Chickens are very chatty birds with a language all their own.
It is not unusual to observe your chickens softly clucking to each other or loudly sounding an alarm call when they sense danger is near.
Roosters are notorious for their early morning wake-up calls, and hens will even sing while laying eggs.
Most of these chicken noises are heard throughout the day as the birds go about their business.
But, do chickens make noise at night?
Chickens typically do not make any noise at night, but there are a few instances when you might hear sounds coming from the coop after dark. A lack of water, improper temperatures, artificial lighting, a sick flock mate, or a sense of danger will all cause chickens to make noise at night.
It is also not uncommon for a rooster to crow two hours before dawn when it is still dark outside.
If you hear any weird chicken noises coming from the coop at night, it is best to check on the flock to make sure they are safe or one of them has not escaped somehow.
Read on to learn more about why chickens make noise at night and how to keep them quiet.
Why Would Chickens Make Noise at Night?
It is common for chickens to make a little noise as they settle in for the night.
Once it gets dark outside, chickens will usually sleep throughout the night until the sun rises in the morning.
However, there are a few reasons your chickens will make noise in the dead of night.
Lack of Water
Just after dusk, the flock will chatter amongst each other and usually drink water before going to sleep.
If there is not enough fresh, clean water in the coop, the chickens will not be able to complete their nightly ritual, and they will let you know by making some noise.
Chickens are also very particular about the temperature in the coop, and they will become restless and noisy if it is too hot or too cold.
Chickens generally prefer an ambient temperature of around 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
If the coop is warmer than this, the hens may suffer from heat stress.
Likewise, the coop should not be too cold for the chickens.
Some cold-weather chicken breeds can withstand temperatures as low as 32° degrees Fahrenheit (0° C), but this is not ideal for most breeds.
When chickens are too cold, their body starts shutting down to conserve energy.
Their digestive tract is the first organ to shut down, which may cause your chickens to become constipated.
Related: Can a chicken get constipated?
Chickens also prefer complete darkness to sleep well, so you must turn off any artificial lights in the coop at night.
Light will disturb a chicken’s circadian rhythm and fool the bird into thinking it is daytime, resulting in extra noise from the flock.
One of the Chickens is Sick or Injured
A sick or injured chicken may be in pain or become restless and unable to sleep.
The chicken may also cry out and keep the rest of the flock awake.
The Chickens Sense Danger
If a predator is lurking around the coop, your chickens will sound the alarm for danger.
When there is a rooster in the flock, he will be the first to sense the predator and loudly crow to warn the rest of the chickens.
If you hear these loud danger calls in the middle of the night, you must check on the flock to ensure none of the chickens are injured.
Common Chicken Sounds
Knowing the types of sounds chickens make is helpful, so you are able to tell if your flock is in danger or simply chattering with each other.
Chickens are capable of producing a variety of sounds for different occasions.
This chicken language is more complex than some would believe.
Below are some of the most common sounds you will hear from your flock and what they mean.
The Egg Song
The “egg song” is one of the most common chicken noises you will hear.
After a hen has laid her eggs, she will sing happily as a form of celebration.
Other hens nearby may even join her and sing along, too.
Once the happy egg song has been sung, a laying hen will become broody as she waits for her eggs to hatch.
Some chicken breeds are broodier than others and will protect their unhatched chicks at all times.
If another flock mate approaches the hen’s nest, she may growl or scream.
This is how the hen keeps other chickens from getting near her babies.
Your chickens will likely start chattering as soon as you open the coop, almost as if they were telling you good morning.
If you are late opening the coop, they may even scream to let you know their displeasure.
The chickens will also trill and murmur to each other as they settle into the coop for the night.
This common chicken vocalization in the evening lets you know your flock feels happy and secure.
Murmurs of Contentment
As your flock wanders around the chicken yard during the day, they usually emit soft murmurs.
They do this because they are happy and as a safety measure.
Hens will usually stay close to each other, but even if one wanders away, they can know where the danger is if one of them sounds the alarm.
Chickens, especially roosters, will call out loudly if predators are near the flock.
They even have distinct chicken calls for different types of predators.
For instance, a chicken will produce a specific noise when a ground predator is different from the sound they cry out when they spot an aerial predator.
This complex danger alert system lets the entire flock know where the predator is coming from, so they have a better chance of escaping.
Hen and Chick Chatter
A mother hen has her own language she uses for her chicks.
She may cluck softly or make purring sounds while sitting on her eggs.
The sounds the hen makes will help her chicks distinguish their mother’s voice from other chickens in the flock.
After the chicks hatch, the hen will continue communicating with her babies.
She will growl to warn the baby chicks of danger, so they will know to run to her or stay perfectly still until she comes to them.
A mother hen will also make noises to let her chicks know when it is time to eat.
Chicks will chatter much more than adult chickens, but they cannot be extremely loud.
Further reading: Hens crowing like roosters
How To Keep Chickens Quiet at Night
While chickens are very active and noisy during the day, any sounds at night signal something is wrong.
Fortunately, several ways ensure your chickens are quiet after dark.
Inspect the Chicken Coop
You first need to assess the chicken coop if you hear strange chicken sounds at night.
Look around the coop for any signs of a predator attempting to break-in.
You also need to inspect the water supply to see if it is low.
It is also wise to thoroughly examine your chickens for any signs of injury or illness.
Check the thermometer in the coop as well.
Your chickens are likely uncomfortable if the temperature is too far above or below 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
Choose a Quiet Breed
There are over 500 recognized chicken breeds, and some are louder than others.
If you worry about your chickens being too loud, there are several types of quiet breeds to choose from, including:
- Mottled Java
- Speckled Sussex
You will want to avoid louder breeds such as:
- Easter Egger
- Barred Rock
This list mainly refers to the hens, as roosters of any breed are typically very loud since it is their job to keep the flock safe and warn them of danger.
Avoid Having Too Many Roosters
Since roosters are noisier than hens, many cities have ordinances banning backyard chicken keepers from owning them.
You may be allowed to have one rooster strictly for breeding purposes, but there should never be more than one rooster for every ten hens in your flock.
Having too many roosters not only ensures you will hear a lot of noise but may also be dangerous for the hens.
Some chicken farmers do not have any roosters in their flock.
Not owning a rooster will undoubtedly lessen the loud sounds coming from your flock, but hens may still be noisy on their own.
Make Sure the Coop is Secure
Ensuring your coop is predator-proof will make your chickens feel secure and allow them to relax more at night.
Regularly inspect your coop to be sure there are not any small spaces a predator may be able to use to sneak inside.
Always close the coop doors at night to maintain the temperature and prevent anything from getting to your flock.
Building the coop at least 12″ inches below the fence line will make more fearful chickens feel protected from outside predators.
Further Reading: A Complete Guide to Chicken Sounds and Noises