What Does Your Hen Say?

In children’s books, roosters say cock-a-doodle-doo! and hens say cluck!. At least, that’s the way that chicken talk is written in most American storybooks. There are plenty of variations, from buk-buk to chuck-chuck – sort of like regional dialects of chicken language. I’d never seen tac-cut written down until I came across this coffee can that is now in my collection. I keep pens in it on my bedside table. It’s a charming image to wake up to. Said out loud, tac-cut tac-cut does sound like a hen clucking. Was the coffee named for the sounds, or did some adman come up with the hen logo with the  thought that the brand name sounded like a hen clucking?



There are plenty of coffee cans with images or roosters crowing wake-up calls, but this is the only one that I know of with a hen.


In any event, I’ve been collecting what hens say around the world. I’m told that in Turkey, a chicken says biak-bik-bik, and that in the the Dominican Republic a flock sounds like this: cocoteeecoco. What do hens say in your neck of the world?


  1. I just got back from Turkey, but didn’t have any conversations with chickens. Too bad. I’ll just have to go back and finish the job.

  2. That is so interesting Terry. I’m still working on the cocoteecoco! I wonder what sounds the people use when brooding baby chicks, chick chick chick or perhaps something totally different! This is not chicken related or even similar but a friend at work found a chihuahua wandering the streets. It’s a Latino part of town. They had the dog for days and it would not listen. Any commands they used the dog ignored them. When they finally found the family they called to the dog and everything was great! The dog only understood the Spanish language!

    • Yes, I have a friend who had a Thoroughbred horse imported from Germany years ago and another who got a German Shepherd, a working/military dog. Both only knew German commands.

      • The one thing I do know about Looney Dog our chihuahua rescue, is whoever had her before us was not spanish. Because our renter, a elderly hispanic lady talks to her in Spanish and all Luna does is look at her like she has gone nuts.

  3. In Latin America there’s a children’s song that goes, “Los pollitos dicen pio, pio, pio…” (The baby chicks say pee-o, pee-o, pee-o)

  4. I always wondered who came up with chicks saying “cheep, cheep!” It sounded to me more like “Hee-lurk, hee-lurk!”

  5. Our’s say “Bach, Bach, Bach, Bach, Bach!” They love classical music apparently.

  6. My BO goes “beep”, one time. Sounds like a horn. My Australorp goes “honk, honk” like a goose. My BO also likes to stick it’s long neck down and look at the world upside down between her legs. Cracks us up! Mostly she’s looking at us.

  7. David Sedaris wrote about this in his hilarious essay, “Six to Eight Black Men:”
    “…when travelling abroad, my first question usually relates to barnyard animals. “What do your roosters say?” is a good icebreaker, as every country has its own unique interpretation. In Germany, where dogs bark “vow vow” and both the frog and the duck say “quack,” the roosters crow “kiri-a-kee,” and in France they scream “coco-rico,” which sounds like one of those horrible premixed cocktails with a pirate on the label. When told that an American rooster says, “cock-a-doodle-doo,” my hosts look at me with disbelief and pity.”

    • Yes! I couldn’t remember where I’d read that…Sedaris always puts a smile on my face! :-D

  8. I wish i could put a recording of my hens on here, especially in the morning when they are in the wondow of the hen house screaming to get out< that sound like a "clicky AHHHHHHHHGHHHHH" and then thier is my Polish HEN, YES HEN that likes to crow like a rooster, she actually sounds like what i would imaging a 10 year old rooster sounds like when crowing his last crow HAHAHA, I will say one of the coolest thinngs I am hearing now is the sounds coming from my blue silkie Chicken-Little ( AKA KUJO) she is the meanest hen ever, ANYWAY 3 weeks ago today she hatched 7 chicks (not biologically her) but as she is teaching them she has differant clucks and clicks and bagawks, It's quite often to watch and hear…. i am pretty certain she even has a special call for them to run away from me…lol It is quite something to watch a mother hen raise the chicks

    • You certainly have a good storyline going on in you flock. I’m not surprised that it’s the Polish who is the oddball.

    • It´s great watching hen and roosters raise the chicks. Yes. ROOSTERS. Here the mother and father raised together. Now, the mother left them (it was about time. They´re 3 months old), but the father still look after them. Send them to bed, help looking for bugs, give some heat (they stay under his wings) and scare predators. Bob is an angel. The best father a hen can wish for her chicks.

      • Renata, it sounds like you have a perfect flock. Maybe you could send your rooster to Jonathan’s for awhile to teach his chickens how to behave!

  9. re jonathan’s comment . . . ‘whistling girls and cackling hens will always come to some bad end ‘ – keep an eye on her! but this is interesting. i will check and see what language wisconsin chickens talk in and let it be known.
    do you think instead of cackle cackle cackle they might say packer packer packer?

  10. Jean Thank you she has been doing this periodically for over 6 months, she looks healthy eats and drinks well, and she lays at least 3 to 4 eggs a week… I was concerne at first but, she did stop for a while when I got a rooster< and then when he died she started again she isnt even the head hen… My jersey giant is the matriarch of the group, she will even mount the other girls… I have a peculiar lot!

  11. I have always been fascinated in what a chicken says also, but mainly what roosters say. In the Philippines, a rooster crows, “tok-ti-low. Low as in, “Ow, I hurt my toe!.”

  12. My favorite sound is the quiet boop boops I get when they are in bed and I close them in its the sweetest little good night sound, not like the morning screams to open the door

  13. One of my favorite things about chickens is the surprising variety of noises they make. There is a soft volumed low keening sound that mine make when a hawk soars high overhead. They know they are safe under the table and chairs on the deck. Sometimes other hens join in this keening and they have quite a conversation about it. It can go on for a while. I have witnessed this only a few times. Also love the goodnight boops and the Bachs. I have a Polish hen who now and then just screams for no apparent reason. It is an amazing loud, deep sound that should come from a much bigger bird, like a heron or a stork.

  14. I love the evening bedtime chatter that the young pullets make when they settle down to sleep. I had 2 Mille Fleurs that made noises that sounded a bit like popcorn popping. When they were old enough to go in the big girl coop it stopped.

    Now I have a quartet of 9-week olds consisting of 2 Old English, 1 silver Leghorn, and 1 Appenzeller, They are inseperable and when they get up on the perch at bedtime they make 4 different soft noises,,,beeps, whirring, tweets, purrs. I think its their evening song.

  15. I agree that the “bedtime chicken lullaby” (as I call it) is delightful and one of the most endearing sounds there is. That’s one reason why I prefer a walk-in coop – so that you can step in with them and listen to their contented evening song.

  16. Hmm I don’t know mine must have not gotten the lullaby memo, at night time when they go into the house, the scream and sound like the dinosaurs they evolved from…

  17. I am original hungarian-there the roosters says:kukkuriku!
    Chikens: kot-kot-kot-kot-kotkodaaach!
    Little chiks says: chip-chip-chip

    • Gizi, thank you for sharing that! I think it is so interesting how other languages/countries interpret the sounds animals make!

    Get over here you dumb old man and scare that coopers hawk away that’s sitting on the perimeter fence staring at us. ;-)
    Yep, I think migration and the this years young are on their own, I have one that torments my chickens all day long. THEY ARE BACK!!

  19. My niece learned this joke in Guatemala —
    Había un gato, un gallo, y un pavo al lado de un río.
    El gato se cayó en el agua y dijo: “¡me ahogo! ¡me ahogo!”
    El gallo dijo: “¿Qué querés que haga? ¿Qué querés que haga?”
    Y el pavo respondió: “¡Sacálo! ¡Sacálo! ¡Sacálo!”

      • There was a cat, a rooster and a turkey on the edge of a river.
        The cat fell in the water and said “I’m drowning” (Spanish sounds like a meow)
        The rooster said “What do you want me to do about it?” (Spanish sounds like a cackadoodle doo). In Spanish, roosters say quiquiriquí
        And the turkey said “Get him out!” (Spanish sounds like a turkey gobble)

  20. In Portuguese (Brazil) chicken says Có-có-có-có. Roosters: Cocoriacó. Chicks says piu-piu-piu-piu

  21. My hens say “whonk, whonk, whonk” most of the time and the egg song is “baaach, bach, bach, bach, bach, bGAWK!” We had to give away our rooster when he started saying “Rocka Rocka ROOOOO” really loudly.

  22. Terri, We are looking at the barn cam, and it looks like some type of animal is in your feeder. My co-worker couldn’t see if it was a squirrell, weasel, or what type of animal it was.

    • That is the bad bunny eating the chicken food! She also eats rabbit pellets, hay and greens. She’s fattening up for the winter! Phoebe is putting on quite the winter fur coat and layer of fat.