Living Homegrown

- The Podcast -

Live farm fresh

without the farm®

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

LH 129: Understanding the Behavior of Backyard Chickens

How to Better Understand Your Backyard Chickens

If we understand the behaviors and mannerisms of our pets, we can have a better relationship with them.

And so it is with chickens! Everything they do (and say) has meaning.

In this week’s episode, I invite author Melissa Caughey to teach us a thing or two about our chickens and their personalities.

You will learn:

  • That chickens are smarter than we realize
  • How they communicate without sounds
  • The main factor that determines pecking order
  • The role of the sentinel in your flock
  • Why your hens all cackle at once
  • The sound they make as greeting
  • Why chickens might growl and why
  • And other interesting facts about our feathered friends

Melissa Caughey:

Chicken Behavior in Backyard Flocks with Melissa Caughey at LivingHomegrown.comMelissa Caughey is a nurse practitioner, backyard chicken keeper, beekeeper, Master Gardener, crafter and cook. She proudly contributes to HGTV, DIY Network, Angie’s List, Grit Magazine, Community Chickens and Keeping Backyard Bees. She travels the country presenting on chicken keeping, bee keeping, gardening and crafting at the Country Living Magazine Fairs and the Mother Earth News Fairs.

Her first book, A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens, and her website have won multiple awards including The Blue Ribbon Blogger Award from Country Living Magazine, Top 10 Gardening Blogs by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine in 2014 and 2016.

A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens has won the 2016 Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award and the 2016 American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) /Subaru Science Book &Film–Prize for Excellence in Science Books. Her second book, How to Speak Chicken, was recently released. She currently calls Cape Cod, MA home, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of animals.


Resources & Links Mentioned:

Tilly’s Nest – Melissa’s website

How to Speak Chicken * – Melissa’s book

A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Chickens * – Melissa’s first book


Other Related Episodes You Might Like:

Podcast 84: Raising Backyard Ducks

Podcast 76: Becoming a Backyard Organic Egg Farmer

Podcast 32: Chickens & Your Garden



Click here for the full transcript for Episode #129

*denotes an affiliate link

Enjoy this podcast?

Sign up for updates & receive my free Canning Resource Guide

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.


  • Laura R says:

    What a wonderful podcast! After working each week in a crazy corporate environment and spending hours commuting each day, I recently learned how soothing it is to drink a up of tea sitting on the stoop of my chicken house watching my hens every weekend. Now I will be able to decipher what my girls are saying! Thank you for another great podcast to add to my listening enjoyment every day!

  • Ted Warren says:

    Great podcast. If you ever get a chance go to P. Allen Smith’s poultry day each spring & fall @ his Moss Mountain Farm just outside of Little Rock, AR. He is preserving the Heritage breeds for the homestead use.

  • jeff r says:

    This is one of my favorite podcasts!! I have not yet obtained a copy of the Speak Chicken book yet. My chicken anecdote is that one period where I had not a rooster, one of my hens actually mimicked a rooster crow. Puts a new twist on the “sentinel” hen, eh?

    • theresa says:

      Totally Jeff! I’ve heard of that before. It really interesting how one of the chickens would take the job so seriously. 🙂

  • Leave a Comment:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *