What does a trill "Tr.tr.tr.tr.tr.trTrTrTrTr" mean?


13 Years
Apr 27, 2009
near Lake Charles, LA
We have some 7 week old Salmon faverolle chicks, including a very precocious rooster who is already Mr. Boss of the coop. He is also the most outgoing. Today he pranced right up to me, when I fed them, eyeballed me, and did a noise, like it would sound if you rolled your tongue but instead of Rrrrrrr, a TrTrTrtrtrTrTrtrtrTrTr type sound.

I thought he was being friendly, and repeated it back to him (softly, and as best as I could impersonate. Suddenly, all 7 chicks and 6 guineas froze completely and I had 26 beady little bird eyes intently staring at me. Nothing happened for a few seconds, then the little cockerel repeated (more softly) his trill. I did it back and he broke into a run for the back of the coop and was followed by everyone else, sheer panic.

Was I threatening him or giving a warning cry or what? *sheepish*

I feel bad! I was just trying to make friends. I guess I'll go back out in a minute with some grape fragments and try to make up.
If is was sort of a piercing roll, then that is a warning.

Around here, when a momma hen does it the chicks head for momma and hide. When a grown rooster does it the larger hens freeze and look up, the bantams hit the bushes FAST. The other Roosters answer the call and it spreads alerting every flock.

Now little Screech, a bantam dutch rooster, does it constantly and everyone ignores him. That is also how the cute little loud mouth got his name.

Thanks, Matt! I appreciate your explanation of a hen vs. a rooster using it.

At least now I know they listen to me, even if they don't care.
That is good to know for future reference-I guess one could try to repeat that if there was danger. (I'm guessing "run, hide chickies!" probably wouldn't get the same result)
I think he was saying, "All you chicks, there may be a chance of danger....". But when you repeated it, it must have been like you saying, "You're right! There is danger!!"

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