My flock consists of a bantam cochin rooster, a black cochin-barred rock mix hen (the lead hen), and eight buff orpington hens. I also have three bantam hens that live in the chicken run to keep them safe from hungry hawks and fat cats. In the run, there are two bantam cochin hens who are sitting on eggs, and a d’Uccle hen who I’m sure is feeling abandoned and lonely, so I’ve been let her out to free range with the big chickens the last couple days.
This morning I hear a gurgly attempt at a crow coming from the chicken run, where the bantams hens live. The bantam roo lives with the big hens, who all sleep in the coop at night to muffles the roo’s crows. (He’s fluffy enough to give the appearance of being a big chicken.) The crow I heard was definitely coming from the run.
As soon as I got to the computer, I looked up “hen crowing” and found some interesting information. It seems that a the dominant hen in a flock with no rooster will occasionally take on the responsibilities of a rooster – protecting the flock, crowing, and sometimes even mounting the other hens as if to breed.
Did you notice that part about “a flock with no rooster”?
It also seems to be rather common that a hen at the bottom of the pecking order will crow… in a flock with no rooster.
So I have a little hen at the bottom of the pecking order who has decided she wants to crow, even with her rooster being more than happy to breed with her. I think my little dingbat is confused.
Another week has passed and Speckle didn’t crow again till Sunday morning – after she had been out with the big chickens most of the day on Saturday. So it looks like the solution is limiting her time with the flock… but why? Her voice is low enough that the neighbors probably can’t hear her, so the issue is more that I feel bad for her. It makes me think she’s missing something in her life. Honestly, I should stop applying human emotions to my chickens and just let her enjoy a good crow now and then.