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From the Bawk-tor
How can I stop my Rooster from crowing?
A common question people ask me is "Can I keep my rooster from crowing?" The bottom-line answer is - MAYBE. Most city urban areas that allow folks to keep chickens do not allow roosters. Roosters are noisy and annoy the neighbors. Most people in these settings have obtained the roosters as chicks, not realizing their gender until it is "too late" and they have become attached to them as pets. So, instead of eliminating them from the flock, they seek alternate means of fixing the issue. That is when I get the call.
De-crowing a rooster is not possible. The anatomy of the airway is not conducive to this. They do not have a "voice box" that can be removed or traumatized to reduce the sound. Instead, at the area where the trachea (wind-pipe) splits to go to each lung, there is a bit of a pinched area that helps the chicken create the well known sounds. This area is called the Syrinx. The tracheal tissue is very thin and delicate as well, and thus is very easily damaged.
Will NEUTERING my rooster stop the crowing? The answer to this question is, maybe. If a chick is "neutered", or in chickens, "Caponized", early in life, this may or may not work. Caponizing can be dangerous due to the arteries that supply the testicles, and the proximity of the testicles to the aorta, in the chicken. Testicles are located within the body cavity of birds, not externally as in most mammals. They sit right in front of (cranial to) the kidneys and adrenal glands and just under (ventral to) the aorta, and they are surrounded by intestines. An adult rooster can have testicles larger than a large pecan (in its shell), some even the size of a fully formed hen egg. The surgery is not easy in these guys and, if this option is pursued, a veterinarian who specializes in avian surgery should be consulted to do the procedure. If the bird is still young, say less than 16 weeks old, the procedure is a bit safer since the testicles are still comparatively small and vessels are easier to see. It is still risky however.
This fellow had smaller than normal sized testicles due to illness.
What about hormone implants, like Deslorelin? Again, for some Roos, this may reduce the crowing, but may not. The other problem is that it is only approved for use in Ferrets in the United States. When a veterinarian orders it from the company, we are stating that we are going to use it for ferrets, so ... Also, it is not approved for use in poultry of any kind. This is one of the safest methods but the legality is a big issue.
Okay, so I've heard about "Anti-crow collars". What about those? Anti-crow collars can be effective, if they stay on properly. The controversy with these, other than staying on, is with the humaneness of them. Are they cruel? Are they hurting the bird or causing other distress? Is the bird able to eat and drink properly with the collar on? All good, and yet still unanswered questions! They can work in the urban setting, and are a cost-effective option. You must make sure they are not too tight or causing other harm to your bird. See the YouTube video below for an example of a rooster with a no crow type collar and judge for yourself.