When do Roosters Start Crowing?
Crowing is part of a rooster’s everyday life. Furthermore, crowing in roosters can be territorial behavior. Roosters also crow to make mating calls. They crow to warn rival cockerels to refrain from invading their territories.
Roosters usually start crowing when they are between six and eight weeks old. Some factors, however, can affect the age when your rooster will start crowing. Your rooster’s environment and genetics can determine when your rooster will start crowing.
Age at Which Roosters Start Crowing
The age when a rooster starts crowing can vary depending on several factors. Most roosters start crowing when they are around four to five months old.
Juvenile roosters usually make their first crow around 6 to 8 weeks old. Some cockerels can crow much earlier than others, while other roosters can crow much later.
Factors that Can Affect Rooster Crowing
Roosters crow for different reasons. Many factors can affect rooster crowing. These are among the factors that will affect your rooster’s crowing.
Genetics can have a significant influence on a rooster crowing. That’s why some roosters will crow at an earlier age than others. Genetics also make some roosters crow more than others.
For instance, a rooster may crow earlier if it hails from an ancestral lineage, whereby its ancestors used to crow earlier than other roosters.
Similarly, a rooster may crow less often if its ancestors used to crow less frequently.
A rooster’s environment can also affect its crowing. For instance, roosters that live in danger-prone environments are likely to crow more than their counterparts in safe environments.
Furthermore, exposure to bright lights can trigger a rooster to crow frequently. Your roosters can repeatedly crow after hearing other roosters crow.
Roosters compete in the form of crowing, so you can expect a rooster to crow more if he lives with multiple roosters.
Roosters are social birds. Therefore, social conditions can motivate these chickens to crow. Social situations, such as the presence of other roosters and chickens, can trigger your cockerel to crow.
Crowing is also a social behavior among roosters. Roosters compete with other roosters to establish who is superior to the other. Dominant roosters crow at submissive roosters to display their superiority.
Some rooster breeds have a reputation for crowing more than others. While every rooster will crow after reaching maturity, some breeds crow more loudly and frequently than others.
For instance, Rhode Island Red roosters crow more than Australorp roosters because the former are aggressive and active.
Orpington roosters crow less regularly than other roosters because they are some of the quietest rooster breeds on the planet.
The Purpose of Crowing in Roosters
Chicken raisers have been trying to comprehend what makes roosters crow. Roosters crow for many reasons.
Some of the reasons why roosters crow includes:
Crowing is a territorial behavior in roosters. A rooster can crow to warn another rooster not to come close to its flock or invade its territory. Roosters crow to make their presence known by other roosters and chickens.
Roosters also crow to mark their territories and warn other competing roosters not to trespass into their territories. Crowing is a warning like “no trespassing into this private property .”
Despite many people assuming that roosters are overly aggressive, it’s their territorial behavior to warn other competing roosters before starting a fight.
Roosters crow to announce to hens about their availability and willingness to mate. Dominant roosters will crow to attract hens in a flock. They also crow to reveal to other roosters that they reserve the right to mate with the hens in the flock.
Roosters crow after mating to let other roosters know they are the only ones entitled to mating with the females in the flock. The intensity of the crow helps entice a rooster to the hens.
That’s why senior roosters crow loudly to attract the hens. Younger roosters can’t make clear and loud crows, so they have minimal chances of mating with the hens in the flock.
Early Morning Call
The most apparent reason why roosters crow is to make early morning calls. Roosters usually crow before sunrise to let the flock know it’s daytime.
A rooster will make an early morning call and will be the first bird to get out of the coop after crowing. That early morning crow will encourage the other chickens to get out of the cage and start foraging.
While roosters can crow any time of the day, they have a biological clock that prompts them to crow at dawn.
Warn Other Flock Members of Predators
Roosters play the guardian role. They are always alert of trouble, so they crow to alert their flock members of predators.
Your rooster will crow upon detecting a predator like a badger, bobcat, raccoon, coyote, or hawk to warn the flock members to seek protection from the predator.
Cockerels also crow when they see an intruder approaching the flock.
Establishing a Hierarchy
If you raise many roosters, you will notice these birds have a hierarchy. Roosters will crow to establish and maintain this hierarchy.
In any chicken flock, the head rooster rules the flock. The dominant rooster will be the first and the last rooster to crow. Once the head rooster unleashes his first crow, the other cockerels will crow in turns, following a special social rank and pecking order.
The head rooster will then make the last crow, and no other rooster will crow after the head rooster. It’s as if the dominant rooster is reaffirming his position as the flock’s leader.
Interestingly, roosters can crow in turns to challenge the existing pecking order, especially if the leader is too sick or old.
Differences in Crowing Behavior of Different Breeds
Unlike hens, roosters are noisy irrespective of the breed. However, different rooster breeds have different crowing behaviors.
For instance, some breeds crow more than others. Breeds like the Lavender Orpington, Ameraucana, Java, and Cochin are extremely quiet, so they don’t crow much.
Other breeds, like Wyandotte and Easter Egger chickens, make loud crows. Furthermore, crowing can be more intense in aggressive breeds.
The more aggressive a rooster is, the louder and more frequently it will crow.
Furthermore, some rooster breeds like Leghorns, Sumatras, and Faverolle are incredibly territorial, so they crow loudly to warn other roosters not to intrude into their territories.
Irrespective of the breed, a rooster will crow loudly if there are other roosters in the flock.
Moreover, roosters tend to crow more during the mating season to attract hens. Roosters crow to outshine each other when finding suitable mates.
Frequency and Duration of Crowing
While roosters can crow at any time, most roosters will crow more frequently at dawn. Roosters can crow whenever they feel like crowing, although the intensity of crowing will be high in the morning.
The average rooster crows approximately 15 times a day. The rooster will crow for a couple of seconds and then cease crowing. However, the bird can continue crowing as long as it wants.
The number of roosters in a flock can also affect the frequency and duration of crowing. For instance, you can expect more crows if you have many roosters because they will be crowing in turns to outsmart each other.
Roosters also crow more during the mating season because they have to attract hens. Multiple roosters will frequently crow in the morning, unlike a single rooster that will crow only once or twice at dawn.
The frequency of crowing is, therefore, high when it gets to multiple roosters.
Impact of Crowing on the Rooster’s Surroundings
Crowing is a significant part of a rooster’s life and its surroundings. For instance, crowing can help keep a rooster’s surroundings safer because crowing is a way of deterring potential threats.
Crowing also helps reduce competition in the flock, making it easier for all the flock members to coexist peacefully. The loudness of crowing can determine the number of hens a rooster can mate with within the flock.
Senior roosters crow more loudly than young cockerels, so they can mate with multiple hens, unlike their junior counterparts. Crowing is vital because it helps roosters establish and maintain a social hierarchy.
Ways to Minimize and Manage Rooster Crowing
You cannot use a foolproof strategy to keep your rooster quiet. This doesn’t suggest that flock raisers don’t have ways to minimize and manage rooster crowing.
For instance, you can reduce the number of roosters to manage crowing in your flock. Roosters will crow less frequently if your flock has more hens. You can use artificial lighting to control rooster crowing. Roosters’ internal clocks make them wake up early and start crowing at dawn. However, artificial lighting can fool your roosters into not issuing their morning alarms.
Some flock raisers use a rooster collar to distract their cockerels from crowing excessively. Rooster collars work by restricting airflow in a rooster, making the rooster uncomfortable whenever he tries to crow.
Roosters have an instinctual need to crow as soon as they are between six and eight months old. Roosters also crow for different reasons, such as making an early morning call and warning their flocks.
The frequency of crowing in roosters also varies depending on the number of cockerels in a flock.