Yes, everyone knows that Roosters crow and that it is suppose to mean that the sun is cresting the horizon. However, Roosters crow all day and sometimes all night. Find out more about their crow in my post “A Roosters Crow”.
What you may not know is that chickens are talkative in other ways during the day. It is said that they have 30 different vocalizations.
The rooster is a bird with a lot to say. They have several different noises that they make and each has its own meaning. Having them in the garden with me and having SO many roosters, I now know a little Rooster Speak. Oh yes, when I hear a certain sound, I immediately scan the sky for a predator, or check the area for a threat. I know when a hen makes a certain sound to expect to hear her rooster crow soon after. With each sound a chicken or rooster makes you can expect an action or reaction. Chickens keep things lively in the garden, with their sounds and constant entertainment!
If you are a hen, you listen to the sounds of the rooster; the sounds are all meant for you. Because the mighty, mighty rooster is looking out for you at all times, you put up with his loud and noisy crow, his bossiness and his need to pull your feathers. After all the guy is not just a pretty face he will risk his life to save you, so you appreciate him for all the sweet and good things he does and forgive him for the rest.
If you are hen, like “Cheeks” my Araucana, who is a huge busy body and tends to wonder around not paying attention to where she is until she looks up and finds her self all alone, you appreciate your rooster.
When she finds herself lost, she puts out a cry of worry so that her Rooster will crow and let her know where he and the other hens are. Oh yes, its true. When a hen is worried, stressed, complaining about having to lay an egg and or finds herself away from the group, she lets out a stressful squawk over and over. (It’s a bit of an annoying sound) The Rooster who is her protector starts to crow so that she can come and find him. If he is really worried he will run to where she is and escort her back to the group. What a gentleman!
When a roster makes a loud, deep and abrupt “oo oo” sound that means danger, aerial threat. If the “oo-oo” is a subtle sound, everyone stops lifts his or her heads and scans the sky at once. If the “oo-oo” sound is strong, those hens run for the nearest cover, bushes, trees, under the peppers in the garden, whatever is the closest, they don’t look around they just run! The rooster follows, but he constantly scans the sky and his hens, constantly protecting his ladies. What a warrior!
The big guy also loves to feed the ladies. Always the provider, if he finds a juicy bug or a seed on the ground he never eats it himself, but wants his ladies to have it. He makes a high pitch excited “coo” sound that alerts the hen that he has found something and they come a runnin’. Now here is the thing about our tricky rooster, sometimes, he makes this sound when he really hasn’t found anything, but he knows his hens will come to his side. Occasionally I think this is just to keep them close if he feels they are too far away, but more often than not, it’s a trick, because when the hen comes running she immediately puts her head down to find the morsel. This leaves her rump in the air, and guesses what, the rooster takes advantage and jumps on the hens back, grabs the feathers on her head to hold on and gets himself a little nooky. What a Sneaky Rooster!
Something else that the Rooster does, that makes me as a woman roll my eyes, is his “wing down management”, as I like to call it. A rooster has a deep-seated need to boss the hens around. He tries his damnedest to tell them where they can and can’t go. He does this by walking up sideways to a hen, lowering his wing on the outside until it faces the ground and does a little shuffle along the hen trying to push her where he wants her to go. Now when he does this I think “bossy rooster”, but I usually end up laughing because I haven’t seen a hen yet who listens. She sometimes runs away, some like my barred rock face him straight on and let him know, “no way, no how”, but mostly they just ignore him. Now I know I shouldn’t laugh at the poor guy, but I think of the times when the men in my life get a little bossy and well, I think all women have reacted like each of my hens once or twice! 🙂 What a Bossy Rooster!
As evening falls and its time to go to bed, the rooster’s job is not done. Depending on the number of ladies in his care it can be quite tiresome to get them to bed. He usually heads into the coop first to see that all is well and no threats are in the coop and of course to be their leader. He waits to see if his ladies follow, more often then not, some won’t. So he has to head back out and try and shuffle them in, they usually ignore him. He eventually tires of trying to coax them into bed and heads back in the coop to lead by example and to wait and see if they follow. Of course they do they just choose to do it when it suits them. Not always but occasionally as they get on the roosting bars to settle in for the night, squabbles break out (that many woman that close together what do you expect?) He inserts himself in the middle to sooth the ladies, which usually doesn’t work, they just fight over top of him or hens move to different spots. But I give him an “A” for effort. What a Peacemaker!
So know you know, the Rooster is a diverse fellow whose job is never done, and he has to wear many different hats throughout his day.
Gentleman, Warrior, Provider, Lover, Boss, Mediator and Caregiver. All in all a loud, but good guy to have on your side!