I’m having so much fun traveling and sharing my new book, How to Speak Chicken. I can’t tell you how many emails, messages, and in-person requests that I have received to create recordings of the chickens’ vocalizations that I share and “translate in my book”. Chickens have their own language, and over the years I have been able to decipher what they are saying. I am excited to share with you my insight into some of the more common phrases. Yes, the vocalizations that you hear in the sound bits below are me. This is my “chicken voice” and how I “speak chicken” with my flock.
How Chickens Say Hello
This is the first sound that you hear from your flock when they come up to greet you. Listen for “buh-dup” when you are out in the coop. They will use it with you and one another. Think of it as a “Hey”, “What’s up?”, or “How are you doing?”.
Broody Hen Warning
This is the sound you will hear when a broody hen is on her nest and she warns you to stay away from her eggs. Sometimes a hen will peck at you too. Her eggs are her babies. The sound reminds me a bit of a dinosaur yell mixed with a bit of broody growling! “SCREE-oop-oop-oop” Take a listen to Storey and I.
This is a low growl that goes through the flock during the first sight of a potential predator. This is to let the flock know that something dangerous is potentially nearby. Most hens freeze and try to “see” what the perceived danger is.
After the growling followed by confirmation that the thread is indeed real, the growling is followed by loud and repetitive alert calls with lots of frantic calling out. This sound encourages the flock to seek safety or hide.
Egg on the Way (I Have to Lay an Egg)
Sometimes hens will announce that they are ready to lay an egg. Usually this is the call that a hen will do when her favorite nesting box is already occupied. I like to think of it as her saying to her flock mate, “Hurry up, I’ve got to lay an egg!”
Egg Song Vocalizations
Once a hen lays an egg, she will announce its arrival. “It’s here!” Sometimes she sings alone, or sometimes her flock mates join in to celebrate the egg’s arrival.
This recording happened during the middle of a snow storm. It was dark and cold as I went to lock the girls up for the night. The coop was so nice and warm. It was a refuge from the cold winter night. Little did I know, chickens say goodnight. Listen to them purr with contentment and say goodnight with breathy little “doh-doh-doh” as we all say goodnight after they have gone to roost.
I Have a Chicken Name, Do You?
Yes, I do indeed have a chicken name and I bet you have one too! My dear friend, Sy Montgomery, helped me to realize this. You can read the story of how my chickens named me here. Three flocks later, they have all taught one another my name, and it all started with Tilly.
For more on flock emotions, smarts, physiology and chicken psychology please check out my new book, How to Speak Chicken.
If your sound is not working, try using a different browser such as Google Chrome. If you still cannot hear the sounds while viewing the post in Google Chrome, click here for further trouble shooting.
29 thoughts on “Chicken Language: Listen to Common Chicken Vocalizations”
I was trying to listen to your recordings, all but the last one doesn’t work.
Will you put the on again please.
Hi Tricia, I can hear the last one. Email me and I can see what I can do to send it to you if all else fails.
Thank you for fixing the sounds, all but the first 2 work. So fun to hear and know what the chickens are saying.
new to chickens and this is what i was looking for but the sound does not work
The sounds works just fine for me on my ends. Hmmmm. Maybe check your settings- volume, mute, try a different browser etc.
Just wanted to let you know that none of the sounds are working on various browsers and devices that I have tried.
I’m sorry. I can hear them all on my end, it both where I can edit the post and also what the reader is seeing live. I don’t know how to fix the issue you are experiencing.
They are definitely not working
Hmmmm….I’m not sure why on some people’s end they do not work. I’m sorry. At some point, I can try and upload them to YouTube.
My “chicken name” is a sort of “hmmmwuuuuuuuuuuhk?” that sounds like my girls are very suspicious. They even give me these funny little critical glances with their head cocked as if to say, “Where are your treats? I know you have treats somewhere.” when really I almost always don’t. They all run up to greet me when I step into the yard, making hilarious stampeding noises on our hollow deck. I love my girls. 🙂
Oh so cool! I’m so happy to hear that you have a name and thank you for sharing. I wonder what other words you can decipher?
Hi! I unfortunately can not hear any of the recordings from
Listen to Common Chicken Vocalizations”
If possible, I would appreciate if you could email them to me?
My email is email@example.com.
I own a copy and have read
“How to Speak Chicken”.
Good information but difficult to completely interpret without recording the noise.
Thank you so much!
Hi Carol, Perhaps you could try another browser? If that doesn’t work, let me know.
After Much searching you are the only one who actually has Sounds!
If you have uploaded to YouTube could I get the link?
We’ve got a mixed flock ranging in age from a month or so to 11 months. 3 known roosters (7 month old Brahma who we bought (1) because he’s beautiful and was/is sweet (2) to make our 3 month old Sebright stop being so mean to the original 8 (TSC chick days, 3 different crews) alas I’m rambling, sorry.
Thanks. I will add that to my to do list. Great idea!
Thanks for this beautiful article, I enjoyed reading and listening, this combination is new to me and I love it. I have only 1 problem, the 4th last audio didn’t work is it possible for you to send it? Please send it when you find time, thanks
Where can I listen to all these recordings? Would be super interesting. Thanks
Try opening in a different browser. I recommend Google Chrome. I have added a trouble shooting link at the bottom of this post.
finally i understand what my chickens are saying
Hooray! I’m so happy!
Hello! Did you post the YouTube link? I have tried Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Sound doesn’t work on any of them. Thank you!
Hello, no I haven’t put them all on YouTube. I am not sure why the sounds do not work for some but not others. I will ask my IT person. On my end when I view the website there is no problem playin them. I will look into it.
I had similar problems playing some of the sound files, so I collected all the links from the source of this page and pasted them below.
You can click these links and you should be able to listen in your browser:
https://www.tillysnest.com/wp-content/uploads/My-Chicken-Name-By-Melissa-Caughey.m4a https://www.tillysnest.com/wp-content/uploads/Goodnight-Chickens.m4a https://www.tillysnest.com/wp-content/uploads/Egg-Song-by-Melissa-Caughey.m4a https://www.tillysnest.com/wp-content/uploads/I-Have-to-Lay-an-Egg-By-Melissa-Caughey.m4a https://www.tillysnest.com/wp-content/uploads/Alert-Predator-Part-1-Near-By-Melissa-Caughey.m4a
I hope this helps! Now I can understand my chickens better. Thanks Melissa!
Thank you so much that was really enlightening. We love our chickens. They have become pets very quickly. Now we know how they communicate and what they’re saying! Now if I could only mimic them.
I think you can! Give it a try. Enjoy and keep on clucking!
Someone said growling is the rooster warning the hens of a predator. When my rooster does it, it’s because he’s ticked with me, and is about to pull a ninja move . Meh. I like him because he’s TOUGH, and good against predators. Even humans.
He perhaps is leary of you as a potential threat. I have had a couple of roosters that were not too friendly with humans. The hens do the growling as well. I”m glad you have him and he is tough!
my chickens will be quiet and I’ll go “buck buck buuuuuuck” and they will do it back…what does that mean???
I’d have to hear it to know, it’s hard to decipher when things are written out. Most likely they are trying to answer you back and engage with you.