Tuesday, June 28News That Matters

Why Do Hens Cackle after Laying an Egg?

Hens often cackle when they lay an egg and this is known as the egg song. Not all of them make this peculiar noise after laying an egg, and some breeds cackle more than others.

It is a “buck-buck-buck-badaaack” sound, repeated often for up to 15 minutes. In the Philippines, it sounds “put-put-putak, putak-putak-putaak!” hence the name of this blog. But why do they do it? Why do chickens feel the need to convey to the world that they have laid an egg? Wouldn’t it make more sense for them to keep it quiet so that predators (and humans who have a habit of stealing freshly laid eggs for breakfast) don’t know there’s something going on there?

Why do chickens cackle?

Well, there are many theories as to why chickens make all the fuss after laying an egg.

1. Pride

The first hypothesis is that the hen is so proud of herself for having laid that egg and so relieved to drop it that she feels the need to convey that fact to the world. Literally, she boasts of pride in her achievement.

2. Location

A second idea is that the hen, having gone to lay her egg in private somewhere, is calling the rest of the flock to join them.

In the wild, her female companions may roam when she is lying down and needs to find her way back to them, the cause why chickens cackle would be some kind of sound location for them to find her. It could also be a location cue to tell other chickens where their nest is. It is common for chickens living in the wild to have a communal nest and maybe telling others that they can use it too.

3. Predators

The third hypothesis is that she is protecting her egg by moving away from it and distracting predators from the nest itself and focusing her attention on her to keep her egg safe. This would be the most feasible theory for our liking.

It makes sense that she wants to keep that egg safe because every egg that she lays, in her mind, fertile or not, is a potential new baby to support the flock. She then realizes that she has to keep predators away from the nest.

Chickens are communal birds with a social structure, so this may be one reason. If you have ever tried to find a hidden nest by following the egg song, you will know that it is not easy. The sound is difficult to follow, so it may be distracting.

4. Mating

The egg song has a habit of making all the roosters come out and they often end up mating, so this may be the most fertile time for a hen. I have watched the rooster’s response to her song. He becomes very vocal and rushes over to her and makes her love her little dance by throwing a wing. Most of the time he rides successfully.

It is a common misconception that roosters will be the loudest birds on your farm or in your backyard chicken coop. If you are new to raising laying hens it won’t be long before you start hearing an annoying noise coming from the direction of the hen house every morning. This is the hens’ egg song, also known as the clucking after egg laying.

We will probably never know the real reason for the egg song. Chickens don’t talk, they just keep cackling! This sound is clearly not our favorite sound, it is loud and annoying. And sometimes they feel the need to cluck when they see another chicken’s egg in their nest, or when they don’t like the nest their keepers prepared for them.

So, now you should know why chicken cackle (bakit pumuputak ang manok)

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