Crowing Hen…How to Get Her to Stop!

Crowing Hen…How to Get Her to Stop!

A hen can crow like a rooster.  I am not making this up and it isn’t an old wives tale.  It doesn’t happen in a regular flock of chickens with a rooster present, but in small backyard flocks with just female chickens, although it is rare, it is not unheard of.  Yesterday, someone on Meet Up: Los Angeles Chicken Enthusiasts, was asking for advice on what she should do about her crowing hen.  I personally have had two different female chickens that have crowed so I had lots of advice to share.  When the first one started, I initially freaked out because I never heard of a hen being able to crow.  I tried to learn everything I could about why our hen was crowing and how to fix the behavior. 

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Why is a hen crowing?

Living really close to neighbors and in a city whose code reads “No Crowing Fowl…” not just “No Roosters Allowed” meant we could not just ignore the problem. Through the research I did, I learned that just because she crowed, it didn’t necessarily mean she had gone through some kind of spontaneous gender change.  However, there were some sources that said crowing hens probably have a tumor or damaged ovaries. That probably wasn’t the issue with either of our hens because each laid eggs just fine. 

In cases like ours, it is due to the flock situation.  A mature (and top of the pecking order) hen may take on the role of the rooster, protecting and leading, including making the customary sounds, albeit, not near as polished sounding like a male chicken. The sound a hen makes when she is crowing is not the same as an egg song, which can be loud, but sounds and looks nothing like crowing.  I have owned chickens long enough to tell the difference between an egg song and a crow, including who out of my chickens is singing without even looking.    My two different hens retained the ability to lay eggs, never got any kind of rooster plumage, and neither ever fertilized an egg, as far as we know. 

Crowing hen in backyard flock of chickens
Can a hen crow? Yes, this is my 2 1/2 year old Bantam Cochin, named Penguin, that likes to crow sometimes.

What did we try to stop the hen from crowing?

Early morning crowing is not okay in the suburbs.  We did as much as we could to get the hen to stop…

  • Reduce the hen’s dominance in a flock.  This was a drastic one, but it worked for our hens.  By sending my Penguin across the street to live in the other flock, she instantly was no longer top hen, and stopped crowed just as quickly.  I missed her, but I would go over and visit still.  Basically, if you find you have a crowing hen, look into giving her to someone else that already has an established flock.  However, please be fair and warn them a head of time why you are giving her away.
  • Give the hen a bath. Make sure it is warm enough day for her to dry off ourdoors okay. This is humiliating for the hen and can reduce the crowing for a day or two, but it is not a permanent fix. I also give baths to broody hens to get them to snap out of it. This was what we did with our first crowing hen.
  • Wait it out for a moult.  Some flock owners have reported that a moult fixes the problem.  Penguin went through an awful looking moult right after the relocation across the street.  From what I understand, the hormonal change that goes with moulting helps to correct it.

What worked best with our crowing hens?

  • The most effective way to stop our hen crowing was to put her in a plastic pet carrier * in the garage to sleep at night and returned her to the coop once we were confident the neighbors were probably up. Bringing the hen into the house would work too, but then she would wake up my hubby. That would be worse than waking the neighbors!
  • If you decide to put the hen in a pet carrier, I highly recommend using one that can be hosed out. The hen will be leaving droppings in it over night and cleaning it daily is a good idea. Keeping it clean prevents foot problems later on down the road. No one wants to deal with a Bumble Foot infection on top of crowing. Fabric carriers might take longer to dry out. These kinds of carriers are also helpful to isolate a sick or injured bird temporarily, or to transport cats and small dogs. I use one to keep my tortoise in during the winter. They work for more than just Hens that crow.
  • Limiting head room to stretch out their neck up HIGH in the pet carrier prevents them from crowing.  When a hen sings an egg song, she doesn’t need to stretch her neck.

Other Options:

There were additional things that other people suggested to us to get our hen to stop crowing, but we did not consider for either of our hens.

  • Have the Hen wear a Rooster No Crowing Collar *
  • Get a Rooster and the behavior in the hen will stop. Not a good option in an urban setting!
  • Make Chicken Dinner. Again, not really an option in an urban setting
  • Force her into a moult.


Penguin, the crowing hen, returned to Hanbury House with a tiny brood of silkie chicks at the end of summer.  Once she was done raising the young chicks, she retook her spot at the top of the flock.  I observed how she was acting with the other ladies in the flock, and I noticed she was slowly getting domineering with them once again. I am sure you can guess what happened last Sunday.  Yup.  Penguin started crowing again.  I had really hoped she wouldn’t crow anymore, but I kind of figured she might.  My flock of bantam Cochins are so docile, it is easy for Penguin to take over with her charming, outgoing personality.  Therefore, sending her away for a break was only a temporary fix.  She has only crowed twice lately, but it was enough to land her back in the garage every night in the pet carrier.


If you have had a crowing hen, please share your experience or tips in the comments section below.

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30 thoughts on “Crowing Hen…How to Get Her to Stop!

  1. I have a Buttercup hen who has decided to be a rooster . I have a rooster who runs when he sees her. The rooster isn’t crowing yet so I can’t decide who needs to go. Help!

    1. Hi Karen,

      If you are allowed to have roosters in your area, I would recommend patience. Try to manage the hen’s crowing temporarily. If the rooster is young and hasn’t come into his confidence or voice, he will, they always do. When the rooster is mature and starts to dominate, the hen will settle back to acting more like a hen. Also, when she molts she’ll go through a hormonal change and that will help reduce the behavior for awhile. If you aren’t allowed to keep roosters due to crowing you might have a hard time with either. Hens are a little less loud at crowing in comparison to roosters. If it was me, and I was gonna try and keep only one, I feel I would be better off with keeping the hen. Best wishes.

  2. Mine started at later age and i was afraid neighbors complain so I gave her for adoption. I couldn’t believe at later age she started crowing in the morning and afternoon

  3. Hello – Thank you for this post and your suggestions. Can I ask what size (roughly) pet carrier you used? I had two hens, and one passed away, and the remaining hen has started “crowing” early in the morning. Another thing I plan to try (which would only work for solitary hens), is to put out a fake garden bird (an owl) near her coop at night, and remove in the morning when everyone is up.

    1. Hi SP, The pet carrier I have is an older model from the early 1990s, like the kind that used to be used for airplane travel. I had a Maine coon cat that used it originally. It might be considered small or medium-sized. I could fit two large fowl chickens snuggly in it if I had to. I can fit all three of my current bantams in it if I had to in an emergency.

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      It similar in size and shape to this one sold at Amazon.

      Disclosure: I participate in Amazon’s affiliate program and get a small commission if a reader clicks the image and makes a purchase.

  4. Great minds think alike. I had a rooster named penguin that looked just like your penguin. (he was a mean little son of a gun) My sons hen Esmeralda crows from time to time. She is very dominant over his other 7 hens. He thinks she is a white cheeked black Spanish hen hence the name.

  5. Thank you for this information. I have 8 hens in my backyard, and my Americauna just started “crowing” lately. It’s funny to watch her- she makes 3 sounds while flapping her wings vigorously. It lasts for about half an hour. So interesting!

  6. I have a 5 year old Cochin splash hen… Lays lovely eggs… however I introduced 5 new hens, she got very aggressive. To the point I thought she might kill one of the the other girls. now in time-out so to speak in a smaller coop. Now she crows in the morning. When I feed her she stops crowing….???? Any suggestions?

    1. I wish I had a perfect solution to a crowing hen. But like people, chickens respond differently to different methods. Sadly, I gave up on Penguin. She eventually went to live in a flock with a rooster.

      Have you tried some of the coping methods recommended for roosters? How about a rooster collar?

      Did you try pinless peepers to reduce her field of vision, which might make it harder for her to be the top hen and pick on the other chickens.

      My first crowing hen used to get a pretty regular bath. I would return her to the coop soaking wet rather than blowing her dry. That seemed to humiliate her. It would take her three or four days to get back to crowing.

      Another extreme thing to try is a controversial cat training technique. Instead of a squirt bottle, I use a super soaker squirt gun. I use it for plain old noisey hens that gripe for long periods throughout the day. I would say sternly “no” from the house and give them a squirt. It only took a couple days for the hens to figure out that loud complaining cackle noises could result in a squirt if they didn’t stop after the “No.” I don’t like to use the squirt gun on them, and don’t very often, but now I can just say “No” from the back door and my girls listen and usually quiet down, no squirt gun needed. Maybe it could work for a crowing hen? I don’t remember doing it with Penguin so I can’t say if it works on crowers.

  7. My chicken broomhilda crows like a rooster every morning. She was a pair. But her sister met a unfriendly blackbirds. Now I got another chicken from a friend its about 18 months old. Lays beautiful blue eggs every day. I wonder if broomhilda is trying to exert dominance. She is only 2 months old. Bit she ran the yard with her sister. They hang out with the cats all day. They became friends with after the blackbirds killed the ones we had. Broomhilda won’t sleep in the hutch shed she likes the porch railing and nests there nightly. I’m kind of new with chickens and still learning. I let them basically point me with what they like.

  8. this morning our 1 year old, egg laying, perpetually broody, crossbeaked, serama/ easter egger mix started crowing!! you can see it on my instagram babyjen_

  9. I have had 2 hens previously crow! One was a beautiful Belgian cross bantam who must have been a late developer, and turned into a full blown crowing, mounting rooster! I secretly rehoused him with my paretns flock (they live rural) on the eve of father’s day and nearly gave poor Dad a heart attack when the crowing started! He happily guarded his new flock for 2 years until a fox took him. I have just had an Aracauna cross begin crowing too – albeit a pathetic, strangled sound! Still annoying at 6:30! Rosie – Melbourne Australia

  10. Thank you for this post, you solved the mystery for us. My husband and I both thought we were crazy thinking we were hearing our chicken trying to crow. Now I know we aren’t the crazy ones. We have an Araucana who seems to be trying to answer the crowing rooster who lives somewhere in the neighborhood. We live in Napa, Ca, if anyone lives around here and wants a crowing chicken let us know – she’s yours…!

  11. I just gave up, my neighbors didn’t mind. Shes 7 now and still lays, some mornings she crows. I fully support her transgender rights.

  12. Lianne, thank you so much for your post as it’s the most informative we could find.
    We raised our first flock of from chicks and our top hen, Goose, started crowing a couple of weeks ago. They are a few weeks from laying maturity but we strongly believe she has taken the protective alpha hen role. It started as only a couple of crows in the morning which would stop after the morning feeding to her new record of five hours in counting today. It seems the squirrels have drawn the last straw. We are currently reaching out to friends with established flocks that can take her in.

    1. Hi, I see I’m a few years late in replying, but perhaps you can answer a question. I added two young hens (a White Leghorn and what looks like a Buff Orpington) to our flock several months ago. The little white chicken started laying a couple months ago, and she’s an egg-a-day superstar. The Buff has grown up to be a big, beautiful girl and she is now running the show. (We have a total of 6 hens, no rooster.) We live in the country, and the neighbors have crowing roosters and bunches of hens, so Cindy (Buff) can hear roosters, but they generally stay on their own property. Cindy has never produced an egg, and about a month ago she started crowing and mounting. So here’s my question: Will she ever lay, or does the rooster behavior make that unlikely? She hasn’t yet molted, and I saw in one comment that molting might move her back in the hen direction. Thanks for any thoughts!

      1. Heavy breeds like Buff Orpingtons develop slower than Leghorns and can take up to 8 months to reach maturity. Since you say Cindy has not laid eggs yet, are you sure Cindy is not a cockerel? Does Cindy have any feathers at the base of the tail that are narrow and pointy?

  13. As I type , our eldest hen is crowing outside our bedroom window. She started doing this almost every morning about two weeks ago. While I find it endearing, I’m sure our neighbors do not! We have a total of three hens, after losing her sister & adding two new of a different breed to the family. I had a feeling it was a pecking order thing 😊 As I have five younger siblings, I understand the need! We rush out to feed them when she starts at 7:30 am. That usually stops her crowing. I’m afraid I’m reinforcing her troublesome behavior though. Thank you for the advice. We will try out the garage situation first! Wish us luck!! 😊

  14. I just happened upon your blog, and I know I’m a little late in commenting, but I wanted to tell about the chicken I had. As a pullet she looked slightly more masculine than the other pullets, and her tail was more rooster-like. But she grew up and laid a few eggs. Then one day she started to crow. She stopped laying eggs, at least, temporarily, and started acting like a rooster. (I wondered if she was perhaps a hermaphrodite?) I put a band on her leg so I’d know which chicken it was, but unfortunately, she got killed by a neighbor’s dog and I never got to see if she really was a rooster, or was just a hen that crowed.

  15. I have 5 chickens, 4 hens and a rooster and one of the hens crows at times, so it can even happen in a mixed group. Hers is a bit sad sounding compared to the roo, but she tries. Both the hen that crows and the roo are Barred Rock chickens. Just thought I’d tell you in my group with a rooster I do have a hen that tries to crow.

  16. I had 5 chickens. 4 died leaving the best layer and sweetest girl left. But she has decided shes a rooster now. Ugh. Perching and crowing full blast 630am. Ugh. I keep telling her shes a chicken. What if I put eggs in her box, maybe that would kick in some maternal instinct…

  17. I love reading your blog, especially your chicken stories. I’ve been keeping chickens as pets and egg producers for years. I’ve never eaten any chickens from my flock and at this stage we have quite a collection of old age pensioners – One of my roosters lived to be 13 years old. Every now and then I weed out the roosters, a perfect solution for me is that they get transferred to the local vet’s farm where they get to live in the cow sheds and are employed as fly lavae eaters. Hawks or other predators eventually take them but they get to live a natural life. We live in a small village in South Africa and luckily the crowing of roosters is not a problem. I enjoy waking up early to the sound of my boys calling to the other answering flocks in the neighbourhood. Keep writing and I’ll keep enjoying! May you have a good Christmas season. Kathleen Gordon.

    1. Merry Christmas Kathleen,

      Thank you for the compliments on my blog. I often wonder when I am writing some of my posts, if anyone else is really interested, but I post all sorts of stuff anyway. As you can tell, chickens are my favorite topic, with gardening a close second.

      Wow, 13 years old for a chicken! You obviously gave him wonderful care. I wish roosters were allowed around here, just like dogs and cats. No one thinks twice about a loud dog barking, a leaf blower, or a police siren, but they take notice if there is any kind of chicken noise because it still so uncommon. You are fortunate to live where roosters are welcome. I think you are right about letting them live a natural life. We get tons of hawks stop by. I have lost one to a hawk my first year with chickens, and my neighbor has lost 3, but I still think chickens deserve the opportunity to dust bathe, scratch, and forage.

  18. My roo was a hen to start off with but now she decided being a roo was better…I think he was mixed up at the beginning…he’s not a year old yet, stands over 3 feet tall and is just a gentle giant. He still doesn’t have any waddles yet either but does know how to do his thing on the girls. However with feathered huge legs/feet he is quite clumsy when it comes to doing his little dance to attract the girls. Makes me laugh. I was told he was a Black Langston. His looks just like his daddy with the same personality, very friendly. I had never heard of a roo being a hen at first but this is how mine has turned out to be.

    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Black Langshans are gorgerous roosters. There is a 3 year old one at the local city college horticulture department that I admire from a distance each time I am in there. Impressive looking chicken. The department head says he is the sweetest, best behaved roo ever. In addition to the great personalities, I have read Black Langshans are really slow to develop to full maturity.

      I used to agree with the theory you can’t be 100% sure of chicken gender until you hear a crow or an egg. After my experience with my two crowing hens, I would say, you can only be 100% sure of the gender until you see an egg. However, both hens were not young pullets, each was well over a year old when they started crowing.

      Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting by my blog.

  19. I have heard of this but have not had to deal with it thankfully but I just have two girls right now. I did have one obnoxiously loud hen each morning but she went to live with a friend who had acreage. Merry Christmas to you.

    1. Merry Christmas to you too, Elaine at Sunny Simple Life Blog,
      Other than the lady on Meet Up, Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts this week, I don’t know of anyone else personally that has had a crowing hen either. However, at least once a month, someone on backyardchickens forums mentions problems with a crowing hen. My friend across the street thinks it is both sad and funny that “lightning struck twice here.”

    2. When I was a young boy we had a hen that crowed. There were at least 3 mature roosters with those 18 to 20 or so hens at all times. The thinking was that the hen would never stop crowing and should be destroyed. She was buried deep so that none of the animals would feast on her flesh…

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