Troubleshooting Your Cuckoo Clock 61

Most problems that occur with cuckoo clocks are easy fixes that you can perform yourself. Below are the most common ones, with videos for troubleshooting your cuckoo clock.


Does your cuckoo stop ticking? Does it not keep time?



Is your cuckoo not cuckoo-ing?



Is the hour hand loose?


How to Properly Pack Your Clock for Shipping

It’s difficult to see this on this video, but it’s very important: Be sure to run the wire through four links (on a non-musical, six on a musical) of the chain, close to the bottom of the clock. It’s hard to see this most important detail in the video. That way you’ll catch both chains coming and going, so they can’t fall off the sprocket inside, necessitating a trip to the Clock Doc.
Also, catch the loop that the pendulum hangs on with the wire. That will keep it from banging around inside and possibly getting things out of whack.

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61 thoughts on “Troubleshooting Your Cuckoo Clock

  • Don Yarber

    I paid $400 last year for a new movement for my Black Forrest Cuckoo clock. It runs fine when it is running. Problem is it stops randomly, but always in one of two places, either 5 minutes before the hour or 25 minutes past the hour. I suspect it has something to do with the linkage, but can find no visual problem.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Don,

      I betcha it’s an easy fix that you can do yourself. Give Keith Seabolt a call next week. He’s The Clock Shop in Cleveland, GA. 770-219-3556. I’m going to see him at the end of the week as he has a batch of my Backyard Birds clocks. I’ll ask him what the fix was. Then I’ll be able to answer. My goal is to have a whole lot more here on my site so people can solve little issues like this quickly. And videos if need be. I’m uploading my first one, unpacking and setting up your cuckoo clock, right now.

      Thanks for asking!


      • Don Yarber

        Hi: Thanks for your post. I didn’t see it until this morning. I took the clock back to the repairman who had installed the new works, and he did an adjustment. It worked fine for the first month or so, no it is right back to doing the same thing.

  • Jay Reed

    My cuckoo clock is approx 12 years old. The pendulum works perfectly but the hands (both hour and minute) have just recently stopped.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Since you’ve had the clock that long I strongly suggest you get it to a cuckoo doc to have to cleaned. He or she can get the hands issue taken care of at the same time. In fact, the two could be related. If you like i can recommend my guy Keith Seabolt of The Clock Shop in Cleveland, GA, but that will probably mean you have to send him the clock. But he is one of if not the top clock doc in the country. Thanks for asking!


  • Janet Lee

    Twice now my clock has started cuckoo ing and not stopped! I had to stop the pendulum to make it stop. This last time I counted 24 cuckoos before I stopped it. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Janet,

      Would you mind calling Keith the cuckoo doc? He is most definitely the clock whisperer and will be able to pinpoint what’s going on over the phone. 706-219-3556. Eastern time



    My Cuckoo clock is many years old (35 or so). It run fine except for one thing. At times it will only cuckoo once at Eleven or tweve o’clock. When this happens at one it will cukoo 12 times. This is not consistent. It has been doing this for several years. Many times it cuckoos correctly at these times. I have had the clock apart and could not see anything the could be getting in the way of the mechanism.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Larry,

      I am by no means a clock doc, not even a cuckoo nurse practitioner. But I wonder if your clock’s movement needs cleaning. If you want to DIY it you can Google it. If not, take it to a local clock doc. You’re welcome to call my clock doc Keith Seabolt who will give you his very learned opinion of what’s going on. He’s the best! 706-219-3556


    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Mary,

      I’m not sure if this is a do-it-yourself repair or requires the help of a cuckoo doc. Now that my first musical clock is about to debut (The American Barn cuckoo Clock, eta end of May) I need to get up to speed on music boxes!

      If you’ve had the clock a long time I’d suggest you take it in for a good cleaning. The doc could then address this issue. Do you have a local clock doc?

      Let me know if I can be of more help,


  • Kurt Brown

    The clock runs fine. But a minute before the hour, The music movement will start, and continue to play for about a minute, until the bird comes out, and is done…Then the music will the stop to. But only AFTER the bird comes out.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Kurt,

      I’m not well-versed in musical clocks yet as I don’t offer one. (Yet. In May I will so I’ll be getting up to speed on them.) But it sounds like it could be just a simple teak since everything is working, just not in the correct order.

      This link isn’t the answer to your question, but if you want to troubleshoot the clock yourself, you can search and post here. Probably a good idea just in case it is something you can do yourself.

      If not, you’ll need to get a cuckoo doc involved. Most likely you have one locally. If not I recommend Keith Seabolt, The Clock Shop in Cleveland Georgia.

      Best of luck,


    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Catherine,

      Sounds as though something has happened to the linkage that opens the door. Since I haven’t sold but one clock in the UK (and your name doesn’t sound familiar, so I assume this isn’t my clock?) I don’t have someone I know to send you to. Is this a Schneider clock? I can find out who their warranty people are closest to you. Or you can call your local clock doc. If it’s an older clock you’d be wise to take it in for cleaning anyway.

      Thanks for asking!


  • Shelby Case

    i love my cuckoo clock. it stopped and i replaced the batteries. since then the cuckoo adds 2 cuckoos to every hour and once set the hands don’t move.. Please help as i really enjoy this gift i received this past Christmas

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Shelby,

      That’s wonderful that you love your clock!

      Since I don’t design or sell battery operated (quartz) “cuckoo” clocks I don’t have any experience with a clock such as yours. Mine are all the original weight driven cuckoo clocks with Regula movements. My suggestion is that you look for your warranty or go to the manufacturer’s web site and find out what to do. You could also ask good old Google. You might even find a video to help.

      Good luck!


  • Mukund Joshi

    I have a Cuckoo clock purchased from Black forest in Germany 3 years ago. The clock is having 3 chains and is with 8 days movement. It was working fine but couple of months back, the chain associated with musical part where the disc having dancing couple rotates on the music has been stuck. However the clock and cuckoo is working normally. Kindly advise how to resolve this issue.

  • Les

    We have a Black Forest Cuckoo Clock.The pendulum keeps stopping but if we remove the pendulum wooden weight the pendulum arm will keep moving.Is there any possible explanation.
    Many thanks

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Les,

      Try moving the bob on the pendulum up to make the clock run faster. Make sure your clock is level front to back and side to side and that the pendulum and its wire aren’t rubbing on anything to slow it down. If that doesn’t work I can suggest a clock doc.
      Good luck!


  • Paul Goetz

    I have an Anton Schneider coukoo clock and the leaf on the pendulum comes loose all the time when I adjusted the clock I can’t adjust it the leaf always slips down. What can I do? This is my second one.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Paul,

      I’m not a cuckoo doc and only know my clocks, so I don’t have a experience with this. I’m sure you’ve tried bending the metal clips. Did you buy it from a clock source online? They should be able to help. Or you can contact a Schneider warranty doc. My go-to guy and the top Schneider doc in the country is Keith Seabolt The Clock Shop in Cleveland, GA. You can call him: (706) 219-3556.

      Good luck!


  • Mike

    My coo coo clock makes a rattlimg noise right before the music starts to play and the bird comes out. Then it plays just fine. What could cause this? I bout it from the Bradford exchange a year ago but has done it pretty much the whole time. I’ve kept the cop coo off. It has a lot of sentimental value so I didn’t want to return it. Any ideas how to fix this or what it could be?

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Mike,

      I only sell weight-driven clocks so I’m not sure if the movement and the music are different on a quartz clock. You should be able to get some help here:
      Otherwise it is certainly a warranty repair since it came out of the box that way. Do you have the original paperwork? If not there should be information on the Bradford Exchange web site.
      Good luck!

  • Roberta Schuelke

    Subject: Number of cuckoo tweets wrong

    I have a Dold Black Forest Clock. When it is 7:00 a.m. it only cuckoos 5 times. Likewise, at any hour it is 2 cuckoos behind the correct time. How do I fix this?

    Thank you for helping me with this,

  • Joan Vollmershausen

    We have an eight day clock which we purchased in Germany. The weight on the left hand side will not come down. There are three weights. The cuckoo comes out and girls dance in circle. I’m guessing I pulled the left weight up too far.
    Also the clock is losing time.
    Thank you for any help you can give me.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Oh no Joan! I expect the music isn’t playing and the girls aren’t dancing? Perhaps you knocked the chain off the sprocket? If so, it takes finesse to get it back on. Losing time is another issue. You can adjust the time by moving the bob on the pendulum up a bit to make it go faster. Just a mere 1/8″. Let it run fr a day and see if you need to do more. When did you have it to a doc? Might be time to just bite the bullet and get it cleaned and back in tip top order.


  • Melissa

    Hi. My chain for the cuckoo is stuck. I can’t get it to budge to wind the cuckoo. It used to work fine until recently when I went to wind it.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Melissa,

      Ugh. It has come off the sprocket. It usually happens if the chains aren’t secured before moving the clock, but can happen when the clock is wound. When I’m in a hurry to make my rounds in the morning I remind myself it’s not worth being hasty to get the clocks wound.

      I haven’t mastered the art of finagling the clock to get the chain back on. One of the videos on my to-do list is to have Keith the clock doc demo it. In the meantime, see what you can find online if you want to take a whack at it yourself. Otherwise, it’s an easy repair for a cuckoo doc.

      I’m so sorry this happened.


  • Matt Rust

    Thanks for the great info! I don’t think my question has been asked before. The third weight on my clock powers the dancers on top, and the water wheel in the bottom left. It should also play a tune. The weight doesn’t lower though. It’s been pulled all the way up and just sits there… What can I check/test to find the problem? Regula. G.M. 1884288 1892176. A 25-85

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Matt,

      Since I just got in my first clock with music I’m not expert on this. The chain could be off a sprocket. Or something else is stuck, keeping the music and therefore the actions from starting.
      Click on over to the National Watch and Clock Association web site. Your question may already be answered. If not I betcha a kind soul will help you.
      Best of luck!


  • Keith

    I have a one day movement I thinks its a Ludwig for sure not a regula older clock (has the big wheel in back that does the timing)with side door you can push in rod to change timing the problem is its not lifting the rod to advance the 1/2 hour so it does not advance to the hour I just tore out the movement cleaned real good and oiled everything no change. It looks like a cam in the front of movement operates the lifting motion.
    Maybe remove movement or remove face plate and bend that activation rod?

  • Richard Wingo

    I have a Black Forest Cuckoo clock I purchased from Busch Gardens about five years ago. Recently, I noticed that the left clock weight (facing the clock) is getting harder and harder to pull up. It feels like it is binding on something. Does it just need oil? Is a bushing going bad?

  • Judy York

    Hi Jodie,

    I bought a clock a couple months ago and started using it about 4 weeks ago. It worked fine up to last week where only one of the three pinecones would drop. The other two on the right side of the clock won’t lower. Why is this happening and what can I do to fix it? I love my clock and want to get it back up on the wall and cuckooing.

    Thank you,

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Judy,

      I don’t know what clock you have as the only clock I have with music is the Barn and you’re not on my customer list, but am assuming the left weights are for music. The first thing to check is if the clock is level. If it isn’t the pendulum will stop. Just tap it a bit one way or the other and get the pendulum going, then see if it keeps going. Then try again if not. Also, check to see if it’s snug against the wall, not tipping forward of the screw. One of my older clocks is tempermental that way. Oh, and you don’t have it by a heat duct or on a wall that gets banged by a door opening and closing?

      Good luck!


  • Mauricio Lacerda

    Hello- I have a Schwarzwald – Black Forest style chalet cuckoo clock and while it was off, the weights were accidentally pulled all the way to the top by a child.
    When turning it back on, the clock is running (pendulum swinging), but the weights are not dropping and the clock is not cuckoo’ing.

    Please advise!!

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Mauricio,

      Oh no! The chains most likely jammed the sprockets in the clock. You’re best bet, unless you’re handy, is to take it to a clock doc.
      Kids love cuckoo clocks but unfortunately they aren’t kid-proof!


  • Tony

    My wife’s clock a 2 chain clock works fine for a few hours weights both dropping then it will stop half way down stopping clock. She got clock in Germany and she never used because of this problem.

  • DeenaSam

    My husband just bought us a 1 day black forest coo coo from Germany. It was working just fine until we come back from a 4 day mini vacation. Now yhe right weight won’t move. Wr rewound the clock once we gor home then started the pendulum but the riight wright stays at the top and the left one still moves? Do you have any idea what cpuld be wrong and if it’s and easy fix we can do ourselves? We have only had it hung and running since the 1st week of oct!

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi DeenaSam,

      Since it’s new I suggest taking it to a clock doc under warranty. A list should have been included with your clock. He (or she) might even be able to help you over the phone. Either way, I’m sure it’s no big deal and you’ll be enjoying it again soon!


  • Scott Seitz

    I bought a 60 year old cuckoo clock.
    It cuckoo’s, but the door does not open, and bird does not come out.The wire running from the door to the bird is attached. The rod that the bird is seated simply does not move.
    Door opens fine by hand.

  • Scott

    Just unpacked our Black Forest clock and after hanging it, the cuckoo pops out on the half hour, completes half a call and stops and the door stays open. On the hour, it clicks but has no call but the music box plays and most of the ornaments turn and such. It keeps excellent time but th cuckoo seems cuckoo. Can you help. I live in Guam and can’t find a cuckoo clock repair shop on the island.

    Thank you

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Scott,

      The most common cause of this is the wire that makes the cuckoo bob is over his tail rather than under it. If that’s the case, gently move it under, where it should be.

      If not, you can play with the wire for the bellows, etc. and might find here one is out of place so it is catching on something.

      Good luck!