web analytics

Chicken talk

That’s my best boy Mo, doing the doodle-doo.

In the thread below, tomfrompv linked to this interesting article about chicken language. Any holdouts who think the noises chickens make aren’t intelligible speech…well, they don’t keep chickens. That’s all I can say.

The article says there are 25 recognisable ‘words’ in the chicken language, but the chickenology course I took made it 50. It’s a lot, anyway.

The “look, especially delicious food!” sound they describe as tuk-tuk I would say is more like chort! A good rooster makes that sound to call the hens over when he finds a rotten log covered in ants, f’rexample. My two pekin boys do it regularly, but the poland boys never. Sam has been known to make the sound when there’s no interesting food there at all, which I guess is some kind of performance anxiety. The hens come running, anyhow.

Sometimes a hen will accidentally chort! over a treat, and then look around furtively hoping nobody noticed. Hens are greedy.

I heard on Radio 4 once (and you know it’s true because Radio 4) that chickens are the only animal we know of that has a word for you, their owner, which they teach to any new chickens coming in. The word for me is buh-BAH-buhbuhbuh. They do it when they catch sight of me. I was annoyed to find they do it for Uncle B, too, so it’s just their generic word for ‘person’. Boo. Don’t they know I am their deity?

The egg song is famous, though my poland girls don’t sing it. Or make that contented meeping sound through their noses while they peck around in the garden. Always sounded like monkey noises to me. The polands aren’t nearly as vocal.

Except for Po the poland cockerel, who makes the most extraordinary trills and squeaks and whistles for no apparent reason. Sam the pekin makes a sort of purring noise when he’s frustrated. It’s actually the chicken version of vocal fry. Sam also whimpers when I put him away, which makes me feel awful.

As for the cock-a-doodle-doo, let’s not go there. I have four of the buggers at it right this minute. I’m the most popular girl in all the land.


Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: May 4, 2021, 8:46 pm

Animal language, body language, and behavior are topics of great interest to me. Thanks for the post.

Here is a YouTube video of the owner of a flock of chickens giving the ‘Hawk’ warning sending the flock running for cover.

Comment from weasel again
Time: May 5, 2021, 9:47 am

I must correct the record. I threw corn out for the lot yesterday, and Po went chort. Po is an extraordinarily vocal chicken.

Comment from blake
Time: May 5, 2021, 6:47 pm

With all this rooster talk, I’d swear you were coming on to me.

(Which is a joke that only makes sense if you ever interacted with me on Twitter @bitmaelstrom.)

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: May 5, 2021, 7:58 pm

Sure, now you’ll come up with an article that makes me get sappy over bacon going into the pan.


Comment from BullDawgGuy
Time: May 7, 2021, 1:03 am

Love your posts about the chickens. Ours come running when they see us because they want meal worms. (this is like a big juicy steak to them)
And when they are kept in the coop too long they let us know its time to be let out to roam. For some reason they like the front of the back yard versus the back of the back yard. Maybe its because we always let them roam in the back of the back yard.
Also there is a saying that they don’t have the sense to come out of the rain. not true. Ours will huddle under my porch walkway unless they are trying to find food.

Thanks for the post.

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny