Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Spring must be on it's way.   The Girls are starting to make a racket in the morning.

When we first had chickens,  we were very nervous that they might be noisy and upset our neighbours.  We used to get up very early and let them out of their coop (Cube). As the days got lighter earlier, we were getting up earlier and earlier  to let them out into their run.  In the end, as they have a fox-proof walk in run,  we stopped shutting the pop hole at night so they could get up when they wanted.

But then they learned to crowd around the door of their walk in run, and start burbling and calling to be let out.  We tried letting them out to free range really early,  but this was a big risk as neither of us would be downstairs to keep an eye out for foxes.

 Eventually, we decided that enough was enough, and we went the other way. We started to let them out much much later.  We were hoping that they would learn that they got let out at (say) 12.00,  and therefore start to whinge from 11.00. 

Fast forward several years.   Nothing changes.  In each flock of hens we've had,  one of them has the job of Chief Whinger (CW).  When the CW dies,  another one takes over the role.      Unlike the rest of the flock, who might burble or cackle a bit,  CW has this low, mournful, mooooaaaaaaan,  which gradually increases in pitch, tone, and intensity.

Once Spring is here, CW starts fairly early each morning.  Often, the others join in.  A bit of a "dawn chorus" of the chicken world.  If I look out of my bedroom window,  I can see them all crowded around the door,  like children with their noses pressed against the window of a toyshop.      They ignore the fact that their run has lots of floor space,  is T shaped for interest,  has a big dustbath   has logs, two garden benches,  and several perches running around at different levels.   They ignore their peckablocks.

My bedroom is directly in line with their run,  and we have a small ventilated window which lets the sound in.  We know how loud (or not) the chickens are being, because of this.  We know that our neighbours don't get quite the same level of noise.

It's at its peak when they are full of the joys of Spring. 

If we are going to be out for part or all of the day, we get up and let the chooks out for a bit of a free range before we go.    This is our undoing.

I'm always amazed that chickens manage to learn undesirable habits after just one instance,  but it takes a long time for them to learn desirable ones.

So, after one day of being let out at 7.45 for a leg stretch because we were going out, they decide that 7.45 is the Official New Time and they start whingeing from 6.45.     And we're back to re-setting their free range clocks.

When I'm downstairs in my kitchen,  I can't hear them. I can see that they are calling, but the double glazing protects me from the noise (until one of them has a hissy fit, of course).

As the days go by, they don't keep up with the continual noise making and staring. If they catch any signs of is, they all rush to the door.  This might be seeing me pass the french window in the kitchen,  or hearing water coming out of the drain from the sink.

I must be strong.  If I give in too early, it'll only be worse tomorrow!


  1. Blimey!

    You can't complain about the most natural alarm clock though can you?

    Martin :0)

  2. They are funny creatures, I'd never be without them despite their ruckus and mess! Do you have a grandpa feeder / treadle feeder by any chance? I'm thinking of getting one but am wondering if the expense is worth it. I am feeding too many local birds!

  3. Chickens are both reliable and funny. I could watch them all day!