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#69521 - 01/12/07 09:09 PM Talking Chickens
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
I'm wondering if anyone has ever studied the sounds that chickens make. They seem to have quite a range of vocalizations. Are they talking to each other? The crow of the rooster could be "I'm here and macho!" The cackle of the hen when she has laid an egg,
"Here's an egg!" It seems counterproductive for that be announced to the world. Lots of growling noises and chirps. Any thoughts on this?

#69522 - 01/12/07 09:16 PM Re: Talking Chickens
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8499
Loc: Montana
Yes, they have a pseudo language that is quite similar in all chickens. There are variations in voices. Bantams and Large Fowl say the same things, but the depth and tone are different, still all chickens understand each other. They have a "vocabulary" of many "sounds".

A Bantam rooster will still be understood by a Long Crower, and chicks, also can be understood with many different peeps, cheeps, chirks, etc. CJR

Like Wild Bird voices, if you record them and play them back, you can get various reactions!

#69523 - 01/12/07 11:40 PM Re: Talking Chickens
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1283
Loc: Canada
I thought I had heard all possibe chicken sounds. But while we were doing crop surgery on our hen, a few times she made a noise I have never heard any chicken make. I cannot describe it, but I noticed immediately that it was a very different sound. Was it the sound of pain? (ugh, I got a sick feeling in my stomach even saying that).

I suppose it could have been a regular chicken sound changed by the fact that I had my finger stuck in her innards. But I don't think so. It sounded pitiful and sad. It alarmed me, prompting me to say, please don't die, chicken. (actually her name is Brian, so I said please don't die, Brian)

I think when you can rationally discuss the different sounds that poultry make, you have spent WAY TOO MUCH time in the hen house eek But I can't think of a better place to be.

#69524 - 01/12/07 11:51 PM Re: Talking Chickens
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas's if you reply to the bird in their own language...done it! Especially the hawk cry that the rooster makes. I saw an owl perched in a tree nearby and made the noise. All birds ran under the shade and the coop.

#69525 - 01/16/07 05:22 PM Re: Talking Chickens

"CHICKEN TALK" by Gail Damerow

Chickens use at least 30 diffrent sounds to communicate. If you pay attention to the sounds they make as they engage in diffrent activities, you'll soon be able to close your eyes and know what they are doing by the sound. Recongnizing these sounds lets you understand your flock"s mood and helps you be a better manager.
CACKLE is a sound a hen makes after laying an egg. humans tend to think she's bragging, but she's really protecting her future offspring by drawing the attention of potential predators to herself as she moves away from the nest.
PEEP is a chick's way of communicating with its mother, even before it breaks out of the shell. chicks peep to keep in touch with one another and with thier mother. They have many ways of peeping, depending on whether they are content, uncomfortable, afraid, lost, or sleepy.
CLUCK is a sound made by a mother hen so her chicks will know where she is. This loud, clipped sound is so distinct that a hen with chicks is often called a clucker or a cluck.
BRR is a warning sound a mother hen makes when she senses danger. It tells her chicks to hide by flattening against the ground until they hear her cluck.
HAWK is the sound the highest-ranking chicken in the peck order makes when a bird flies overhead. It causes the other chickens to run for cover, even if the "bird" turns out to be a high-flying air plane or a low-flying butterfly.
SCREECH is what a chicken does when it is unexpectadly grabbed to call a rooster or a senior hen to the rescue. When you hear this sound, you know someone or something (perhaps a dog) has gotten hold of one of you chickens.
CROW is what a rooster calles for lots of reasons: to establish territory, to brag after winning a fight, and to keep the flock together. When a rooster is about to crow, he flaps his wings and stretches his neck. Nearby roosters who hear the crowing may answer. Crowing must be important to chickens; if no rooster is around, sometimes an old hen will crow.
SINGING is the best way to describe the melodious sound made by happy hens. Hearing this sound will make you feel happy, too.

#69526 - 01/16/07 07:15 PM Re: Talking Chickens
Foehn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1973
Loc: New Zealand
uno your quote
I think when you can rationally discuss the different sounds that poultry make you have spent WAY TOO MUCH time in the hen house eek But I can't think of a better place to be.
was precisely what I alluded to in the post "How DOES one turn a profit"
18) You can be found in the yard apparently talking to yourself in a strange language.
And I can't think of a better language to express what you feel!

#69527 - 01/16/07 07:23 PM Re: Talking Chickens

Thanks for the article, yoko. I learned some new things smile
How about the brk-brk-brk, melodious sound that a rooster makes? He does it mostly when hes inside with me or in my arms. Very beautiful and laid back sound.

I wondered if chickens can understand us if we mock them well enough... Cool, jrsygntbrd1! I often do a mild version of the hawk noise (more like a brra! sound) when I see a crow or other bird at the feeder. Now that I know it's done by the dominant bird, I wonder how much my rooster appreciates it when I usurp his role or follow his call with my own?
I try to talk to my chickens with my rooster's laid-back sound, but I don't know what I'm saying smile
I think talking back to them comes from having parrots talk back at me in my language-- and me talk to them in their's. For instance, my parrot makes the sound of running water when I refill his water dish, so I make the sound to ask him if he wants a shower laugh But he also talks in English. We're bilingual wink

#69528 - 01/16/07 08:00 PM Re: Talking Chickens
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
LOL! All that our parrot says is: "GO AWAY!" "Call the dogs!" "HAHAHAAHAH" "SQUAWK!" I hate that bird...everytime I walk into the room it screeches: "GO AWAY!"

#69529 - 01/17/07 12:26 AM Re: Talking Chickens
Joachim Dippold Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1823
Loc: Austria
Good Morning,

thereīs a special alarm-call for ground-predators as well. Donīt know how itīs called but it differs from the air-alarm-sound for hawks quite noticable.

Thereīs a less "dangerous" version of this sound when an animal (say a foreign cat) other-than-predator aproaches.

The food-calls are also very different acording to "how good" the food is;-)

Thereīs also a "itīs all good, itīs okay" sound. This is a comforting, soothing sound our boys make when they tell a hen to calm down. This sound is a bit alike the "brk-brk-brk" sound Ordelia describes.

Ordelia, as for the "brk-brk-brk": donīt know for sure what this means but these are definitly sounds of "feeling good" rather than sounds of "alarm/discomfort". Maybe itīs something like the singing of hens?

Mikaela, what strange visitors you must have. LOL "go away" and "call the dogs", cool! Is he your janitor?

Like Jean said a bantam will understand a LF bird, we can see this in our birds. Speaking of bantams, the most funny noises come from our bantam hens;-)

EDIT: Almost forgot this "do this again and you are a dead bird" sound our angry cockerels make when another bird steals their treat. This angry-mood-sound is meaner and longer than the growl-sound from the hens and has several variations also.

Best greetings,



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