Chickens make great backyard pets. They provide a steady supply of fresh eggs. Plus, having these amazing creatures running around can be loads of fun.
What’s even more fun is hearing them chatter amongst themselves throughout the day. It’s adorable seeing how they interact with one another and communicate.
You probably know that chickens are more active during the day. Sometimes, however, your flock may start to make calls during the night. In fact, a common question asked by many chicken farmers is: “Are chickens loud at night?”
In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why your chickens are noisy, especially at night. You’ll also learn about the different chicken sounds and what each one means.
Let’s get started!
Are Chickens Loud at Night?
The answer to this question can be tricky. Like other vertebrates, chickens have a circadian rhythm. This internal process regulates our sleep-wake cycles.
Going by that account, chickens are supposed to be inactive at night. So, they’re not supposed to make any noise, right? Wrong!
If your chickens are awake when they’re supposed to be sleeping, this means something is distressing them. So what can be the cause of your chickens getting so worked up? Plenty of things, including:
- When they sense they’re in danger
- If there’s not enough water in the coop
- When they’re still familiarizing themselves with a new coop, especially young chicks
- If temperatures inside the coop are either too hot or too cold
- When they’re getting ready for bed
- If a chicken is injured or sick
Types of Chicken Sounds
There are about 24 different sounds made by chickens. Sometimes, you’ll notice that your chickens are taking part in what sounds like an actual dialogue. Some chickens will even make hiccuping sounds.
They also use sounds to communicate danger, food, and other daily occurrences. Keep reading to learn more about some of the distinct chicken calls and what each one means.
The Egg Song
The most common and happiest of the chicken sounds is the ‘egg song’. it celebrates the end of an egg-laying process. The hen that lays the egg starts singing happily. Sometimes, fellow sister hens will join her in the celebration.
After the egg-laying celebrations are done, there’s a brooding phase where the hen is waiting for her eggs to hatch. If a fellow flock-mate gets anywhere near her nest, she’ll growl or even scream. This is her way of scaring away any chickens from getting too close to her unhatched babies.
Try saying ‘good morning’ when you open up the coop in the morning. Your chickens will happily respond with what they feel is their equivalent of a morning greeting. If you’re ever late opening up their coop, they’ll quickly let you know that your behavior is unacceptable by screaming loudly.
Another type of coop chatter is what you’ll hear at the end of the day. As your chickens settle down for the night, you can hear them softly chitchatting. It’s a mixture of murmurs and trills. It’s comforting to hear because this is their way of letting you know they’re content and happy.
Murmurs of Content
Watch your flock as they move across the yard. You’ll notice that they’re murmuring in low tones. This is usually for two reasons. The first is that they’re happy and satisfied.
The second reason is that it keeps the entire flock safe. Even if they stray a bit, hens will always stay within earshot of each other. If one of them sounds the alarm, they’ll know exactly where it’s coming from and can act accordingly.
Chickens use a complex warning system in times of danger. They give off a distinct call when they spot a ground predator, which sounds different from the sound they make when they see an aerial predator. Pretty amazing, huh?
Did you know that a mother hen speaks to her unhatched chicks? She’ll purr and cluck softly as she sits on her eggs. This ‘talking’ helps the chicks differentiate between their mother’s voice from the others in the flock.
Once they hatch, the mother hen will continue talking to her chicks. If she senses any type of danger, she’ll let out a low growling sound. The chick knows what to do when he hears this sound. He’ll either run to his mother for protection or stand completely still until she can get to him.
Mother hens will let out a series of ‘tuk, tuk, tukking’ sounds to let her chicks know their dinner is ready. This sound is also used mainly by adult chickens to show how happy they are with the meal they’re eating.
How to Get Your Chickens to Quiet Down
In almost every situation, you really shouldn’t get your chickens to be quiet. It’s normal for them to be cackling and chattering all day long. Chickens use these noises to update you on the flock’s wellbeing. They also let you know if there are any injuries, illnesses, or lurking predators.
The one time they’re not supposed to make any noises is at night. So, if they do make any sounds when it’s dark, that’s a pretty big tell that something’s not right. Below are a couple of things you can do to help calm them so they can settle down for the night.
Assess the Situation
The first thing you should do is head to the coop. The sounds they make are their way of communicating with each other and with you. Even if you can’t see what’s making them agitated, you can bet that something is definitely upsetting them.
Take a look around the coop for signs of a predator trying to break in. It could also be that one of the hens injured herself, or that the water supply in the coop is running low.
Another thing that could be bothering your hens is the temperature in the coop. Chickens prefer warm temperatures that range around 75℉. You have to check whether the temperature dropped for some reason, and find out why. It could also be that it’s too hot and stifling in the coop, and the hens are suffering from heat stress.
Pick Your Breed
Here’s a fun fact: there are more than 500 breeds of chicken all over the world. Some of these are characteristically quieter and milder than others. Here are some easy going breeds:
- Mottled Javas
- Speckled Sussex
If you’re looking for some loud chicken breeds, check these out:
- Easter Eggers
Don’t Raise Roosters
It’s a known fact that roosters make more noise than hens. This is why many towns and cities put up restrictions on owning roosters. Some may allow you to own just one for breeding, but no more than that.
So, to help reduce noise levels, some people prefer to not own a rooster, and just stick with hens. This will help cut back on some of the noise, but not all of it.
Give Your Chickens a Secure Shelter
When chickens feel secure and protected, they make soft murmuring sounds. That’s in great contrast to the high shrills they make when they sense they’re in danger.
Also, try to keep the coop at least 12 inches below the fence line. It may give them a sense of security from outside disturbances.
Some people don’t believe chickens actually communicate in a language of their own. Yet if you sit and listen to your flock, you’ll feel differently.
These flightless birds are quite intelligent and vocal when they want to be. Their sounds are how they share their feelings with those around them.
No chickens are not louder at night. Yet, we’ve seen that there’ll be times when they’ll make loud noises when they should be quietly sleeping.
To avoid having your chickens cackling away in the middle of the night, make sure they’re secure, safe, and well provided for. It’s also important to keep their coop clean, warm, and cozy.