Why is My Chicken Screaming?
If you rear chickens of any breed, you are likely to hear them making different kinds of noises. Some of these noises may be potentially worrisome, while others shouldn’t alarm you at all.
It’s normal for roosters to crow and chickens to cluck. But did you know that chickens are evolved to make over thirty kinds of noises, each with a specific meaning?
While it may seem like cackling or squawking to you, these sounds help chickens communicate important messages. So, let’s look at what these noises mean and when to be worried about them.
5 Reasons Chickens Scream
Wondering why your chickens make noises at random times, whether you have them in a coop or not? Here are some of the reasons why:
1. Egg Laying
Expect your egg-laying chickens to make noises as they get ready to lay an egg or when they’re in the process of doing so. This is perhaps the most common kind of vocalization you’ll hear in your flock, and it can take different formats.
You may hear the hen cackling as it waits for you to get a nest box, or you may hear agitation grumbles if the hen finds that its favorite nest box has been occupied. Broody chickens get extremely agitated when they want to use a nest box. The screams can get louder if you fail to respond promptly.
It’s also common for two hens to make higher pitched and frantic noises as they scramble over the same nesting box. Always keep a few extra nesting boxes if you spot this behavior in your flock often.
2. Something Scared Them
Chickens are extremely alert to their surroundings and are likely to make distress calls when they are scared. The distress calls help them alert other chickens of the presence of predators. They also help inform you that a hen may be injured or frightened about its surroundings.
Distress calls made by scared chickens are usually long, loud, and high-pitched. They tend to fade away if the trigger factors are eliminated. You may also hear this type of sound from a chicken that has been isolated from the rest of the flock or captured.
The best thing to do when your chickens make distress calls is to go check out what may be scaring them. You should also separate extremely violent breeds from non-violent ones to help curb the noise.
3. Calling Out Danger
Though predator calls sound differently between roosters and hens, it is usually high, loud, and shrill. It’s also a common thing for roosters to initiate the predator call once they spot imminent danger. They do this to signal the rest of the flock about danger, whether they are free-range or kept in a coop.
Predator calls may be elongated bellows or singular loud, piercing calls. It may be emitted as repeated notes that alert other birds to pay attention.
You may also hear a repeated alarm noise (sounding like a repeated cackle) that suggests to the other flock that a predator is lurking. The predator call may also be in the form of “air raid” noise, which is highly alarming. Once you hear this noise, you may want to scramble out to the backyard or coop with a weapon to deal with the predator.
4. Asking for a Snack from You
Chickens are very curious about their surroundings, and if they stumble on food, they are likely to signal the rest of the flock. A hen will make certain sounds to call her chicks to feed, while roosters will repeat the same to attract hens.
Either way, the chickens make a series of clicking noises in a dull pitch to let others know that there’s food nearby. You may hear these noises often when they find a tasty treat (like worms) in the backyard. This is because these sounds are linked with pleasure rather than satisfying hunger.
5. Chicken Personality
Like other animals, chickens have different personalities depending on their breed and their surroundings. It’s common for a chicken to make contented noises as it hangs out in the yard, chills in a dust bath, or forages on the ground. Contented noises are easy to identify if you keep chickens on free range.
Your chickens may also let out frequent low chatters or murmurs as a signal that they can hear each other. If they can’t hear each other, expect them to take action immediately. They may also take immediate action if another chicken makes an alarm call.
You may notice low contented noises as you keep your chicken on your lap or groom them. That is if you rear them as pets or for showing purposes.
How to Make Your Chickens Stop Screaming?
Since chickens make different kinds of noises for a variety of reasons, you shouldn’t try to get them to be quiet. It’s biologically normal for your flock to be noisy. And the reason they make noises is to communicate to each other or to you that something is wrong or everything is okay.
However, if you find the noises annoying, there are several steps you can take to keep the flock quieter. Your reasons for keeping them quiet may be motivated by the fact that you reside in an urban area or you rear chickens next to your home.
As you try to keep the flock quiet, consider the breed you are rearing. Some chicken breeds are less flighty and quieter than others. Consider one that’s more easy-going and docile if you want a quieter breed.
Your options for quieter chicken breeds include Buff Orpingtons. Australorps, Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, and Brahmas. Other quieter breeds include Speckled Sussex, Mottled Javas, Cochins, Javas, Silkies, and Rhode Island Reds.
On the other hand, some of the loudest breeds of chicken include Araucana, Easter Eggers, Welsummers, and Polish. Either way, remember that the chicken’s individual personality rather than the breed will largely determine its noisiness. There may be no guarantee that the chosen breed will be quiet as expected.
You can also train your flock to stop yelling in a number of ways. One of the ways to train them is to fill a spray bottle with clean water and spray the chicken with the water while telling it to stop screaming every time it starts to scream.
Why is My Broody Hen Screaming?
A broody chicken may make loud noises since her mind is occupied by the fact that it has to make eggs. Its biggest goal is to be a good mother to the soon-to-be-hatched chicks. In this case, the chicken’s hormones will go a little crazy, triggering noises and unusual aggressive behaviors.
Most broody hens tend to make loud screams that can be compared to temper tantrums once in a while. They may become quieter before hatching chicks or start clucking.
Compared to other chickens, broody hens are more aggressive and noisier. They may develop a terrible attitude when surrounded by other hens. It’s also common for them to get aggressive with people.
Expect your broody hen to scream and shriek when you force it to leave the nesting box. The hen may even hush out roosters in the coop or backyard with their high-pitched noises.
The common kinds of noises made by broody hens include growls, screams, and soft, repeated clucks. Growls usually indicate that the hen feels that her eggs are threatened, while screams insinuate a temper tantrum, especially when the hen is triggered. The hen may make soft, repeated clucks to itself when the eggs are almost hatching.
All in all, chickens make different noises to communicate to each other or you about imminent danger or when content with something. Though some chicken breeds are quieter than others, you should be concerned if your chickens are not making any noises at all.
Use the sounds that your flock makes to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing since they may suggest injury, illness, or predator issues.