Owning chickens isn’t something everyone can do. There’s a lot of care to keep these birds healthy and happy. There’s also quite a bit of maintenance and issues that can arise that would put most people off from owning chickens of any sort. One of the biggest issues, of course, is noise.
One of the most difficult things do deal with is a broody hen, which is hen getting ready to nest. Are broody hens noisy? How broody hens behave will vary greatly from chicken to chicken. Some will stay quiet, others will make a fuss, though, and if made too irate, may even growl.
When a hen is brooding, it can be difficult to understand how to handle your hen…or what’s even going on. Thankfully, this guide will help you understand what’s happening with your chickens.
Are Broody Hens Noisy?
A hen that’s currently trying to make eggs hatch is a hen that has that priority on her mind. Right now, her biggest goal is to be a mother to her soon-to-be-hatched chicks. Hormones in your hen are going a little crazy, and that can be manifest in a number of ways.
With most hens, this can lead to loud screams similar to temper tantrums. However, this isn’t a constant thing. Many broody hens get somewhat quiet right before their chicks are about to hatch, while others may start clucking.
Are All Chickens Noisy?
If you set foot on a farm that has chickens, you already might have an answer for this one. Anyone who’s heard roosters crowing will tell you that all chickens make noise from time to time. Truth be told, they are a fairly noisy creature compared to other animals.
Are Broody Hens Noisier Than Typical Chickens?
They can be, but the bigger issue with broody hens rarely is the noise. Rather, it’s the terrible attitude they tend to have and how difficult they can be to raise. Broody hens are known for being aggressive with other chickens as well as people.
That being said, noise is an issue with broody hens, too. They can shriek and scream when they are forced to leave their nests. Some broody hens can even drown out roosters with their temper tantrum noise levels!
What Breeds Are The Quietest?
Some chicken breeds are definitely quieter than others. If you’re concerned about noise levels, make a point of buying breeds that are known for their quiet demeanors. These breeds include:
- Rhode Island Reds. These are fairly common, affordable, and pretty. They also are great for urban coops.
- Wyandottes. These black and white spotted chickens are known for being very quiet and low maintenance.
- Australorps. These black chickens are known for being utilitarian and having excellent egg-laying abilities.
- Ameraucanas. These petite brown chickens hail from Chile and are great for families that want to save space.
- Brahmas. A super fluffy breed known for its bushy leg feathers, Brahmas are surprisingly quiet in most situations.
- Cochins. Another very popular breed, these large hens are excellent companions and are wonderful to raise.
How Can I Tell If My Hen Is Broody?
The noise levels alone won’t be able to tell you if your hen is broody. Most hens will show a wide range of different symptoms when they’re about to have some new chicks. These include:
- Laying flat against eggs and refusing to move. Broody hens have a natural instinct to protect their eggs, and that means they will want to sit in their nest regardless of what’s going on. They may even sit in their nest when no eggs are present.
- Screaming, loud temper tantrums. This is a hen’s way of having a temper tantrum. Your chicken isn’t in pain; she’s just angry and frustrated.
- Growling if you put your hand too close to the nest. Yes, chickens can growl.
- Losing chest and stomach feathers. This is a sign that your chicken wants a brood.
- Pale wattles and crests. This is another visible change that indicates a hen is broody.
A broody hen is a hen that is gearing up to be a mother, or that is undergoing the primal urge to nest. If you notice behaviors that suggest it, congrats, your hen is broody.
Why Do Broody Hens Make Noise?
There are a lot of different reasons why a broody hens would make noise. The reason for each noise depends on what noise your hen is making:
- Growling. Your hen growls when she feels her eggs are being threatened. If she’s making this noise, back away.
- Screaming. This is usually the chicken version of a temper tantrum. It typically happens when a broody hen walks away from her nest.
- Soft. Repeated Clucks. Chickens will usually start clucking to themselves when their eggs are about to hatch.
I’m Not Ready For A Broody Hen! Can I Turn That Instinct Off?
Believe it or not, yes, you can. Hens are a very manageable type of bird when it comes to broodiness. If you so choose, you can get your hens to quiet down and mellow out their maternal instincts.
How To Turn Off A Broody Hen
If you aren’t exactly thrilled with your broody hen’s behavior, don’t fret. Getting them to “break” is actually fairly simple. Here’s how you can do it:
- Remove your hen from her nesting area. Most farmers will put broody hens in a crate above and away from the nest for a day or two. This will usually work fairly quickly. You may need to wear gloves to do this to protect your hands from a fussy hen.
- Get your hen to leave the nest repeatedly. If you don’t want to crate her, offering her treats to go out of her nesting area several times a day may be a better option.
- Dunk your hen in cold water. Cold baths allegedly help hens get out of their broody behavior rapidly.
- Remove all nesting material. The less nesting materials they have, the less likely it is that your hen will continue to be broody. If you have multiple hens, watch out. You may have to remove multiple nests since broody hens might go so far as to steal other chickens’ nests.
- Remove access to the coop. If all else fails and you have a seriously broody hen, just bar the hen’s entry to the coop for a day or two. This will break the broody spell fast.
In some cases, broodiness can be a battle of wills between you and the hen. Keeping your routine consistent will help keep your hen happier and quieter.
Notes About Turning Off Broody Hens
If you’re worried about interfering with your hen’s instincts, don’t be. This process doesn’t hurt your hen, nor does it hurt her ability to reproduce later on. All it does is reduce the amount of hormones they’re dealing with temporarily.
How To Train Chickens To Be Quiet
Chickens aren’t really known for their quiet demeanor, but it is possible to train them to be less noisy. With broody hens, that training can make the difference between a screamer and a regular hen. Here’s how you can curb that clucking quickly:
- Use a water bottle to spray your chickens when they scream. Squirt bottles work with dogs, but they also work well with chickens. When they start to get too noisy, a squirt bottle will stop that behavior immediately.
- Tougher chickens might do better with a garden hose. Larger splashes will ruffle their feathers into being quiet.
At the end of the day, a little prevention can help your chickens deal with a quieter brooding period!