There are many sounds and noises in the world that most people can recognize right away, like a dog barking, a cat meowing, or a rooster crowing.
The question of why do roosters crow is as old as the question of why the chicken crossed the road.
Why do they seem to feel compelled to crow over and over and over again? Since I grew up in a city, I always thought that roosters crowed early in the morning to announce the start of the day, which may be true for some.
Since getting my own flock, I’ve learned that my rooster crows early in the morning, in the middle of the day, at night, and pretty much all the other times.
Even before dawn, you can hear a rooster. He is the first to say it. When it gets dark, the rooster will be the first one to wake up. Also, he will be the last person to go to bed.
Roosters will wake you up in the morning if you live near them. In the morning, he makes a lot of noise. As soon as the sun comes up, he will start to crow. He will keep making noise the whole day.
When it’s time for him to go to sleep, he will make a lot of noise to let you know. It’s like telling everyone to get ready.
Chickens are definitely one of the most well-known animals in the world. Researchers can’t resist trying to figure out why do roosters crow until the last century, and they might have found some interesting answers in the process.
People have always been interested in roosters, so this isn’t a big surprise. Egypt was the first place where roosters were first written about, which was more than 4,000 years ago. They kept roosters as pets and sometimes even used them in their army.
The Greeks and Romans also knew about roosters and used to keep them in their courtyards. In the Middle Ages, roosters were also kept as pets.
Different people have their own ideas about why do roosters crow. One idea is that it makes it easier for them to talk to other roosters. People say that roosters can tell each other apart by the way they crow.
The other reason why do roosters crow is to get the hens’ attention.
When Do Roosters Crow?
It’s important to remember that most roosters crow more often than when the sun comes up. They will crow whenever they want.
Usually, something like the sound of a lawnmower or the sight of a stranger walking near their backyard or cage makes them crow.
Roosters don’t care much about when they crow or even why. All they do is crow. The old person’s story about a rooster crowing just before or at the break of dawn is true.
The Science Behind Why Do Roosters Crow
Because roosters crow about anything and everything, researchers and ornithologists (bird experts) thought that a rooster’s crowing at dawn was just a response built into their DNA to the changing levels of darkness and light.
I don’t think this is always true, because my rooster Screech starts crowing as early as two hours before dawn most mornings.
In Japan, researchers at Nagoya University decided to look into the stories that have been told for centuries about how roosters “know” when daybreak will come.
Takashi Yoshimura and Tsuyoshi Shimmura published a paper in 2013 in which they tried to figure out if this was just a belief in the rooster’s head or if the rooster was expecting or feeling the coming of daybreak instead of just reacting automatically to the rising sun.
People thought that crowing was just a response to the changing light levels. A rooster is made to wake up at night and crow to attract other roosters that are also waking up. Roosters also crow to tell others where they live.
When the rooster thinks there is enough light, it will stop crowing. But the rooster will start crowing when it knows the day has started.
A rooster knows when dawn will come and what time it will be because it is in their nature to do so. We don’t have the same natural instincts as animals, so we can’t understand what drives them.
This could be why a rooster sometimes crows when it’s dark out.
Collecting The Data on Why Do Roosters Crow
Yoshimura and Shimmura did a lot of experiments and gathered information to find out why do roosters crow and what might make them do it.
During the study, the birds were exposed to many different situations and environments, as well as a wide range of stimuli, such as being fed.
The long and the short story of it is that a rooster might crow for a certain reason, and then sometimes he might crow for no reason at all, almost as if he enjoyed it or was bored with it.
However, when he does crow, a rooster’s crow can serve several important purposes. We’ll look at a few of them now.
Why Do Roosters Crow?
Here are a couple of reasons why do roosters crow:
Welcoming The Sun Could Be The Reason Why Do Roosters Crow
During Yoshimura and Shimmura’s research study, a group of roosters were put in a controlled environment where they were given light for twelve hours and dark for twelve hours.
This direct exposure was repeated over the course of two weeks.
The information showed that the roosters did get ready for the coming day. Every day, they would usually start crowing around two hours before the sun came up.
Researchers thought that a rooster’s internal body clock is about 23.8 hours long. Why do roosters crow at a set, pre-programmed time? It’s because of this biological rhythm.
They also thought that this is what makes roosters start crowing right before dawn.
The information also showed that the leader, who was the most powerful rooster, would start to crow, and then his subordinates would join in. One can only imagine how loud this could get if there were more than one rooster in the flock.
The roosters lived in a controlled environment where it was always light for twelve hours and dark for twelve hours. This was done over the course of two weeks.
The researchers found that roosters began to crow at a set time that had been programmed into them. They also thought that this is what makes roosters start crowing in the early hours of the morning.
The internal biological clock of a rooster is about 23.8 hours. This biological rhythm is what makes roosters crow at a set time that has been programmed into them.
The leader, or most powerful, rooster would start to crow first, and then his followers would join in. If you have more than one rooster in your flock, they may crow so loudly that you can hear them from outside your house.
When a rooster crows, it usually means that it is morning. When roosters crow before dawn, it’s to let the rest of the flock know that it’s time to scare away predators and look for food.
The “head rooster” will always be the first to crow during a rooster wake-up call. Eventually, any other roosters in the flock will join in.
The answer to the question “Why do roosters crow in the morning?” is still not very clear. It’s mostly because they have an internal clock that tells them to crow every morning at the same time.
The morning call of a rooster can wake up people who are trying to sleep. If you live near other people, you shouldn’t have roosters.
Developing Territory is Another Reason Why Do Roosters Crow
Many flock owners don’t know that our modern chickens came from places like Thailand, India, Myanmar, and China.
These birds often lived in places with a lot of plants, like jungles, that were full of thick vegetation.
This would give them great protection and make it hard for other birds to see them, even other birds like themselves.
People think that the rooster’s crowing was a warning to the other birds around him.
He would let any other roosters know that he had not only moved in, but also claimed the area for himself and his hens.
To figure out why roosters crow, you have to think about how they came to be. Roosters used to live with other roosters in a jungle.
In fact, they lived with many different kinds of animals and birds, like parrots, as well as cats and dogs.
They had to be very brave because they were trying to not only stay alive but also find food. There was so much competition in the jungle that they would probably die of hunger if they didn’t try to protect their territory.
A rooster had to stay in his territory if he wanted to get more food. He would go there and make sure no one else could get there. He would also scare off animals that came to the area to eat the seeds.
The only way roosters can do this is with their loud voices. When the rooster crowed, he would let everyone know.
People also thought that these roosters called back and forth to each other by crowing so that the other roosters and their flocks knew where they were.
You can still hear roosters crowing in both directions.
Chickens can hear very well, so the crowing of another rooster helps them figure out how far away their flocks are and if they are getting closer or not.
If you know where another flock is and where its rooster is, you can avoid fights with competitors. A rooster will fight, but they don’t really like to do it.
There is a high chance that the rooster will be hit, hurt, or even killed.
Crowing is another way that roosters can talk to other animals. It tells roosters from other flocks to stay away from their area and their hens.
Roosters are sometimes thought to be aggressive, but they actually try to stay out of fights as much as possible.
Crowing back and forth usually keeps chickens from fighting because it lets new birds know how far away they are and gives chickens time to get away from dominant birds.
This is how the rooster has always done things. In the wild, chickens would often move through densely forested rainforests.
Because they couldn’t see other birds coming, roosters would crow to let things know that they were coming.
Supremacy: The Reason Why Do Roosters Crow
When it comes to a flock, the rooster is the most powerful bird in every way. When chickens live together in a group, called a flock, the rooster with the highest status and the most power is always the one to crow.
The roosters who are below him in the “chain of command” will then follow him.
Even though the lower roosters’ biological clocks might tell them it’s time to crow, they will wait for the head rooster to start it all.
We’ve all heard the term “chain of command.” When it comes to a flock, the people in it will follow it to the letter.
The most dominant bird in a flock will peck at the other birds, and the other birds will just have to deal with it. All roosters are hardwired to follow their internal circadian rhythm.
Research shows that they will wait for the dominant rooster to tell them when to start the chorus. Who knew that chickens would treat each other with such respect?
Why Do Roosters Crow At Night
Okay, let’s move on and talk about the elephant in the room: yes, roosters do and will crow at night. You might wonder why they do that. Well, the short answer is that nobody knows for sure.
A lot of “chicken experts” believe that crowing at night might be a way to protect themselves.
The rooster might think he hears something outside or near the cage, so he will crow to warn the rest of the flock that there might be a threat nearby.
There is another good explanation on why do roosters crow at night. Some people assume that the crowing might have been caused by a car headlight or another bright light that woke them up from their sleep.
When this happens again, the rooster might crow to let the other birds in the cage know.
Yet a third theory is that they might have heard a car or the maker of a car, and the rooster’s crowing is a warning to the possible threat or competitor that he is there and to stay away from his territory and his hens.
If roosters presume there is a danger nearby, they may make an anxious crow. The most alarm crows are out at night. When a rooster crows late at night, it could mean that a predator is coming to get the flock.
Chickens can hear very well, so if a scared rooster starts to scream, the other chickens will either run away or freeze, depending on the situation.
Roosters have very good eyesight and can see things farther away than people can.
Not every rooster alarm means that someone’s life is in danger.
Roosters are often startled by strange sounds at night, like a car starting or a light turning on. They might mistake strange noises for predators and still send out an alarm call.
Why Do Roosters Crow-They Want To Impress The Hens
Some roosters will crow after mating to show off how well they can make their hens happy. It seems that roosters are more likely to be the type of mate who tells everything.
Some have even thought that the rooster’s early morning crowing, right before dawn, might not just be caused by its body clock, but also by an unexpected rise in testosterone in the bird’s system.
It’s just a theory, but it sounds as likely as any of the others.
If you keep track of when your rooster crows the most, you’ll find that it happens most often early in the morning and early in the evening. People think that he is most sexually powerful at these times of day.
There are some roosters that will crow when one of their hens lays an egg. It’s almost as if he’s telling any possible competitors that he’s the guy and that his hens aren’t just fertile and well-cared for. But he gets things done.
It’s possible that a rooster’s crowing has something to do with mating. Roosters might crow to get the attention of hens who are looking for a mate. When a rooster calls to hens, it means he wants to mate and is ready to do so.
They might even try to take a hen from a different rooster.
When a rooster mates with a hen, it also crows. No one knows why, but it could be a way for them to show off to other chickens. If their hen gives birth to an egg, they may make the same crows.
Some people think that the answer to “why do roosters crow before dawn?” also has to do with mating. The rooster may have a lot of testosterone in the morning, so this could be another attempt to find a mate.
The early evening is another time when roosters often look for a mate.
Why Do Roosters Crow: Competitors In the Chicken Yard
One popular theory on why do roosters crow so much is that they may think there are rivals in the chicken’s backyard.
He has one rooster that he keeps with the hens. The other three roosters live together in a place that looks like a bachelor pad for chickens.
Since the three roosters live in separate places, they don’t see the one rooster with the hens as the boss.
When the rooster with the hens starts to crow, the other three feel the need to join in and say what they think.
When everything is quiet and the crowing stops, the lead rooster will always be the one to crow last.
My cousin says that the same lead rooster will always make sure to go around the edge of the pen of bachelor roosters at least a couple of times a day.
He says that the rooster even tries to tease the other roosters into fighting, even though he knows very well that he is safe. Talk about being brave!
It’s possible that all this strutting and crowing isn’t typical of other roosters and is unique to his rooster or is just the way that rooster acts. I always make sure it is a sight to see and a sound to hear.
The Etiquette Of Crowing
As with most things, there are certain rules to follow when you have a flock of chickens. And never more so than when you have more than one rooster in the same area.
Chicken rules seem to say that each rooster in the chicken yard will crow in a certain order.
This order tells you which rooster will crow next, then which rooster will crow after that, and so on, until they’ve all let you know they’re there.
Each rooster knows its place in the group, and if one tries to get another rooster’s attention, the head rooster will put the bold bird in his place.
Disobedience is only dealt with when the head rooster is old, sick, or weak.
Then, one of the younger roosters will rise to the top, cause trouble, and fight the head rooster for his spot at the top of the hierarchy.
It turns out that roosters in the wild often live in different places. That’s true as long as all the sheep respect and follow the known order of command.
With time, these groups of self-proclaimed bachelors will split into their flocks, each with their own hens.
People who keep flocks with more than one rooster can tell which rooster is crowing by its sound. Each bird’s crow is just a little bit different, so much so that the owners can match the crow to the bird that is making it.
The Loudness Of The Crow
Many people belive that a rooster’s crow is loud. The crow is not all that loud. In terms of decibels, a rooster’s crow is about as loud as a dog’s bark, which is about 90 decibels.
No matter what kind of rooster it is, it will crow. There is no such thing as a rooster that doesn’t crow.
Because of this, it seems like they get a bad name for being loud, but this is not the case.
The noise level of a hen or rooster clucking is about 70 decibels, which is about the same as two people talking. So, roosters and hens are much quieter than loud music, leaf blowers, and even some cars passing by.
The Length Of The Crow
In reality, a rooster’s crow, or “cock-a-doodle-do,” can last as long as the bird wants it to.
Most of the time, he will settle down once he has made his presence known and told everyone within crowing range.
That is, until something else gets him worked up.
In this case, it’s helpful to have just one rooster. Since he doesn’t think there are any other people in the chicken yard, he isn’t as likely to feel “overcrowded.”
Again, if you had a Kosovo Long Crower Rooster, it would be a rooster that crows for at least 15 seconds. Or how about the Drenica, which crows for an amazing 30 seconds?
Do Quiet Roosters Exist?
In simple words: NO!
Some roosters are much less likely to crow than others. At some point, every rooster will and does crow. If you ever have more than one rooster, you will learn this quickly.
When one starts, they all follow along.
Even the smaller ones, like Bantams, will crow. Their crow sounds more like a sharp, high-pitched shriek that some say gets on their nerves. Their crow is still nowhere near as loud as the crow of a standard-sized rooster.
Keeping Your Rooster Quiet
There is no way to keep a rooster quiet that will always work. I’m sorry to say this, but it’s true. That doesn’t mean that flock owners don’t have a few options out there that might help lower the noise level a notch or two.
You could try a “no-crow” collar, which is designed to stop the rooster from letting air out of its lungs.
These are helpful because they help quiet the crowing without making it hard to eat, drink, or breathe. Instead, they just lower the volume of the crow.
Strategies for Reducing Rooster Crowing
There is no way to stop a rooster from crowing, but there are ways to make the sounds less often. Here are some things you can do to minimize roosters from making noise on your property.
Obtain More Hens
Roosters will crow more often if there aren’t many hens in the flock. If there are more hens, the roosters will have more to do, so they will crow less. Keeping the rooster near the hens is another good way to stop cocks from crowing.
If you don’t want fertile eggs, you don’t need a rooster. Whether or not there is a rooster around, hens will lay eggs that won’t hatch. So, if you are scared by the sound of a rooster, you can raise hens for eggs without one.
Reduce the Number of Roosters
It’s good to have more hens, but it’s also good to have less roosters. In order to get the hens, roosters may fight with each other, which can make them loud. Having one rooster for every 10 hens is usually a good idea.
If you need a lot of roosters, you can have a lot of chicken cages, but the roosters won’t get along with each other. You can keep the roosters with their hens this way and keep them from fighting with other roosters.
Make Use of Artificial Lighting
People who like to sleep in may not like hearing a rooster crow in the morning. You can stop a rooster from crowing in the morning and making other noises by giving their coop artificial light.
Roosters wake up and start crowing at dawn because their internal clocks tell them to. As soon as the sun comes up, they know it’s time to set their morning alarm.
But if you set a light in your rooster’s coop to come on and off at set times, you might be able to trick him.
Make the light stay on after the sun goes down to make him think it’s later than usual. Then he might crow until you let him out of the coop.
Your rooster will probably still crow at other times of the day, but this will give you a little more time to sleep.
Keep the Roosters Entertained
Like any other animal, roosters can get bored. If they are bored and don’t have anything else to do, they may make noise just to make noise. You can stop your roosters from crowing as much if you keep them busy.
Toys for chickens are a great way to keep birds busy in their homes. Some keepers also use a moveable coop so that their birds can always have new places to explore.
Make use of a Rooster Collar
A no-crow collar can be used if nothing else works. When a rooster tries to crow, the collar cuts off some of the airflow, which makes the bird feel bad. It won’t stop the roosters from crowing for sure, but it will make them less likely to do so.
Some people think that rooster collars are cruel, but they won’t hurt the birds as long as they aren’t too tight.
Some keepers, on the other hand, choose to do surgery on the rooster’s neck or testicles to stop it from crowing as much.
People think that these ways are dangerous and cruel. Neutering a rooster isn’t as safe as neutering a dog. In fact, it can kill the rooster.
When Do Roosters Begin Crowing as Chicks?
Every breed of rooster is different, but most start crowing between 8 and 20 weeks of age. At first, their crows might not sound like crows. They’ll start out small and dark. Still, the birds will figure it out in the end.
Do Hens Crow?
“Do hens crow?” is a question that new pet owners often ask. Even though it’s clear that roosters crow, some people may be surprised to learn that hens can also crow.
Hens might crow to show that they are in charge of the flock. Most noises that hens make are much quieter, but if you hear them crowing, it’s likely that there’s some kind of competition going on in the coop.
There are a lot of reasons why a rooster will crow, and there are also a lot of ways to make it stop. In the end, they will still crow, because that is what roosters are programmed to do by nature.
It’s how they relate to their flock, to you, and to the world around them.
Yes, roosters are loud. But you may have heard the old saying that it’s hard to find a good rooster. Let’s say your rooster is one of the best, but also one of the loudest.
If that’s the case, you and your rooster would both benefit from finding a way to quiet him down. It wouldn’t just be a shame. But it can be heartbreaking to have to find a new home for a great rooster because he is bothering a neighbor.
There have been times when something other than the rooster crows. But one of his hens started to crow. Experts don’t know why some hens can crow. But that’s the way it is.
- Tomoyoshi Komiyama, Kazuho Ikeo, Takashi Gojobori (May 2004). The evolutionary origin of long-crowing chicken: its evolutionary relationship with fighting cocks disclosed by the mtDNA sequence analysis. Gene 333: 91–99. (subscription required)
- Hristo Lukanov (2012). Balkan Chicken Breeds and Breed groups. Aviculture Europe 8: 1–16.
- Judging criteria of the German Club for Asian longcrowers. Longcrowers.de. Accessed November 2017.
- Gail Damerow (2010 ). Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing. ISBN 9781603424707.