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Beantree

Strange noises from the hen house?

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We have three Marans, now 20 months old. The top hen Miranda is a Copper/Black. Last year she went broody, moulted and then started laying again. She stopped laying for no apparent reason 5 weeks ago, despite the fact that the other two laid up to Christmas. For the last few weeks early morning we have heard strange noises from the direction of their coop. Getting closer the noise sounded like a cockerel trying to crow. This noise stopped when they were let out so we didn't know who was making it and it was only this morning that Miranda came out, stood upright and let out that 'strangled' multi-stage 'crow'.

 

There is no sign that she is turning into a cock, which I know can happen due to damage to the ovary. Her comb remains the same size, she has no spurs growing, she isn't trying to tread the other hens and she is no more aggressive than previously; she is quite timid in fact. However she is apparently trying to crow and still isn't laying.

 

Anyone any idea what is going on? Is she simply trying to mimic the other 6 cocks in the coops around her? Or is she going to suddenly change into a cock? Has anyone else had a hen making noises like this?

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Wowzers beantree, I don't think I have ever seen you ask a question...in fact I'm sure we all wait your you, the Dogmother and the Mods to respond to all our questions as you are all so knowledgeable.

I have heard of this before but that usually precedes the growing of Spurs etc and she has laid so is definitely a she.... :shock:

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Is she eating. Have you checked her crop. I had a bantam doing a similar thing the other day. Then she died suddenly in the night. Her crop was empty, but everything else looked fine. She wasn't skinny. She didn't have a comb because she was a silkie cross. Hope your girl is ok

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Well, they can't actually change sex, but if the functioning ovary is damaged, they may develop the secondary sexual characteristics of the male. It can also a dominance thing. Top hen can often make a stab at crowing and demonstrate male behaviours to show everyone who is boss.

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Well, they can't actually change sex, but if the functioning ovary is damaged, they may develop the secondary sexual characteristics of the male. It can also a dominance thing. Top hen can often make a stab at crowing and demonstrate male behaviours to show everyone who is boss.

Just what I was going to say.

 

What about running the three of them with one of the cockerels for a few weeks?

I guess he will be dominant so stop her crowing and it may kick start her hormones back into laying again.

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Sorry for my late reply. We've had some big problems with the internet connection which are set to continue for the next two months, so posting is restricted to use of a local WiFi connection on weekly shopping days.

 

Practical Poultry had the same question asked and the reply was the usual hormonal issues as mentioned.

 

We now know what is happening in our case. Having putting an awful amount of effort into getting the welfare as near perfect as possible what we are simply seeing 'natural behaviour'. The Marans didn't crow again and laid an egg two days after, so that may have been hormonal. Then a Buff Orpington top hen started crowing and continued for several weeks. She was laying all that time but just seemed to enjoy crowing. When she was taken out of the enclosure (another digestive disorder and she crowed in the house) the second order hen outside started crowing, so just took over as current top hen. She stopped when the proper top hen returned.

 

Now we have a Leghorn top hen crowing. The difference is she is with a cock so only crows in the darkness of the coop.

 

So nothing to worry about then! We're happy they are all so happy.

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All well thanks Grandmashazzie, but the loss of internet is a real pain, especially as all the house bills and bank accounts rely on it!

 

Well the Orpington started crowing again a few days ago and just kept going. I took the video camera down to the enclosure with the intention of putting her on YouTube, but she went camera shy and stopped. She hasn't crowed again but perhaps she will start again. In the meantime she continues to lay most days.

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