The Non-Existent Snooze Button on a Chicken

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Roosters are not allowed in our town, and when one of my neighbors decided to test the neighborhood’s tolerance-level, it turned out to be pretty low.  The villagers promptly arrived with torches and pitchforks.  Folks don’t take kindly to 7 am rooster calls in these parts.  So, I’ve been feeling pretty darn lucky that all four of my chicks turned into fluffy-butted, egg-laying hen-ladies.  Lucky, except for the fact that one of my girls did not, apparently, get the memo about early morning rooster calls.

I’ve read about this happening.  When a flock has no actual rooster, sometimes one of the hens will step up and take on the role.  She’ll be protective, maybe a little bit aggressive, and she may even take a shot at some less than bearable vocal exercises.

So, yes, as of the last few wonderful days, this is exactly what’s going down at the Farmhouse.  Yay.  Only, it isn’t a 7 am wake-up call, it’s a 5 am wake-up call.  FIVE.  O’CLOCK.  IN THE MORNING.  Pitch black out.  Chicken party in the henhouse.

Community Dirt Bath

It’s exhausting to be up so early. An extended daily dirt-nap is vital.  Please make special note of the dirt overflow on the driveway.

Personally, I am an early riser, anyway, so the hour doesn’t actually bother me.  I’m just relatively certain that my neighbors aren’t going to share my same jolly sentiment.  Especially since my sweet little chicken sounds like a goose being strangled.  Good morning, neighborhood!  Hope you went to bed early!  Oh, how I love stumbling blindly out the door in my slippers and PJs and running across the yard in the dark to tell the birds to shut their beak-holes.  And then, as though it is simply a matter of reasoning with them, I have an extended whisper-conversation with them imploring them to climb back on their mother-clucking roosts and at least pretend to sleep….so. help. me!

Office interns

I can’t stay mad. As I work at my computer, they hang out as close as possible.  They want to be inside, but curled up at the door is good enough.

Keeping Tabs

Helping proof-read my posts through the window.

Before this nonsense started, we had been discussing the possibility of doing a roost-room add-on to the current chicken coop.  The room would be fully-enclosed, insulated, and sound-proofed (with a baby monitor added so the crazy chicken lady can keep tabs).  I guess it’s go-time on that weekend-killer.

Really, I’m hoping it’s just a phase that somebody is going through (still don’t know which bird is the culprit) and that the wee hours of the morning will soon go back to being wee.  I’d like to go back to being woken up by my other alarm clocks:

Don't Wake the Beastie

This one’s belly starts audibly grumbling at 6 am, on the dot.


Ever get that strange feeling that someone is standing over you and staring? If the hungry stomach sounds didn’t get me up, then I open my eyes to this sight.

Evil Genius

If Abbie’s efforts are unsuccessful, then it is Nixie’s turn to have a go at it. This photo catches her mid-evil-genius-laugh.


My original chicken is actually very polite in the morning; very sweetly she says, “Good Morning!” over and over until you uncover her cage.  Then she says, “Thank youuuu!”  She is a very proper parrot, first thing.  The sailor language doesn’t bust out until after she’s had a hearty breakfast.

If we actually lived out in the country (like I like to pretend we do), I would just let the chickens make whatever racket they chose (in fact, I’d probably get a rooster to join in the circus).  But, in the close confines of our suburban setting, extra precautions (aka, bribery and flattery) are going to have to be taken in order to ensure our neighbors’ good will.

I’m curious to know if any other suburban/urban chicken keepers out there have run into similar chicken-noise-situations, and what, if any measures you took to handle them.  I just want to have happy neighbors and happy hens.  And a winning lottery ticket….is that so much to ask?!

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24 thoughts on “The Non-Existent Snooze Button on a Chicken

  1. Green Door Hospitality December 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm Reply

    Great post! We don’t have chickens (in all frankness I’m kinda afraid of them after being attacked when I was 10) but we do in fact have a rooster or two that live in our neighborhood. What’s really fun is when it starts it’s “wake-up call” at 4am — when the owls that also live in our area are still hooting. It’s the battle of the birds out here — someday perhaps they will come to an understanding that they should take turns…. owls then roosters. 🙂 Good luck with your hens!! 🙂

  2. Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods December 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm Reply

    Such a funny post! When we still lived in the city with our eight hens, my husband would freak out when they’d sing their egg songs early in the morning on the weekends. We’d be sleeping and if they woke him up (they were RIGHT below our bedroom window) he’d shake me until I woke up and told me to go make them shut up. Haha. But when I went outside they usually got louder! We asked our neighbor (we had a corner lot) if they bothered him and he said he never heard them. My husband was so paranoid that it was a huge catalyst in our moving to the country. Now they can be as loud as they want 🙂

    • farmhouseK8 December 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm Reply

      Yep. I’m pretty certain the best solution is moving to the country. Sigh. 🙂

  3. Danny Sleeper December 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm Reply

    ours hasn’t been making the noises yet but one keeps trying to do the mating routinue, what thats all about I’ll never understand.

  4. Mindie December 5, 2012 at 12:38 am Reply

    We thought we had a hen that was trying out the roo roll, but sadly it turned out she was a roo! LOL Our neighbors, though upset by the early morning noise, were patient as we found him a great new home. We can’t have roos either and I really REALLY thank my neighbors for the understanding since out son was so upset about having t give up one of his “pullets.”

    • farmhouseK8 December 5, 2012 at 1:47 am Reply

      Oh, such a bummer! I’m so glad I didn’t have to give any of mine up (knock on wood)–they are all definitely egg-laying women, but this zero-dark-thirty nonsense is gonna tick some people off if it continues….I think the roost box is going to get re-located into the garage tonight!

  5. Jackie Johnson December 5, 2012 at 12:52 am Reply

    One of mine tried that routine for a while. Not sure who it was but it has stopped for now. Wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again in the future. My neighbors haven’t complained since they are forever waking us up with their backyard lights when they let their dogs out.

    • farmhouseK8 December 5, 2012 at 1:51 am Reply

      Hope ours gives up her routine sometime soon, too! Our neighbors are all so quiet that I’m afraid we are sticking out like a sore thumb, despite my best efforts! 🙂

  6. Charlotte Zweigoronc December 5, 2012 at 1:15 am Reply

    I don’t think you’re asking for too much at all! I think after an entertaining post like this one you should throw in a few more requests! Of course, the winning lottery ticket might take care of most anything else…. right?

    • farmhouseK8 December 5, 2012 at 1:52 am Reply

      Yeah–the lottery would definitely help! 🙂

  7. Robin December 5, 2012 at 2:19 am Reply

    Jurassic Park – make all your dinosaurs females and yet . . . life finds a way. And what are chickens really, but wee, little dinosaurs?

  8. Becky December 5, 2012 at 3:18 am Reply

    Beautiful animals. Beautiful everything!

  9. Coop Poop December 5, 2012 at 3:47 am Reply

    Beakholes!! LOL!! I really love this post!!

  10. Meredith December 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm Reply

    Great story! I liked the beakholes part, too! I think I’ve gained a new vocabulary word. Thanks for sharing your morning with us!

  11. Radishgirl Thymes December 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm Reply

    I love it! If my girls hear any noise from our back porch, they squawk. Usually it’s #2 making all the noise 🙂

    • farmhouseK8 December 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm Reply

      Yeah–our usual noise-maker is Gertie, and I suspect it’s her….but, I have not yet confirmed it!

  12. michelle yeaton December 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm Reply

    Hi new to your blog and i love it!! We have 6 lovely ladies in our family and we had the same predicament with Lily our buff orpington. She was so noisy in the early am as well. We had to ride it out for about a month she eventually quieted down. Hang in there . I thought she would quiet once she started laying but noooo. I think it is a maturity thing. She is now the quietest one and very mellow . Keep us posted! xo

    • farmhouseK8 December 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm Reply

      Thanks, Michelle–good to know! Yeah, mine are still pretty young–hopefully it is just a phase. I shook up their routine by roosting them in the garage for one night and that seemed to help snap whoever it was out of it (for the moment).

  13. Julie Parton December 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm Reply

    I got my chicks August 3rd of this year. I have 9 total. Two red Cochins, 3 Plymoth Rocks, 4 Easter Eggers. Just got my first two eggs a week ago and my first blue egg yesterday. I live in a town where there is a no livestock ordinance. However, I have found that the definition of livestock does not include chickens unless they are for consumption. Which mine are not since they all have names. I do however have a Roo ( all my chickens are Bantams). He crows every morning at 5:30. A Banty Roo isn’t as loud as a regular Roo. And he hasn’t got his crowing down pat yet. So far I have not gotten any complaints from my neighbors. One can’t hear very well, one is my Mother in Law, two retired teachers that love chickens and the rest have loud barking dogs. So my theory is, so far, my Roo crowing at 5:30 is a lot easier to tollerate than their dogs barking 24/7. I will let you know how this turns out. I am about to move to Key West, where all chickens can run free and it is against the law to kill one. We just got back from there last week. 🙂

  14. P.E.A.C.E. February 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on People Excited About Co~Existence and commented:
    I adore everything about this blogger and her gorgeous site! Her writing is witty and often hilarious as she welcomes us to life on her wee little ‘farm’ in the suburbs. She’s role modelling for me how it’s done and I cheer on her every adventure (check out her adorable hen-washing post too!). I am sure you’ll enjoy. Thank You Farmhouse38! Cheers!

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