What alarm call does a rooster make to scream - HAWK! ?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by vermontgal, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    What is the sound a roo makes to alert the gals? I don't have a roo, so I don't know what the alert sound is. Does anyone have it on youtube? I searched, but didn't find it.

    According to this article from the Animal Science dept at the University of Alberta:

    "Roosters guard their flocks and produce different types of alarm calls depending
    on whether a predator is in the air or on the ground. These calls are very
    different from one another and the hens respond by showing different
    types of behavior. Hens will crouch when given an aerial alarm call,
    whereas they will stand erect when given a ground alarm call. Even
    though hens respond to both types of calls by surveying the area, they
    are more likely to look upwards and run for cover when given an aerial
    call. In these types of circumstances, listening to the rooster may be vital
    for the hensÂ’ survival."

    I'd be interested in knowing about both the aerial alarm call and the ground alarm call.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  2. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    I can't tell you what it sounds like other than it's a very different sort of screech made under their breath, kinda long and drawn out. Both of mine will do it and it stops ALL the other chickens in their tracks whether they belong to the calling roo or not. It even stops the other roos.

    My BO roo had his girls out one day back in the fall. All of a sudden I realized he had herded them all back into the run and up under the food shed. They were all huddled as far back into that space as they could get. I then realized that it was completely silent outside. The banty chickens in their run were standing stock still and even the wild birds were silent. Nobody was making a noise. I moved around the coop and started looking and there was the hawk sitting on the power lines. It flew away as I walked towards it. After a minute or so the BO roo came out, cocked his head and looked around. He then made a different sound all together and everybody relaxed and started scratching again. One of the BO's girls hadn't made it out with the rest of the group and had stayed huddled up in the brush. Once he gave the all clear she ran back to the group as fast as her little chicken legs would carry her. Poor baby!
    It was a fascinating National Geographic moment. [​IMG]
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    CityGirlintheCountry described it well.
    I was extremely proud of my roo last week. Something aerial got after the chickens. Thor gave the alarm call and got all the girls penned up in a grouping of fig trees, where they were protected on three sides. He stood guard on the fourth (open) side. Once the danger had passed Thor made a different not as shrill noise. The girls relaxed and went about their business.
  4. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

    Jul 7, 2007
    Middle TN
    Despite being general pains in the tushie, my roosters are fascinating to watch now that they are being real roosters. They really do take care of their hens.
  5. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    I am wondering if, in the absence of a real roo, I could learn how to make that signal myself, or put it into a recorder to be able to push a button and have it broadcast? Even if I am out in the yard with the chickens, they seem totally oblivious to possible dangers.

    (I can't have a real roo because of those other noises they make... you know...)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  6. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    Just now, I was outside with the girls for supervised outdoor time (in light of hawk spotted yesterday) and a hawk being badgered by a crow flew over only about 50-70 feet up, based on the height of the houses. YIKES. It was big, and I was scared it was going to dive. (Fortunately, the crow helped us out here.)

    I have a slide whistle and have been experimenting with seeing if I can use it to communicate with the chickens - As the hawk flew over, I blew a breathy note on the whistle, and the girls froze, then slide quietly underneath my car!

    This is definitely hawk season, and I am sure the hawks know about the chickens now. Any further input on these alarm calls is much appreciated - it's not just theoretical anymore.
  7. grandma s

    grandma s Hatching

    Mar 3, 2009
    The neighborhood crows alarm us when a hawk is around. A couple of weeks ago I looked out in the yard and saw a pile of stripped feathers and then noticed a hawk by my hen. I ran out and scared the hawk away. I was expecting to find my hen torn apart and dead. She was just stunned so I carried her to the coup to rest and is fine now. Our Roo is young but did have the other hens (3) under the cherry tree - I think he was as scared as they all were. Our hen that was attacked is 5 and moves a little slow so common to nature - The weak are always noticed first.
  8. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    I found some online versions of the chicken alarm calls. They are not what I thought. Check 'em out - via the links off this page:


    I am thinking more strongly about the possibility of a silkie rooster; no idea if my neighbors would go for that. Since it is hard to get sexed silkies, I might just end up with one "accidentally" and then see how they react...
  9. BB3

    BB3 In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2008
    My Easter Egg Roo, makes a loud noise not like the one on the web site you had its a lot louder and the other roosters join in and they first stop in there tracks then run for cover.
  10. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Songster

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    My BO roo is awesome too! He has 20 ladies to care for and I too know when somrhting is not right when I don't see movement outside. I don't hesitate anymore, when all is silent, I run outside yelling and my arms flailing (I'm sure I look like a lunatic). Then sure enough several hawks are flying away.

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