The Hen that Crows

This is Stella. She came from a large flock of Australorp chickens and settled in nicely to the routine here. Her and Penny – our dominant hen, get on just fine and you could be mistaken for Stella being the dominant hen, only Penny has her pecking way with her now and then. All in all Stella takes it well. Almost as though she knows that she is the Queen of the Coop. She is after all slightly bigger than Penny.

A few months back Stella started to make loud, almost wheezing type calls. She would do one or two, then a couple in quick succession, then belt out a kind of crow. That was fine.
The only problem is that she got better and better. This morning however took the cake. At precisely 5am from the bottom of the yard in the stillness and quiet of the morning came a series of very loud, very clear crows. No build up that I heard. Just well rehearsed and straight into it. This persisted long enough for me to get dressed and get down there to tell her myself to “shut up, it’s very early and your not even a bloody rooster. What has got into you?”.
All was well with a bit of feed and attention. But there was no returning to sleep. I looked on the net but couldn’t find a great deal about crowing hens. And Stella is a hen. She lays eggs. Nice big white ones. Regularly.
It’s all a bit weird. Maybe she is calling to the rooster that can be heard down in the valley. Maybe she has learned that it is what it takes to get a bit of attention and extra feed. Without daylight saving it’s bright as day now at 5am. So she’s probably been up since 4am! Which could be the problem.
At the moment she has me ’round her feathers. After reading an Urban Chickens post I will try locking them in the coop for a little longer so that they don’t wake so early. At the moment they have the freedom to come out into the straw-yard when they want. It is worth a try.

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