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Pain in the bum chickens

Posted by on Wednesday 20 April 2011 in chickens | 8 comments

One of our hens, Ginger, is broody.

She’s the first one of ours to give in to her hormones and is being a grumpy lady at the moment.

By and large, I’m letting her get on with it – I tried to talk her out of it on the first day but she wasn’t interested in my efforts to cool down her undercarriage. Since then, I’ve just been randomly turfing/encouraging her out of the nest box a couple of times a day to make sure she’s amply fed and watered.

She’s not really the problem at the moment though. The good lady Buff is.

Yes, you Buff.

As I noted when I was worried she might think she was a boy, she’s considerably louder than all the others. The others buck-buck a lot and sometimes announce they’ve laid but Buff randomly makes a sustained noise that is a cross between a quack and a honk. It’s *annoying* and loud. At first, I thought she only did it when she was annoyed with me – if I’d got too close or tried to douse her with red mite powder – but yesterday lunchtime, there wasn’t anyone near the coop and she was quack/honking (quonking?) away for ages. It’s not constant but it’s sustained for a good 30seconds/minute at a time.

While we’ve all been shut inside behind double glazing, it’s not really been a problem but now the weather is glorious and we’re all out on the patio at every opportunity, I’m worried it’ll annoy the neighbours. They’re pretty easy going generally and we get along, so I doubt it’ll annoy them so much that they’ll say anything – but it’s the lower level of annoyance I’m worried about. The niggling annoyance trickle which ends up considerable bigger than the sum of its parts. I’m worried that noisy girl Buff is going to ruin it for the rest of them (and us) so I’m considering proactively giving her away – to someone with a coop further from their house/neighbours, on an allotment or, frankly, someone who doesn’t care what their neighbours think ;)

She’s a pretty girl, a pure bred Leghorn and now that she’s laying, she does an alright trade in pure white eggs – never the largest but a decent size, and about two every three days or so. Even though she’s not the friendliest bird in the world, she doesn’t bully the others by any means so she would be an asset rather than just another mouth to feed. She’s just a bit noisy.

I do worry that I’m not dealing with a problem, just getting rid of it, which isn’t great behaviour on my part. And I also worry that this situation could have been avoided with greater forethought – I should have thought about the noise factor before getting chicken (although, to be fair, it is only Buff making the problem. When we first got the ISA Browns, our immediate next door neighbour actually commented about how quiet they were and how he hadn’t heard them make any noise at all – unlike the couple of chickens who had previously lived next door on the other side). But on the other hand, it seems better to be proactive about it to save problems in the future.

What would you do? Any chicken people been in a similar position before?


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  1. john b

    for the broody, if you want her to stop being broody you can try dunking her bum first into cold water. It’s supposed to work but i’ve never tried it. we have two broodies at the mo both of which are sat on eggs. as for the noisy one we have a couple that go on a lot and have yet to find a solution/reason for it, i think they’re just that way out. they’re also the ones that try to eat my trousers when i go to feed them.

    • louisa

      Hi John :)

      The water thing is how I tried to “talk her out of it” on the first day. She didn’t seem bothered by the dunking but equally it did nothing to quell her motherly desires.

      I always said that I’d get some hatching eggs when we got a broody girl to make the most of it – but we haven’t really got room for them if they hatched now so I guess I’ll have to wait until there is more room at the inn.

      Your trousers do look mighty tasty.

  2. Nikki

    I have the same issue with my Buff Leghorn. She’ll just squawk on for ages, and none of my others really do that. I don’t think it is much of a problem during the day, but I get up early for work and let her out about 6.30 am and I am really worried that the neighbours will complain about the noise she makes then. I’d really miss her if we had to give her away. Let me know if you find a less drastic solution.

  3. bookstorebabe

    Ask your neighbors if it’s bothering them, and tell then to be honest.You may be very well surprised to find that they don’t mind. And if they do, it’ll be a relief for them to be able to politely say so, instead of being quietly irritated.
    I live in a crowded residential area, and people are allowed to keep a certain number of chickens, although few do. Well, the folks 2 houses down from me do. I discovered just where the noise was coming from once it warmed up enough to work outside-I could look over the fences and there they were, at least 6 or 8 in their back yard.
    They have a rooster. And it crows day and night, at all hours. I could complain, but I don’t know them. I don’t want to start anything, or be the complaining neighbor. And they’re probably within city regulations as to how many chickens they can keep, so I suspect I’d just be met with a refusal. Plus, summer will be here soon, which means I’ll have to run the window air conditioners, and that will muffle the noise anyway.
    Now, just squawking chickens I don’t mind at all-indeed, I rather approve of anyone aiming to be more self sufficient, garden and eggs and all. It’s just the all hours day and night rooster crowing. Funny, my parents raised chickens, and had quite the egg business when I was small! But we were in a rural area.
    Sigh….I hope you can keep Buff, really I do, but I can see both sides. Best of luck.

  4. Linda

    Most by-laws do not allow roosters due to the noise factor. If there is a rooster nearby often the dominant hen will flirt like crazy to try and get the rooster to join and protect the flock.
    We have had to cull one hen due to it thinking it was a rooster and waking us at 5am for a week.
    Some of our neighbours are ex-farmers and like the occasional chicken noises -maybe it’s not all bad?

  5. Claire

    I second the previous commenter… Ask your neighbor :-)

  6. Hazel

    I’d second (third?) asking your neighbours as you get on with them. You might find they’re less conscious of it than you.

    I also agree that as far as councils are concerned, as long as you aren’t breaking any bye-law or covenants by keeping chickens, it’s cockerels that are generally seen as anti-social.

    If you feel she is still a problem, I’m sure you could find somebody in a less built up area who would gladly take her. I don’t think that would be passing the buck in any way. Chickens and the noise they make, are unpredictable. Some breeds probably have a reputation for being noisier than others, but you can’t always second guess which will be loud.

    I hope it works out for you and Buff.

  7. louisa

    Right, looks like you’ve all bullied me into it – I’ll talk to our neighbours :) I’ll try to come up with a way to ask them that doesn’t sound like they have to say it’s fine when it’s not – I’d like their honest opinions on it because I don’t want any resentment building up.

    I do think I’m probably overly conscious of it – because I don’t want the sounds bugging other people and am also tuned into their squawks because I care for their well being.

    I’ll feed back what they say :)

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