Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Cock that dosen't crow....?

I recently sold a cock bird to a lady who returned him within the hour, as his crowing (from within a dog crate in the conservatory) was attracting the attention of the next door neighbours who she suspected would object to the noise.
Now this wouldn’t be the first time that someone has found they are unable to keep a cockerel as a result of the noise, nor is it the first time that someone has asked me if there is a type of cock that doesn’t crow.  The answer unfortunately is always “No, but there should be”. After all, hundreds of years of selective breeding have gone in to the development of poultry for almost every other feature other than their vocal chords. We have birds bred for leg length, egg colour, feather pattern, size, temperament, productivity, broodiness, palatability and growth rate so why not crowlessness?

Like me, those who develop and champion a specific breed are always keen to promote it to new keepers and what better way to ensure the success of your chosen breed that to make it accessible to back yard keepers in the most built up areas by being able to boast that your breed doesn’t crow! Someone may attempt this I suppose, but in the mean time and to help those who need a quick fix solution to a crowing cock ( that doesn’t involve dispatching it that is ) here are my top tips!
Cocks and cockerels crow to announce territory just like song birds and like songbirds a cock will be prompted to “sing” for the same reasons such as to announce the break of day, in response to other cocks, to establish his dominance over other birds in the flock, during the breeding season and if he is a dominant character.

You won’t stop a cock from crowing but if you want a cock to crow less, ( or your neighbours to complain less) you could try keeping the coop very dark and only letting the birds out into the light at a civilised hour to reduce the chances of a dawn chorus. Or line the coop with sound proofing boards to limit the sound of early morning noise. Don’t keep more than one cock as this can lead to crowing contests. Use the sound absorbing effects of trees and shrubs to reduce the chances of your cock hearing the crow of another cock carried on the wind. Use of trees, shrubs and buildings can also serve to absorb the sound of your cock’s crow. Choosing a more placid and gentle breed often results in males that crow less often. Site the birds as far away from your neighbour’s property as possible and try and limit the birds access to places where they can perch up high as crowing from these vantage points allows the sound to travel further.

And lastly, if your cocks crowing really is a problem for you or your neighbours, try and find him a good home by all means but be prepared to accept that humane dispatch may be the only responsible solution.

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