If you have kept hens and roosters in your backyard, you are fully aware of the noise disruption of 4 am crowing. However, if you own hens only because you do not want to be on the wanted list of the neighborhood. Neighbors often complain to rooster keepers about the early morning crowing.
What really makes you scratch your head is when you hear the sound of crowing and you do not have a rooster.
Chicken keepers are used to the sound of crowing and it is often associated with roosters. Hens usually crackle and chirp when playing or spending time in the backyard coop. A hen crowing seems quite unusual, isn’t it?
Do hens crow? It is quite shocking when a crow breaks through the morning time, and you would want to double-check, is there a rooster in the lot? Have you mistakenly got a rooster and did not know all this time? Relax, you will get all the answers to do hens crow? If yes, why so?
Can Hens Crow Like Roosters?
Yes, hens can crow like roosters but it happens rarely, so, it is not the much talked about topic in the chicken world. Hens can not crow as loud and clear as Rooster. Their crowing is quite similar to that of roosters.
It is not possible for chickens to have gender change or crisis, so what could be the reason behind this behavior? It just not happens when the hen thinks she is a he.
There could be many possible reasons for hens crowing like a rooster.
Some people do not believe that hens can crow and they believe that it was one of the roosters that let out a crow.
However, it is not so uncommon for hens to crow, there could be many triggers or you just have a crazy hen.
If you do not believe us, just go to YouTube and find the popular video where Brahma hen and rooster have a “crow off”, you can judge how they sound quite similar.
Crowing Hen Myth
Some superstitious people believe that a hen crowing is a bad omen. If the hen crows, it means that a stroke of bad luck or death is coming to the family.
Obviously, none of this is true, a scientific explanation of this myth is given below.
Why Do Hens Crow Like a Rooster?
In rare circumstances, hens start to crow like a rooster and the owner has to figure out why. Is it because of a gender change, a disease, or some other reasons?
It is not unusual for some breeds as hens of some rare and dominant chicken breeds like Longcrower crow like a rooster. Here are some of the reasons why your hen is crowing like a rooster.
Verify You Have Bought Hens Only
It may seem obvious but there is a possibility that you may have bought a rooster mistakenly. It is quite common for hatcheries to misidentify a chic as a hen instead of a cock.
Three main methods to determine the sex of a chic are not 100% accurate. Sometimes, you just get a mislabeled rooster from the hatchery which you deemed to be a “hen”.
Generally, Rooster is at the top of the pecking order, however, in an all-hen flock, someone has to step up and take charge.
Hens crow to establish their place and dominance in the flock. Every time, a new member enters the flock the pecking order is rearranged.
Crowing behavior related to pecking order issues may lead to aggression and bullying among the flock. The matter will be resolved in a few days, if not, isolate the dominant hen.
Imitating the Rooster
If you previously had a rooster but no longer do, hens will try to take its place and start crowing. On several occasions, it is observed that hens crow to imitate rooster.
They also do so to stop the rooster from crowing. Once the rooster stops crowing, hens will do so as well.
Age, Hormonal Imbalances, or Disease
Aging hens crow as well as those diagnosed with hormonal imbalances.
Hens have two ovaries; left and right, left one is responsible for producing eggs whereas the right one remains underdeveloped throughout the hen’s life.
When the left ovary is damaged due to injury or disease, the body begins to develop the right ovary.
The right ovary is composed of testicular tissue, upon development, it pushes male hormones into the body.
Being overwhelmed with the male hormones, hens begin to act like a rooster.
Chickens who are not provided with a proper, healthy diet suffer malnutrition and have an increased chance of premature damage to the ovaries.
Lack of enough Calcium leads to thin and brittle eggshells.
The internal pressure may make the egg break internally, causing internal damage to the hen’s reproductive system.
When the left ovary becomes damaged, the right ovary is pushed into production. This change in function causes the hen to behave like a rooster.
This happens rarely and may seem unbelievable to many. Sex Reversal is a phenomenon where the left ovary fails to work, estrogen levels drop, and testosterone levels rise which makes the hen physically transform into a rooster.
Hens acquire the rooster features and witness a change both physically and hormonally. Some of the noticeable features of hens going through sex reversal or gender change are male plumage and wattles, growth of a larger comb, and egg production stopping or slowing. If we talk in numbers, an estimated 1 in 10,000 hens has sex reversal.
How to Stop Hens From Crowing?
Now that you know the cause, it is time to know the solution. If you did not include a rooster in the flock deliberately because you did not want to deal with the noisy crowing, it would be really annoying to find out that one of the hens has started doing so.
Knowing the reason is just not enough what you do to stop it matters. Here are some of the ways you can stop hens from crowing.
Add a Rooster to the Flock
As it is established earlier, hens crow to establish their territory and become the boss of the flock when a rooster is not around.
Introducing a rooster will change the roles. Not only the crowing duties but charge of the flock will also be shifted to the new rooster.
Utilize No-Crow Collar
This is the most go-to solution for stopping roosters from crowing. It is highly unlikely that the matter will go so far for it to be used for hens.
Hens do not crow as much as roosters, once in a blue moon, you can say. Most of the chicken keepers have never heard hens crowing which explains how rarely it happens.
However, if the hen is crowing constantly like a rooster, there is no other way but to use a no-crow collar. This collar will ensure quieter crowing without discomforting or hurting the hen. But No Crow collars can be cruel.
Clean Living Conditions
Clean living conditions, how that’s going to help stop crowing? It may not directly influence the growing problem but it is a preventive measure.
Chickens provided with clean living conditions will be protected from many deadly diseases.
Provision of a Proper diet and essential minerals and nutrients create strong eggs and eggshells which somewhat minimize the risk of damage to the left ovary.
If this behavior is not because of any hormonal change, it is better to isolate the dominant hen to help her ease out of the masculine ways.
Once the owner witnesses a behavior change and sees the hen returning to her happy self, re-introduce her to the flock.
In brief, crowing hens can be an annoyance in populated areas. This behavior in hens is often associated with distress or hormonal imbalance. If the hen is more than just an egg provider, look for the possible reason, treatment, and continue to provide the best care.