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Why Do Roosters Crow in the Morning?

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The sound of my roosters is a constant reminder of a new dawn. Their phenomenon crowing marks daybreak and the beginning of a brand new day full of activities. How these birds keep their precise crowing time remains a mystery. And every chicken owner has been intrigued by their punctuality in crowing, especially during early morning hours.

Now the question is, why do roosters crow in the morning? Roosters crow for different reasons such as reacting to any type of sound, disturbance, or when guarding their territory. They also perform this activity when they feel threatened or just communicating among themselves.

Many years ago, before alarms were invented, roosters played a significant role in waking up people. Perhaps their habitual crowing at dawn inspired inventors to create alarm clocks to jolt us awake each morning. 

According to numerous studies, roosters don’t necessarily need the light at dawn to know when to crow. Their instincts trigger them to start making their usual noise when it is in the morning. 

Researchers at Nagoya University (Japan) tried to work out the genetic aspect of innate vocalization or rather non-learned behaviors like crowing in chickens. 

To their amazement, they found out that roosters don’t require the light to know the exact time to start crowing. These findings left many scientists with questions as to why male chickens crow in wee hours of the morning.

It is wise to point out that roosters crow all the time and not just in the morning alone. They do so in response to several seemingly strange things in their surroundings. Their crow serves many functions as mentioned above. Let’s look at some of the reasons why roosters crow at the crack of dawn.

Reasons Why Roosters Crow in the Morning

Next to the familiar barking of dogs and meowing of cats is the unmistakable crow of roosters. This recognizable male chicken’s noise was shrouded in mystery until 2013 when researchers managed to solve it.

Have you ever asked yourself why your roosters are ever crowing in the morning? If you have, then the answer to your question is an interesting one. Roosters don’t just crow at daybreak because they want to do so. There are underlying reasons why these male chickens make peculiar noise at dawn or specific hours of the day. 

1. Roosters Have an Internal Clock

Roosters crow because they have an internal clock. This particular clock helps them anticipate daybreak. Most of them crow some hours before dawn. 

Like other birds, roosters sing or crow in a daily cycle. This behavior has left many researchers with unanswered questions. However, almost all animals possess daily cycles of activities that are commonly referred to as circadian rhythms. 

These activities follow the cycle of the night or day randomly. So, when it is sunrise, your roosters will anticipate this period and crow for a while. At the same time, their anticipation of daybreak helps them have a head start on their routine hunt for food. 

2.Roosters Crow to Defend Their Territory

On the other hand, their crowing is an indication of defending their territory at any given time. In other words, your rooster’s daybreak crow is a way of marking his territory. The crowing sends a signal to other rivals, telling them not to trespass unless they are ready for a brawl.

3. Roosters Crow when Stimulated by Early Crowing Roosters

Some roosters can stimulate others to start crowing earlier than the usual time. This happens when a particular male chicken has an internal clock that triggers him to crow a little bit early.

Researchers Tsuyoshi Shimmura and Takashi Yoshimura from Nagoya University published a paper in 2013, shedding some light on roosters’ ability to crow at dawn. Their findings were somehow interesting, to say the least. 

They found out that roosters have a mean internal (circadian rhythm) clock of 23.8 hours that triggers them to crow at specific times. Their discovery helps to explain why your roosters crow slightly before daybreak.

In this regard, the most dominant rooster leads off in this behavior, followed by subordinate roosters. If you have ever experienced this kind of circus, you probably know how noisy it can get. Such cases are usually common if you have many roosters in your backyard.

4.Roosters Crow in Response to Light

In rare cases, roosters crow in response to daylight. This explains why you always notice this particular moment when your male birds start making their noise in the morning. 

Most likely, this is the time when you are emerging from deep sleep to start preparing for the day ahead. For others, this type of noise is somehow irritating. This is because it makes them wake up when it is not yet time for them to do so.

Most roosters choose a vantage point in their territory to make others aware of their dominance. In addition to that, this vantage point helps their sound to travel far and wide.  

Other Reasons Why Roosters Crow at Different Times

Maybe it Could be About Setting the Boundaries

Male chickens tend to be territorial. This behavior must have been inherited from their ancestors. This is because their ancestors came from jungles of Far Eastern countries like Thailand, Myanmar, India, China, and the East Indies. 

These regions had thick and dense vegetation that made them difficult to see. As a result, the crowing was used as the only effective means of communication between different groups of fowl. And roosters perfected this game so much that they used it to mark their territories. 

So they all crowed back and forth to inform other flocks of where they were. This tactic worked, and to this date, cocks use it to set boundaries from their rivals. It is the reason why you hear them crowing from time to time, as though they compete among themselves. 

Nature has bestowed chickens with a powerful sense of hearing. Through frequent crowing of cocks, they can easily learn if they are about to face-off with their rival flock

Depending on how severe the threat from the other flock is, you will see your chickens retreating or advancing towards their presumed enemy. This comes in the wake of using their acute hearing to determine the source of crowing. 

Letting their potential rival know about his presence, your rooster can avoid possible conflicts. In extreme cases, they will fight, although they don’t really enjoy doing it. This is because their fights lead to injuries, loss of territory, and even death

How About When Mating?

If you are observant, you will notice that some of your roosters crow immediately after mating. This may look as strange as it sounds, but it could be a way of showing off some “victory” or greatness. 

More often than not, the morning crowing is linked to a surge of testosterone in roosters once they wake up. Even though it remains a theory, this suggestion may hold some element of truth about roosters crowing at dawn. 

Just like other male animals, a rooster is considered to be at his sexually potent, particularly in the morning. Perhaps this coincides with the time he is crowing to usher in a new day. 

It Could be Some Sort of Competition Between Roosters

Another interesting theory about this subject matter is that it could be a competition between roosters. This idea has some merit and for good reasons. 

If you have several roosters in your backyard, you must have realized that when one of them starts crowing, the rest follow suit. 

The most dominant rooster will always lead others in what seems like a crowning ceremony or competition. This activity can go on for a while and suddenly stop, allowing each male chicken to go about his business. Whether this is common or not, no one knows the real motive behind roosters crowing in unison.

Related Questions

How loud is your rooster’s crow? This depends on several factors. Significant among them is the time at which your rooster is crowing. Sometimes these male chickens decide to crow without any valid reason. 

Maybe it could be out of boredom or just doing it to check the neighborhood for other roosters. The crow of roosters is not as loud as you would have thought. In terms of decibels, your rooster’s crow could be as loud as the dog’s barking. This could be around 90 decibels.

Does the crowing of roosters in the morning irritate you? Whether irritating or not, a rooster’s crow depends on how each person responds to it. It may annoy some people but sound normal for others. The primary source of irritation could be as a result of crowing very early in the morning when some people are asleep.

Final Thought

Roosters crow in the morning to welcome daybreak. Researchers found out that these male chickens have an internal clock that triggers them to start crowing at specific hours of the day, especially in the morning. Despite such interesting findings, roosters can crow at any given the time of day depending on different factors that affect their surrounding. Otherwise, it is perfectly normal for roosters to crow whether in the morning, day time, or at night.

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