If you have a flock of hens with no roosters, the last thing you expect is to hear crowing, right? Hens can crow, however. In this article, I’m looking at the reasons why, and how to stop a hen from crowing.
Do Hens Really Crow Like Roosters?
Hens can crow like roosters, yes. I’ve seen and heard it myself. It makes you take a double-take the first time, that's for sure!
In fact, I wrote an article here about why hens crow like roosters and included a video if you’re interested.
As for why hens crow, the typical reasons are:
You Used to Have a Rooster
Sometimes a hen will step up and start crowing after a rooster is removed from the flock. It’s not known exactly why some hens do this, but there is no doubting it happens.
It’s almost like a hen steps up and takes its place. It could be due to one or more of the following reasons:
That Hen Is Top of the Pecking Order
The term ‘pecking order’ refers to any form of a hierarchy of status among a group of animals (or people). The term, as you may have guessed, actually comes from a flock of chickens.
This is because chickens will literally peck at each other to establish who is top of the pecking order. When a hen is at the top, it will sometimes crow to show its dominance.
Sex Reversal Is Happening
It’s rare, but hens can actually go through a sex reversal where they stop laying eggs and actually grow spurs, crow, and start behaving like a rooster.
I don’t know a lot about this condition, but I’ve read about it in a number of articles. If you suspect this is the reason I’d consult a vet as there is an underlying health issue.
Related - Do hens really have spurs?
How to Stop a Hen From Crowing
Knowing the reason for a hen crowing is one thing - stopping them from crowing is another.
I’ve heard of a few different home remedies and methods for stopping a hen crowing. But, in my opinion, it really comes down to three options:
Introduce a Rooster
This sounds counterintuitive to a point, I know. If the reason why you want to stop your hen crowing is that you (or your neighbors) can’t stand the noise, this isn’t the option for you.
Bringing a rooster into the flock does solve the issue for some people. The rooster takes over crowing duties and changes the dynamic.
Introduce New Hens
As I mentioned above, one of the reasons why hens crow is because they are top of the pecking order. Not all hens at the top will crow though. In fact, very few do.
By introducing some new hens and shaking up the pecking order, the offending hen will often find themselves lower in the pecking order and will no longer crow.
Using a No-Crow Collar
No-crow collars are small bands that go around the neck of a rooster and make their crowing a lot quieter. You could try fitting one of these to your hen if you really just want to stop the noise.
It works by essentially restricting how much air they can draw in, and thus doesn’t allow them to produce such a loud crow.
It doesn’t sound nice, I will admit. But having seen several roosters with an anti-crow collar on, it doesn’t seem to hurt them or cause any discomfort.
In fact, roosters will still go about their normal activities and try to crow as normal. The only difference is that it makes their crowing a lot quieter.
It’s certainly worth a try - or at the very least reaching out to a distributor/manufacturer and asking them what their experience is with using their collars on hens.
Related - You can find out more about no-crow collars and how they work here.
Why Do Hens Crow After Laying an Egg?
There is a difference between a hen crowing for the reasons explained above, and because they’ve laid an egg.
Most hens cluck, squawk, crow, or make some kind of vocal noise after they lay an egg. This is called the ‘egg song’.
Hens do this to let their flock mates know they’ve laid an egg. It’s also believed that they do this in the wild to distract or confuse predators to try and ‘hide’ their eggs.
Either way, it’s perfectly normal behavior for hens to make a noise after laying an egg. It’s not many that crow, but some will.
Related - Why Do Chickens Squawk After Laying an Egg?
If you’re not allowed roosters because you live in an urban area and the noise is unwelcome, it’s a nightmare to find out that you have a hen acting like a rooster!
Now you know several reasons why hens crow, and several ways you can stop them, hopefully, you can resolve this issue pretty quickly.
If you’re into superstitions, I have to point out that a crowing hen is supposed to be bad luck, too. Even more of a reason to do something about it sooner rather than later (I’m not superstitious!).
Image credits - Photo by Alejandra Rodríguez on Unsplash