Jump to content

Noisy Chooks - HELP!

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 Gumnut82

Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:12 AM

Calling all chook lovers... I need some advice.

We have 6 hens. 3 ISAs, who we never heard a peep out of. Earlier this year we added in 3 purebreds (2 Australorps and 1 RIR) and got them successfully integrated. The problem is, the purebreds like to YELL early some mornings, for generally no apparent reason. As early as 5am they wake me up (coop is only a few m from our bedroom window) - sometimes only one, sometimes two or three of them making as much noise as they can. Whilst the ISAs do join in occasionally they are never the ringleaders and always much quieter. I can't just ignore it/get back to sleep and I'm always worried about the noise waking the neighbours (we're in suburbia - it's a miracle we haven't had a dozen council complaints by now), so I go running out to see what's wrong. On rare occasions they might be out of feed/water/grit (all have dispensing systems), but generally there seems to be no reason whatsoever for the noises. It's not their egg song or anything. They are just strutting back and forth in the run yelling. No local birds harrassing them, no other cause for complaint that I can see. This morning they still had half a cabbage and a bunch of veggie garden delights to pick through (as well as their grain etc) and were still fussing. If I shush them and tell them to be quiet they eventually do settle down, but as soon as I'm back inside and tucked into bed they almost always start right back up again.
I think getting rid of the purebreds would at least vastly improve the situation. I'm already composing Gumtree ads in my head ("Three energetic and social purebred chickens available...") but DH loves the purebreds and doesn't want to get rid of them unless there really is no alternative. I'm going crazy. It's me that ends up running out to deal with the noise every morning (DH is somewhat underdressed and also deafer than me), and then I have to be up less than an hour later for work. We have a DD due end of January and I know that given how poorly I'm already coping with the relentless noise (I am the crazy lady in her pyjamas swearing at chickens at 5.30am) it's only going to get worse when I'm sleep deprived and worrying about a newborn's sleeping habits as well as my own.

Any tips for getting chooks to shut up???

Some limitations:

- I sometimes resort to tossing some grain mix in there, which distracts them, but I don't want to encourage them to make noise with that expectation. Plus I would still have to get out of bed to do that every morning! (We have looked into automatic dispensers, not sure if that would help though?)
- Due to the design of the coop/run, there is no way to keep them contained in a darkened space for longer. The coop sits above the enclosed run and they have a ramp to get down. The bottom of the coop is open slats so light gets in from underneath. I've thought long and hard but can't find any way of easily blocking off their access to the run/light, due to the design. The whole run is too big (4.8m long) to black out.
- We have thought about rigging the coop door to open at sunrise so they can free range in the backyard but they trash the garden when they're allowed out too long, and 6 chickens leave a lot of droppings all over the lawn. Also, they're still making noise while free ranging right now!
- Moving the coop further away from our bedroom isn't an option, as there's nowhere else in the yard it would fit while still being the right distance away from fences.

Please help!!

#2 mumma_ox

Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:26 AM

This is a tough one!  Our girls are parked well away from our bedroom window and I am usually woken up by our dog running over to their pen barking like a loon and thinking he can intervene in the hen politics.

I'd definitely say for now to stop giving them the grains as a last resort - this will form a habit that will be very hard to break.

Have you checked out any of Jackie French's books or materials online - she is a bit of a chook whisperer and I am sure she would have some valuable insights.

Personally, I haven't found my chooks particularly responsive to disciplinary action wink.gif

#3 FiveAus

Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:36 AM

Is there a cat hanging around that you can't see?

I love chooks and love the noises they make but yeah, not in the early hours. Mine used to fuss a bit if the neighbours cat was on the prowl.

#4 Gumnut82

Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:31 AM

Thank you both for the feedback!

Mumma_Ox - I agree with you about the grains, I definitely don't want to encourage that habit. I'm not sure whether or not me going out to shush them is helping anything, or if it teaches them they have effectively gained my attention and might get something...? I really struggle to stay in bed and just ignore the noise, though! Drives me crazy worrying about neighbours.
I haven't heard of Jackie French but I'll look her up now! Oh, and for the dog thing... I kinda wish my dogs would a least make an effort! They just give me a lazy look and hop up to steal my spot on the bed when I go to see what's happening outside!

FiveAus - I don't think there would be a cat (our dogs have pretty strong feline-radar), but I have wondered about mice/rats which we have had problems with in the garage and yard before. No evidence of anything lately and I never see anything in the mornings, but it's a possibility...

#5 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

Cover the cage so its darker. 5:00am is first light here, and the noise from the birds is just amazing.

#6 woodelf

Posted 01 December 2012 - 07:46 AM

Throw some of the lovely corn on the bottom of the coop when you lock them up at night.  They will get a lovely surprise in the morning.

I did see one episode of Better homes and Gardens where Dr Harry gives the chickens a polystyrene box.  Apparently its not harmful, but they love to peck at it and relieves some boredom.  Maybe throw one of those in there for the morning for them to peck it.

IMaybe there is a snake passing by at that time of the morning?

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


How a raisin can predict a toddler's IQ

All you need to assess a child's future intelligence is a plastic cup and a raisin, according to new research.

Kate Walsh: 'I can't have kids'

Grey's Anatomy star Kate Walsh has revealed she is unable to have children because she has experienced early menopause.

The parasite that could boost fertility

The Tsimane women of Bolivia are often revered as among the most fertile in the world - on average having 10 children in their lifetimes -- but some are even more fertile than others.

Family may sue cousin over genetics

A Melbourne couple is suing the Royal Children's Hospital for failing to diagnose a genetic disorder in their first child - an error they allege caused them to have another child with severe disabilities.

Strange things mums have done in labour

While most women in labour focus on the upcoming birth of their baby, some women do more interesting things.

Michael Clarke reveals baby's name

When Michael Clarke said he was wrapped around the finger of his little princess, he wasn't joking.

The logistics of breastfeeding twins

Our life is more or less divided into neat four hour parcels of time and it's hard to get much of anything done in the time between feeds.

How to stop people ruining Christmas

We can make a conscious effort about how we react to those curly Christmas day scenarios that can send us up the wall, or should we say chimney.

Lots of formula offers for desperate mum

The mum who was down to her last three tins of baby formula said she had received hundreds of calls and offers to send her formula.

Surviving breast cancer while pregnant

It was last thing Rebecca O'Donnell expected at 30 weeks' pregnant. One morning, while putting on her bra, she felt a pea-sized lump in her right breast.

Cot sheet brands for the nursery

With so many awesome cot sheet options these days, we thought we'd put together a list of go-to brands for you to seek out for your baby's bed.

The Bugaboo by Diesel Denim launch

Essential Baby attended the launch and it got messy!

Father's letter to Bataclan terrorists

A grieving father whose wife was killed in the attacks on the Bataclan Theatre last weekend has written an open letter to her killers.

Adele's new song to sing along to

Singer follows up success of Hello with new belting ballad When We Were Young.

Major retailers restrict formula sales

Coles and Woolworths have imposed tighter buying bans on baby formula amid a shortage blamed on Chinese consumers.

Three-year-old breaks family's news

If you are three-years-old and an only child, then news doesn't get much bigger than this.

Swapped babies stay with families

A boy and girl accidentally swapped on the day they were born will stay with the families who have raised them, a South African court has ruled.

How life is different with three kids

I knew having a third child would alter our lives, but it's had so many impacts - both tiny and enormous.


What's hot on EB

Win one of two ABC Shop prize packs in time for Christmas

What a boon it would be to have your toddler's Christmas gifts covered this year. We have two awesome ABC Shop prize packs to give away to two lucky winners.

Beautiful 'now and then' images of premature babies

They are stunning photos that the parents of these beautiful no doubt feared they may never see.

Physios warn pregnant women not to crunch like Michelle Bridges

Experts are urging pregnant women not to do exactly as Michelle Bridges does when exercising, or they risk developing rectus abdominus diastasis.

Penny-pinching supermarket shoppers switching in droves

Half of Australia thinks it can get cheaper groceries by switching supermarkets, and about one in four of us have already switched.

Baby breastfed by wrong mother after hospital mix up

A newborn baby has been breastfed by a stranger after a NSW hospital bungled the identities of two newborns, devastating one mother and potentially exposing the newborn to health risks.

Nurses invent skin to skin c-section drape

The determination of three US nurses to provide immediate skin to skin contact to mothers delivering their babies by caesarean section has led to the invention of a unique surgical drape.

Baby's first photo shoot features a special guest

You can always be sure of a few things not entirely going to plan during a newborn shoot – little accidents are almost par for the course – but this shoot was memorable for a whole other reason.

We are not the family you think we are, I promise

Kids have a way of presenting a completely inaccurate impression of you, as parents, and as a family.

The hidden harm of foetal alcohol syndrome disorder

Experts believe many children diagnosed with ADHD might actually have FASD and that the number of people suffering from the condition across the country could be as high as 500,000.

Anaesthetist facing charges after ignoring woman's pain during caesarean

An anaesthetist could be punished after telling a woman enduring an "excruciating" painful C-section that she was not actually in pain.

When your baby starts life in NICU

Our daughters are finally home after spending nearly four weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wellington hospital.

How to save for a deposit while renting

As hard as it sounds, it is possible to save money when you rent, and certain things can be done to build a deposit faster.

Medications pregnant women should take, avoid, and think about

There are actually very few medications that must be absolutely avoided during pregnancy.

Paid parental leave uncertainty a growing concern

Eight months out from the due date of the government's PPL cut, some expectant parents are facing an uncertain time.

7 commandments of using the internet as a parent

What you need is careful, objective and repeatable science. Not anecdotes or old wives' tales, but data.

A rethink on screen ban for kids under two

With new guidelines being developed, the discouragement of use below two years of age is being revised.

10 things I want my wife to know

It's on those crazy days that I must remember to stop and let her know some things she needs to hear.

Better education about SIDS needed as deaths plateau

The number of sudden and unexpected deaths in infancy has decreased in NSW for the past 15 years but the most recent report into child deaths reveals the decline has plateaued.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.