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?

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


The device that allows you to bottle feed and use your phone at the same time

"It dawned on me that I could do some catch-up work while he fed, but I needed something to help me hold a bottle and my smartphone."

Mum posts photo of c-section scar to prove she gave birth

A new mum angered by people suggesting women who deliver their babies via caesarean section have not "given birth" has challenged that misconception by sharing a photograph of her scar.

Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcome daughter

Actress Olivia Wilde and her fiance Jason Sudeikis are parents again.

Nurse cuts off part of newborn's finger

A newborn baby is without the tip of one finger after a nurse accidentally cut it off with scissors.

See the new Thomas & Friends clothing range for girls

It's a long overdue move for kids and parents alike.

Finally, someone's come up with a way to stop doona thieves

If you've ever shared a bed with a dyed-in-the-wool doona stealer you'll know how frustrating it can be.

Family rituals to make mealtimes easier: mums share their tips

Special rituals, as well as favourite cutlery and plates, can make dinner times less challenging and a lot more fun!

Toddler pours entire bag of dog biscuits down the toilet

Most mums of toddlers have a funny horror story about the time they turned their back for 30 seconds only to find mayhem on their return.

Surgeons successfully separate 13-month-old twins conjoined at head

Surgeons at a New York City hospital have separated a pair of 13-month-old boys who were congenitally joined at the head, completing a rare operation that carried a risk of death and severe brain damage, their mother said.

'Do I call the parents or an exorcist?'

Babies can sometimes get themselves into unusual positions while sleeping, but this youngster has the makings of an acrobat.

The complicated grief of losing your babies

In the park near our house my partner and I have a bench. We paid to have it put there last year after our twin boys Fred and John died.

How the way you’re born and fed can affect your immune system

Vaginal or caesarean, bottle- or breastfed: it all influences our gut microbes and future health.

Depression made me a crummy friend - but I'm working on it

Getting well and falling in love with my son has brought a feeling words simply can't describe. But I didn't expect it to be a little heartbreaking, too.

Mountain Buggy Bagrider makes travel so much easier with baby

Haven't we all needed more hands when travelling with babies and toddlers?

'I look like a troll!': mum shares postpartum hair regrowth woes

Rather than hiding her postpartum hair regrowth, author Giovana Fletcher has photographed and shared it.

A police officer saved a baby's life, forever changing his own

With his bald head, light goatee and bulging arms covered in dark tattoos, Officer Kenneth Knox is an imposing figure.

The tandem breastfeeding photo that got a mum's Facebook account shut down

A mother of six from the US claims that Facebook disabled her account because she posted a photograph of herself tandem breastfeeding a stranger's baby along with her own.


Top 5 Articles


What's hot on EB

What pregnancy is really like: mums share their honest opinions

We asked real women what surprised them during their pregnancy. They've shared their experiences in the hope of preparing the rest of us better for the ride

A breastfeeding emoji may be on its way

It's how many new mums spend much of their time, so it makes sense that a breastfeeding emoji is being considered for inclusion in the next round of updates.

10 things to consider before trying for a baby

Here are a few things for you and your partner to discuss as you start trying for a bub of your own.


Vintage Toys

The toys of your childhood

Take a trip down memory lane with these vinage and retro toys that you may have had in your childhood or your parent's childhood.

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.