Wondering; what sounds do chickens make and how they communicate with each other and you?
Chicken noises are an interesting topic. As backyard chicken owners, we all find ourselves talking to our chicks (right?) and trying to understand what they’re saying when they’re clicking away.
Chickens deliberately make around 25 different sounds - and use them as a dialogue to communicate.
By taking some time to better understand what these different sounds mean, you’ll get to know your chickens a lot better.
Here is a look at the most common chicken noises, what they sound like and what they mean.
Conversational Chit Chat Among Hens
Most of the sounds chickens make is general chitter-chatter between hens. Coop chat, if you like.
They are social creatures, and observing mine I can see that some of them get some enjoyment from clucking with other hens and sometimes they ramp it up.
While we don’t know exactly what they’re saying and how it’s being interpreted, it’s very obvious they hens let each other know they’re there, where food is, they respond to one another, and so on.
A lot of the time it’ll be a soft, ongoing noise, kind of like reassurance everything is good. Then it’ll intensify when something changes, like feeding time or being rounded up.
You will have noticed by now that your hens greet you in the morning when you enter their coop. If you introduce some new food or a perch, listen for cooing and clucking noises. This shows their appreciation.
Here's a video so you can hear what I'm talking about:
The Egg Song
I can’t talk about chicken noises without talking about the “egg song”.
No, I’m not talking about a pop song, the egg song is what we call the sounds a chicken makes after laying an egg.
It’s usually a mix of familiar chicken noises. Clucking, bawk’s, a buck-buck-buck, and a happy cackling. Other hens will join in, and it’s enough to entice a rooster to mate with the hen that just laid an egg too!
For the most part, this is the noisiest your hens will be. So, you can expect an egg song once a day for the most part, but it’s a celebration to be enjoyed.
And an alarm clock letting you know that there’s a fresh egg waiting in a nest box!
If you’re interested to learn more about the egg song please read - why do chickens squawk after laying an egg.
Nest Box and Food Squabbles
If you hear the chatter getting a bit heated inside the coop, chances are your hens are squabbling over food or a nesting box.
You only need one box per 3-4 hens. Typically, they do just fine rotating and taking turns. But sometimes, a hen will want a particular spot at the same time as another hen and try to cluck them off it.
Once you’ve heard this commotion once, there’s no mistaking this noise. You’ll know next time exactly what it means.
Related content - How many nest boxes do you need per chicken?
Happy and Content Noises
Chickens make certain noises when they’re happy and content.
For example, did you know that chickens purr?
That’s right, chickens enjoy being fussed and pampered just like other pets. If you have one on your lap and stroke them, you might just hear some purring, murmuring or gentle cooing.
Warning - super cute video of a chicken purring while being stroked:
Warning and Alarm Noises
One of the reasons chickens are so adept at surviving in the wild is because they sound the alarm whenever they spot a threat.
They usually do this by making a single loud cluck in among some normal clucking. They will also stand upright to make themselves look bigger, and have a “vigilance” posture.
If you hear a cluck-cluck-cluck-BWAK - go take a look and see what’s spooking them. It’s probably nothing, but you can reassure them and calm them down.
If there is a predator you might even hear your chicks growling to defend themselves. Just be careful if they’re in a state of fright, you might get pecked!
Some people love it, some hate it, and most neighbors hate it when they live next to a flock of chickens with a loud rooster.
Roosters crow in the morning when it’s sunrise. They will often crow throughout the day if they feel threatened, want to alert the hens to something, and some roosters will just make noise.
There’s no mistaking a rooster’s crow. But just incase, here’s a compilation of some awesome crowing for you:
Related content - how long do roosters live?
Communicating with chickens is fun. The more time you spend with them and the more you take note of what sounds they’re making and when the better you’ll understand your flock.
Who knows, you might just become the next chicken whisperer!
Chicken Noises and Commonly Asked Questions
Are Silkie Chickens Loud
This is a tough one to answer. I’ve had a few Silkies over the years and the amount and volume of noise really depended on the individual bird.
What I will say, is that Silkies are very capable of being loud. So, keep that in mind. The roosters are very capable of crowing loudly. Not as loud as the larger breeds, but surprisingly loud for such a little cute fluff ball.
What I always found too was that the hens tend to be pretty chatty with each other, and one would always be the boss and make the most noise.
Related content - How long do Silkies live?
Are Roosters Louder Than Hens?
Roosters are louder than hens, yes. Not only are they responsible for those early morning crows announcing sunrise, but they reach much louder volumes.
Roosters can reach an ear busting 140+ decibels (source). Which has been described as being similar to standing 15 meters from a jet taking off! While hens cluck up a storm at around 70 decibels.
If you want to know how to stop your rooster crowing - check out this post explaining how no-crow collars work.
Why Do Some Hens Crow Like Roosters?
Some hens will crow like a rooster. This is an interesting phenomenon, and it can happen if you have a flock without a rooster or you’ve removed the rooster.
Sometimes a hen will take on the role of a rooster and dominate the other hens. Raising to the top of the pecking order, if you like. It’s interesting to see, and really sounds very similar to a rooster.
Why Do Chickens Make Honking Noises (Like a Goose)
Chickens will make a honking noise, similar to the sound a goose makes if they hurt themselves. I’ve heard it a few times from my flock, usually if they bump into something.
It doesn’t always mean they’ve hurt themselves though, you might just have a “honker”.