There’s no doubt about it, chickens are making a comeback in people’s backyards. And I for one am happy about that! But their return has shown that we have lost what used to be common knowledge. Things that everyone knew, such as how loud chickens can be, has to be relearned. In the following, we will dive in to the ‘noisy’ subject and hopefully fix the learning curve.
First and foremost, certain chickens can be very noisy. How loud? Annoyingly LOUD! If you live in a small area, such as a city lot, then the wrong kind of bird is sure to annoy your neighbors and probably drive you nuts as well. However, with the right kind of bird and careful attention to the bird’s living space, then your neighbor might actually appreciate the occasional batch of delicious eggs.
Opinions will vary from owner to owner, but there are a few chicken breeds that really set themselves apart when it comes to being the best at being quiet.
1) Ameraucana. There is more than one variation of this breed, but whatever the coloring, everyone seems to agree that this bird is great for not annoying the neighbors. Ameraucana’s are more expensive than some of the other birds, but not so bad when you consider the price of ‘peace and quiet’. As an added bonus, these birds lay eggs that are different from the standard brown – which is kind of a neat novelty among chicken owners.
2) Buff Orpington. Another chicken with more than one choice of coloring, the standard brown breed is quite affordable and has quiet characteristics. This bird is very common with the backyard farmer as it has a docile temperament and good egg production.
3) Barred Plymouth Rock. This bird, more commonly known as the ‘Barred Rock’ comes in their trademark black and white plumage and is a great addition to any backyard flock. It’s an affordable bird with great egg-laying characteristics.
It is good to note that while these three breeds are known for quiet behavior, you sometimes get a bird that doesn’t conform (think, ‘didn’t get the memo’). Occasionally, there will be a bird with real personality and while they may be loud, they almost always are remembered for their antics.
Any backyard bird with the right personality can be a noisy nuisance. But there is one bird that is guaranteed to annoy your neighbors – the Guinea.
While worlds apart from the standard chicken, the Guinea fowl is making its way into the flocks of wannabe farmers all over. This bird’s vocalization will redefine your understanding of loud and, quite possibly, annoying. Also, with the bird being a very capable flier and a tendency to ignore the coop, this bird is not an ideal addition to anyone with limited space.
There is no such thing as a quiet rooster. I’ve heard tales of this rare quiet bird, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who has actually seen one. (Might as well chalk that up to another feathered-fiction.) And it doesn’t seem to matter what breed of chicken your rooster is. Bottom line, if you live in an area where you are hoping to go unnoticed, then don’t get a rooster.
Also worth noting, roosters don’t just crow at first light. They’ll crow anytime there is daylight and they’ll do it all day long. And they can crow loud too! Our neighbors, who live about ¼ mile away, have a rooster. We have no problems hearing that bird when we’re outside.
Roosters are definitely not meant for life in the city!
Which Is Louder, A Chicken Or A Dog?
A rooster’s piercing crow can really travel. So when it comes to who can be heard the farthest, a rooster will be louder than a barking dog every time.
However, this is not true of the average hen. So if you have flock with no rooster, then your chickens will be considerably quieter than a dog. A dog’s bark has a much larger volume compared to a hen’s regular clucking. That’s not to say a hen won’t squawk loudly from time to time – usually in alarm – but the average everyday life of a hen is one you probably won’t hear much of.
One thing to note about noise is that more people are used to dog sounds than they are chicken sounds. For some, the only time they’ve ever heard a chicken is on TV. Familiar sounds are easier to tune out. So don’t be surprised if your neighbors notice your backyard flock over a noisy dog, as chicken sounds are something new to them.
Some cities are familiar with the chicken issue and have specific ordinances saying that you can or can not have chickens. For some cities, however, this might be an entirely new situation. The latter poses a scenario where you could find yourself at the mercy of someone who recently read an article about chickens carrying Salmonella and is less than keen on your dreams of garden fresh eggs. In that situation, regardless of how unfair it might feel, legal or illegal may be determined by someone’s personal preference. So resolve yourself ahead of time. Justifiable or not, you will have to respect the city’s or township’s decision.
In our case, however, we live outside the city limits. This obviously makes it less convenient for our daily needs: groceries, gas, ect. Living outside of the city adds travel time to pretty much everything. But in return for that inconvenience, we are able to raise animals without disrupting the daily lives of our neighbors. Point of fact, every single house around us has either chickens, dogs or goats…and sometimes both!
Be conscientious of your surroundings and please use some personal judgment when contemplating raising chickens. This will help prevent any unwanted heartache to you and your family.
Should I Raise Chickens?
Obviously, this is a question with a whole host of variables unique to your situation. So try breaking it down into smaller parts.
1) What kind of bird is my heart set on?
- Is this breed of chicken a good fit for my situation?
- Will I be able to properly address the bird’s needs?
2) What do I expect to get from having chickens?
- Am I looking for companionship?
- Am I looking for eggs?
- Am I looking to fill my freezer with meat? (If yes, then can you properly dispose of the carcass?)
- Am I looking for basic pest control?
3) Does my schedule allow me to let the birds out of the coop in the morning and put the birds back at night? (This is extremely important for predators, even the ones in the city)
4) Does my space allow for more than one chicken? (A single chicken is a lonely and stressed chicken)
With these questions, you should be well on your way to understanding whether or not you should raise chickens.
On a personal note, we’ve been raising chickens for a while now and I can tell you there are many positives to having chickens. Of course, it hasn’t always been fun, but once a hen gets to a certain age, they really don’t require a lot of effort.
I’d say raising chickens is comparable to raising a dog, with regards to general needs such as food and water. However, you will never have to walk your chicken (a youtube worthy thought) and you still get fresh eggs to enjoy and share with friends.