Why Is My Hen Crowing Like a Rooster?
When your rooster crows, that is perfectly normal. How about when your hen crows just like a rooster? While this is almost standard for a small number of chicken keepers, for the rest it can be a surprise. It may even create some confusion if you don’t have roosters among your flock.
Hearing or seeing one of your female chickens crowing will leave you with a lot of questions. So much so, it may sound improbable that such domestic birds can experience a gender crisis. However, your hen crowing is something that should not startle you. This is because of several underlying factors that are likely to make hens crow.
Reason Why Hens Crow
Your hen will crow like a rooster for various reasons such as the absence of a rooster, establish a hierarchy in the flock, just imitating the rooster or sex reversal. This behavior is harmless to your hen, and it is usually only temporary.
Now, let’s get into more details, and see why some hens crow:
1. Rooster Died
The absence of a rooster among your flock of chickens could be one of the reasons why your hen is crowing. Normally the absence of a male chicken is caused by death or culling process, leaving his position vacant (literary). When this happens the most dominant hen will most likely take over and start crowing.
The hen will simply mimic the behavior of the absent rooster. In extreme cases, the same hen will start mounting other hens just in the same way roosters do. Often times the crowing from a hen is not as loud as you would expect from a true rooster.
2. Top of Hierarchy
The second reason why your hen is crowing is the need to be at the top of the hierarchy, which is commonly referred to as the pecking order. This is a form of dominance that clearly comes out among chickens. It is usually common where a new chicken is added to the existing flock. Every time a new member is introduced to the group of chickens, a pecking order has to be reestablished.
In most cases, a hen crows with the intention of establishing her position in the pecking order. Just like roosters, such hens want to establish a territory or assert their dominance over others. Therefore, when you discover that your hen has started crowing, rest assured that she is somehow trying to rise ranks and be on top of the hierarchy.
3. Imitating the Rooster
Even though your hen may not sound exactly like your roosters when crowing, just know she is trying to imitate the rooster’s behavior. A close observation will reveal that the same crowing hen is somewhat aggressive towards others within the same flock.
In rare cases, the crowing hen will attempt to mount other hens in the same way as roosters. All these are male-like behavior that should not concern you. They are just a common occurrence when hens suddenly acquire masculine traits.
Unlike hens, roosters crow for a reason. Also, their cowing is usually loud and attention-grabbing. Roosters will crow at the sunrise, when they want to declare their territories, or sharing post-mating crows and competing among themselves to show who has the most powerful crow. None of these reasons are associated with hens.
4. Sex Reversal
Sex reversal is a common thing. Such cases are triggered by the presence of male sex hormones that turn a hen into a rooster. It’s possible for your female chicken to develop some spontaneous male sex hormones along the way. This sudden change in hormones can be either from when your chicks hatch or sporadically as they grow.
With sporadic development of male hormones, hen’s experience surging levels of testosterone. Eventually, they adopt more masculine features which may include a declining egg production, growth of spurs, emergence of pronounced features such as wattles, combs, and plumage, and of course, crowing.
How to Stop a Hen From Crowing?
In most instances, chickens grow out of their crowing habit, especially when they are about to lay eggs. But this is not always the case with some hens. Their rooster behavior may get out of hand and even make other chickens uncomfortable. It can also result in causing injuries to some chickens or upsetting your neighbors. You can help your crowing hen by taking certain measures.
Start by isolating the hen for some time until you see a change in her behavior. Isolation from the rest of your flock will most likely help her return to her normal self. By the time you reintroduce her to other chickens, she will have done away with her crowing habit or lost her position in the pecking order.
If the isolation tactic does not work, you can introduce new hens in order to shake up the existing pecking order. The new hens will place the crowing hen below the pecking order.
Using a no-crow collar is another preventive measure. A no-crow collar is a small band that is placed around the rooster’s neck to make the crowing a little bit quiet. You can use the same device to stop your hen from crowing.
How to Stop Your Hen Turning into a Rooster?
Once you realize that your hen is gradually adopting behavior similar to a rooster’s, you need to find a quick solution to this problem. First, you can sprinkle a teaspoon of kelp on chicken feed for some days to help the affected hen to balance her hormonal system naturally.
You can as well introduce a rooster to your flock to prevent the hen from being on top of the pecking order. The presence of a rooster will certainly help reshuffle the current pecking order to bring an end to the crowing hen’s behavior.
Before you can introduce the rooster to your flock, make sure to check with your local ordinances to know if roosters are allowed in your area of residence.
As a chicken owner, you should know that it is actually possible for your hen to crow. In fact, there is nothing to worry about when you discover that one of your female chickens is crowing. Many reasons try to explain why such a thing can happen.
In particular, your hen will crow when she establishes dominance over the rest of your hens within your flock. This behavior can go away on its own. If it persists, there is no point in panicking. It is absolutely harmless provided that the affected chicken is acting normally.