of the day they are typically fine.

    Any thoughts? Anyone else ever have this issue? Looking for any tips on things we can do to keep them calm.



  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Chickens will often do that. It seems triggered by something they see. A distant hawk or large bird will often do it, or even something like you moved something in the yard. Some birds are more prone to hysterical cackling, my flock does it on and off during the day, many times it's triggered by a hen coming off the nest. I could go on with what can start it, but stopping it sometimes requires me to move them off where they are standing which redirects them and they often stop, or even me making an appearance can halt it.

    You didn't mention what breed they are, but some are more vocal than others. You might try handing out treats or scratch when it starts, but I'm not sure that you can ever stop it. Chickens can be pretty vocal.
    1 person likes this.
  3. parkeflyhi

    parkeflyhi Hatching

    Jun 28, 2016
    Thank you.

    When we got them from the hatchery we were told the breed was Brown. It used to be that just going outside with them would calm them, but not anymore. They will stop for a few seconds and go right back to cackling like nuts. In Hawaii we do not have any hawks or other predator birds so we've never had to worry about that here. It seems giving them treats and even picking them up and cuddling them no longer works either. The noise wakes up all of our neighbors in every direction and we are afraid of getting cited for the noise. We are renting our home and there is a stipulation in our "Chicken Addendum" to our lease that states if they get complaints about the noise that we will have to get rid of them. It's gotten so bad that I fear this may be a real possibility. Thanks for the information.
  4. Chickens can see things that you or I can not. they have issues with something in your yard. Look closely and carefully and you will find it.

    PS: take a sharp hoe with you because YOU as well may take issue with what you find.

  5. Normal Chickens. A squirrel running through the trees or a bird landing on the fence can send them yelling their heads off.
    That is the joys of owning Chickens. Just be glad you don't have 15.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Based on description as I interpret it, the hens are engaged in a rowdy behavior designed to attract attention from suitors. My hens used as free-range broodies make a lot more noise when they do not have contact with a rooster. The hens are prone to fly more across field which get all roosters to make a hawk warning-like sound, Same hens tens to perch up six feet or more in sunny locations. When exposed to a rooster the same hens become more quite except when producing outright alarm call which sound much different and are less predictable. Same hens stay low down in vegetation

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