There are many sounds that evoke life on the farm, but none so recognizable as the early morning crow of a rooster. Most of us tend to associate this sound with the start of the day, but chicken keepers soon come to learn that roosters can also crow outside of sunrise hours and for all sorts of reasons too.
Roosters will typically crow at or before dawn due to their internal circadian rhythms responding to sunlight, but they can also crow to announce their territory to rival roosters in the area, after mating and egg-laying has occurred, and can sometimes crow during the night if they sense a nearby danger.
If you’re an absolute beginner at raising chickens or wish to learn a bit more about rooster behavior before raising them, check out our answers to some of the most common queries below. We’ll look into the ins and outs of crowing behavior, whether hens can crow with the same ferocity and more.
Why Do Roosters Crow Before Sunrise?
Roosters will often crow just before sunrise because they have an internal circadian rhythm (the biochemical ‘clock’ that syncs up to solar time) that is slightly shorter than our 24 hour cycle.
A 2013 study into the timing of rooster crowing found that roosters have a rhythm clock set at 23.8 hours, meaning that many roosters tend to crow just before dawn’s early light.
What Does It Mean When a Rooster Crows?
Roosters aren’t simply quirky alarm clocks, their crows are a territorial announcement and they are purposefully ear-splittingly loud to establish their dominion to as wide a radius of nearby roosters and hens as possible.
Before sunrise, their crowing signals their advantage to a head start on the daily food hunt, whilst crowing later in the day can be due to pride and testosterone following mating or egg-laying to announce their fertility to competitor roosters. They can also crow to warn trespassing roosters off their hen, chicks, or in response to a perceived danger.
What Time Do Roosters Crow?
Many roosters tend to crow before or close to sunrise, which could mean anytime between 4 and 7 am depending on the season. Though this is their common crowing time, they can also be heard crowing in the afternoon and evening as aforementioned to defend their territory or alert others to threats, such as a fox or violent, competing rooster.
How Long Do Roosters Crow?
Roosters can crow around 12-15 times a day or more on average and each crowing session may last anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, according to keepers at the Backyard Chickens forum.
How Loud is a Rooster’s Crow?
On average rooster crows typically measure around 90 decibels which is equivalent to a dog’s bark, although some especially loud roosters have been known to reach an astounding measurement of 140 decibels which is equivalent to standing near a jet engine!
Do All (Breeds) Roosters Crow?
Every chicken breed will crow to some degree as it is in their nature, but some can seem quiet due to being late bloomers. A breed known to crow less frequently than other roosters is the English ‘Lavender Orpington’ chicken.
What Age Do Roosters Crow?
It can vary from bird to bird, but most roosters will generally begin crowing between the age of 4-5 months, around the time they reach sexual maturity. As roosters age, the crowing fortunately tends to decrease as their testosterone levels calm down!
Can Roosters Hear Themselves Crow?
Luckily not as clearly as we hear them or they would be deaf! In an interesting study into the impact of their crowing, researchers used tomography scans to create a 3-D x-ray of their skull which revealed that during the act of crowing “a quarter of a rooster’s ear canal completely closes and soft tissue covers 50% of their eardrum”, protecting them from the full strength of their crow.
If You Have Two Roosters Will They Both Crow?
Yes, one rooster’s crow will usually spur on another and they will both crow at the same time, though one may crow more frequently throughout the day depending on their age and dominant status on the farm.
Is It Normal for Roosters to Crow at Night?
As diurnal birds, roosters will normally be sleeping throughout the night, but they will occasionally crow after dark if they are ill, feel stressed or sense the threat of a nearby predator. Besides sensing a fox, dog, or another predator near the chicken coup, roosters can get spooked and crow in response to the start of a tractor or car engine at night or the beams of a car headlight, etc.
Do Roosters Crow for Attention?
Occasionally, yes. Roosters are intelligent birds and may crow as a cry for attention due to feeling bored and restless in their current surroundings. Fortunately, you can keep boredom at bay and reduce their crowing frequency by making changes to their environment now and then.
Make an effort to change the scenery in their coup every few months by rotating their bedding or changing their feed. You can also introduce some new toys and feeder apparatus into their coup or add some new cubby holes and ladders to give them new ways to explore.
Do Pet Roosters Crow?
Yes, all roosters crow to signal their dominance to nearby roosters, regardless of how they are raised on your farm or homestead. If crowing becomes a nuisance in your pet, you can manage things with the help of a rooster collar, reducing boredom as above-mentioned, and staying on top of his food supply and daily needs.
Can Hens Crow Like a Rooster?
While hens don’t crow with the same volume and tenacity of roosters, they can occasionally produce loud screams and cackling sounds, though these are less to do with marking their territory at sunrise and more to do with protecting her chicks i.e. screeching in alarm to send them into a safe hiding place from predators.