Most people have experienced being awakened at dawn by a crowing rooster — it’s a nostalgic experience for some, but they may never have had a rooster! The real problem is that roosters don’t just crow in the morning; some will crow all day, and that can be annoying, to say the least.
On average, most roosters will crow 10-20 times a day, an important factor to consider if you don’t already have a rooster. Crowing is normal behavior for roosters, and this sound is unfortunately only one warning to have a rooster. Apart from turning your rooster into lunch next Sunday, there are better ways to reduce his crow to a more manageable state.
Read on to learn how to stop a rooster from crowing excessively (without having to eat it!).
8 Ways to Stop the Rooster Crow
Most backyard breeders raise chickens purely for eggs, and if this is the case in your situation, you may be pleased to know that you don’t need a rooster for egg production — problem solved! Of course, if you want fertile eggs, you need a rooster to produce them.
Some roosters crow excessively because there are not enough roosters in the flock. The more roosters you have, the busier your rooster will be, and thus, the less likely he will feel the need to crow constantly. Remember that you must keep them with the hens, as separating them from their precious flock will only make matters worse. While this may not work in every case, it will definitely help if you only have two to three hens for your roosters.
2. Reduce competition
A large part of the reason why roosters crow is to show other roosters who is in charge. Usually, you want to have about 10 chickens per chicken. If you have more chickens than this, you will need an additional rooster, which can lead to conflict. Usually, if a rooster has his fair share of hens, a pecking order will be established and the roosters will leave each other, but they can still crow to remind the other roosters who’s boss.
If you have multiple roosters, you may want to consider separating your flock so your roosters don’t view each other as competition. If this doesn’t work, reducing your flock to one rooster may be the only option.
3. Confused him
This is a common trick among backyard breeders, and has proven to work for many. Your rooster has a natural internal clock and will usually crow as the sun begins to creep up. You can trick your rooster’s internal clock by using artificial lighting in his coop, tricking him into thinking it’s still daylight outside at sunset. If you set the lights to turn on and off automatically, your rooster is expected to only crow when you release it from the coop. Of course, most roosters crow all day long, but this should at least get you to sleep longer.
4. Entertain him
Contrary to popular belief, roosters are highly intelligent animals that are very aware of their surroundings. It’s possible that your rooster is bored and needs a change of scenery. Moving a car cage every day can keep him entertained by giving him new places to explore, and you might even want to consider adding some hidden toys or treats to keep him mentally stimulated.
5. Maybe there’s actually a reason
Since roosters crowing can be so annoying, we often get annoyed by default and assume that our roosters are crowing solely to annoy us. But there’s usually a reason, be it one of the reasons above or something goes wrong, like a predator. Roosters are very aware of their surroundings and very protective of their flock. If your rooster senses that there may be danger nearby, he will crow to warn the chickens and make them hide. Go check the area around your chickens for predators or for anything you (hopefully) mistook.
6. Leave him alone
Another reason roosters crow all day is to stay in touch with their flock, calling them for a meal or warning them of danger (or just to say hello). A rooster reared alone, far enough from the hen that he cannot hear or see her, may have little reason to crow. You can then give him access to your hens when you want to breed. This may seem a bit extreme, but it’s better than turning it into dinner.
7. Use chicken collar
Chicken collars can be an option if none of them work for you. Keep in mind that this collar won’t stop the rooster from crowing completely, but it will make it more difficult and may help him crow less. The collar is designed to restrict airflow when your rooster tries to crow, causing him some discomfort and limiting the volume he can crow. You can buy a custom-made rooster, but small leashes will work too — just be sure not to tie them too tightly.
8. Try surgery
We do not recommend this method or feel that it is very human, but it is an option. There is an operation that can be performed by a veterinarian that will reduce your rooster’s crow to a whisper. The vet will make small incisions on either side of the chicken’s syrinx, which diverts air into the air sacs of the clavicle, making it impossible for crowing. However, the surgery is quite expensive, and not many veterinarians will do it.
Another surgical procedure – castration – makes your cock “capon”, and this reduces its hormones and thus, its desire to crow. Again, this is very expensive and not many vets will do. It also raises an important question: If you don’t want fertile eggs, why have roosters at all, let alone neutered?
Hopefully, one of these tips will help resolve your chicken problem or at least make it more manageable. Sometimes, you may need to try more than one method before something sticks, and sometimes, the roosters tend to crow excessively and cannot be stopped. Have you managed to stop the rooster from crowing too much? Let us know how you did it in the comments!
Featured Image Credit: Kurt Bouda, Pixabay