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Unraveling the Mystery of a Hen’s Egg Song

Crowing Hen

If you’ve spent much time around chickens, you’ve probably noticed that these birds can be surprisingly vocal creatures. Roosters may have earned a reputation for crowing at sunrise, but you can often hear hens clucking and squawking to one another as well. In fact, recent research suggests that chickens are capable of making as many as 30 distinct vocalizations. Gentle peeps and trills often convey contentment, for example, while other louder calls are used to warn the flock of impending danger.

One particularly common vocalization that you may have heard from your hens is the egg song.

Don’t let the term “song” fool you. This vocalization is a loud, staccato series of squawks that hens let loose after laying an egg. Some hens will even join in on the egg song after one of their flock mates lays an egg. Although the egg song is one of the most well-recognized chicken vocalizations, its purpose remains somewhat mysterious.

Some people think that hens use egg songs to express their pride (and possibly relief) in the eggs they lay. Although this is one possible explanation, it could simply be the result of flock owners anthropomorphizing their chickens. Do hens really take pride in their egg-laying efforts, or are we just projecting our own thoughts and feelings onto them?

Another more likely explanation suggests that hens use their egg song to draw attention to themselves and away from their eggs. Because they represent a new generation in the flock, it makes sense that hens would go to great lengths to protect their eggs from predators, even if it means sacrificing their own well-being in the process.

Do you have hens that like to make these loud vocalizations after laying their eggs? Share your favorite egg song stories with us in the comments!

And that’s today’s news from the Cackle Coop.

Crowing Hen

4 thoughts on “Unraveling the Mystery of a Hen’s Egg Song

  1. I Gave read that it is actually a “request for escort” The hen, having laid her egg away from the flock, is calling for the flock protector (rooster in most cases), to come and escort her back to the flock safely.

  2. We appreciate how much our hens sound like human speech, and wonder how many human words came into being from listen to the sounds of animals. When a hen lays, it sounds like, “I laid an egg, I laid an egg…”

    In response to C. Rose- According to the Bible, only human childbirth hurts. Genesis 3:16 (NRSV) To the woman he said,

    “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children,
    yet your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

  3. My hens seem to vocalize loudly and continually, sometimes for over an hour and I think they are trying to get a hen to leave a particular nest box so the vocal hen can have that nest.

  4. I simply thought it was because it hurt! I mean really it’s child birth, right?

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