When I first started keeping chickens in my backyard, I always wondered if the neighbors would come complaining about the noise.
One of the major concerns for any aspiring backyard chicken keeper is noise. Noise from chickens can be a nuisance in urban and suburban areas. In some localities, there are laws that keep urban and auburn poultry keepers from keeping noisy chicken.
Chicken can be noisy due to several factors including the breed of the chicken, gender of the chicken, space requirements for the chicken, danger, and stress.
Before looking at chicken breeds that are dominantly quiet, let us look at reasons why chickens make noise.
Reasons why backyard chickens can be noisy
- Genetic makeup
Not all chickens are created equal. Some chickens are created to be calm and quiet while others are noisy and aggressive. In most chicken breeds, temperament and noise go hand in hand.
- Space requirements
Chickens need space. Though there are standard space requirements for chicken, the amount of space also depends on the breed of chicken. If space is not enough, chickens will feel claustrophobic. They will make noise to register their complaint. They will also make noise as they warn other chickens not to get into their personal space.
There is no gender equality when it comes to chicken and noise. Male chickens, popularly known as roosters are noisy. They will make louder noises than hens when they flock in danger.
Roosters will also crow loudly at preset times, mostly at 3 am, 3 pm, 12 noon, 10 am. Talk of the rooster biological clock. Sometimes roosters will also crow when they feel like crowing. Neighbors might be annoyed by roosters crowing, considering the noise to them a nuisance and interruption to their sleep.
The primary reason that roosters crow is not to announce the time, but to notify the flock and other neighboring chickens that all is well and safe. That life is good, free from danger and hens can continue with their daily chores.
When chickens face danger, whether real or imagined, they will make noise. Roosters leading the choir, as their genetic mantra is to serve and protect. Chickens will make warning noises to tell others that they should be alert and take cover.
Happy chickens are quiet chickens. When chickens face any form of stress, they become noisy. Maybe this is to notify the backyard chicken keeper that they are not meeting their end of the bargain.
Stress in chicken can be emotional, physical, and psychological. If you want quiet happy chicken, make sure you address any issues that might be causing them stress.
- Flock Dynamics
The mix and match of breeds can be a factor to consider when looking to keep a quiet flock in your backyard. Some chicken breeds will not live with other chicken breeds and one breed might seek to be the dominant one.
A change in the delicate pecking order can lead to noisy fights and the chickens work on establishing order. Change in the pecking order can be brought about by the introduction of a new chicken in the flock or the removal of a member of the flock.
The best quiet chicken breed for the backyard.
Dealing with the factors that make chicken noisy can be helpful in keeping peace with the neighbors and the law. However, you cannot deal with the genetic factors that predispose chickens, based on breed and gender to be either quiet or noisy.
Selecting the chicken breeds that are quiet and mitigating stress-causing elements will help you deal with the noise factor in chicken.
While the list of quiet chicken breeds is not conclusive, the following chicken breeds are known to be quiet and fit to be kept in the backyard.
- Buff Orpington
Orpingtons are a gentle chicken breed that is friendly and quiet. Expect them to hop on your lap once in a while. They will let you pick them up, without making a sound. They easily become pets and most backyard poultry keepers will find it hard to let them go when the time comes.
In addition to being good egg layers and yielding good quality meat, Buff Orpingtons is one the quiet breeds to keep if you are concerned about annoying your neighbors and being at peace with the law.
Buff Orpingtons will fit well in the confined spaces in your backyard. Neighbors will hardly notice them unless you tell them.
- Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock is another good chicken breed to add to your list when choosing the breed to keep in your homestead.
Expect Plymouth Rock chickens not to disturb your neighbors, in addition to being consistent eggs layers and yielding good amounts of meat.
- Rhode Island Red
Bred primarily for egg production, Rhode Island Reds have become popular around the world, not only for their egg production but also for their gentle and quiet nature.
They will squat when you attempt to pick them up, letting you hold them without making noise or putting up a fight.
If your intention is enjoying a lot of eggs from your backyard, while keeping it a secret from your potentially nosy neighbors, the quiet Rhode Island Red hens should be high up in your list of backyard chickens to keep.
- Silkies (and other bantams)
Bantam chickens are quieter than their full-sized chickens. They are primarily kept as pets since they do not lay a lot of eggs or produce huge quantities of meat.
Bantams, like silkies, are gentle and quiet. Your neighbors might never notice them at all, as long as you keep them well-fed and happy. The silkies of course, not the neighbors.
- Sussex Chickens
Sussex chickens have been reported to make a little noise while demanding treats. They are gentle and will follow you around the backyard, expecting you to handover some treats.
As long as you keep Sussex chickens happy with enough feed and treats, expect them to be quiet enough not to annoy the neighbors or put you on the wrong side of the law. Think of it as a bargain, you give us treats, we give you eggs and promise not to be noisy.
- Wyandotte Chickens
Wyandotte hens will be quiet as long as you provide them with enough space. When it comes to noise levels, wyandottes are quieter when kept in a run with enough space rather than confined in a coop. If their nesting spaces are invaded, wyandottes will not shy from protesting loudly.
For you to enjoy keeping wyandottes in your backyard without getting complaints from neighbors, provide them with enough space. This is space for laying eggs and also space to roam around.
- Australorp Chickens
Australorp hens are known to chatter quietly as they go through the day. Unless faced with danger or stress, Australorp chickens will not make loud noises as they focus on their daily tasks and laying their delicious brown eggs.
- Barred Rock Chickens
Barred rocks is a quiet dual-purpose breed that is ideal for backyard and urban poultry keepers. Apart from the delightful egg songs, barred rocks will not make noise that can annoy town dwellers.
- Brahma Chickens
Brahma Chickens are known as the gentle giants for one reason, their size, and silence. They will not make a lot of noise, making them an ideal chicken to keep in your backyard. This is in addition to their more than enough yield of meat.
Brahmas are known to be so gentle and quiet that they get bullied by other smaller breeds.
For good meat yield from your backyard, Brahma chickens are the right choice that will not be a nuisance to your neighbors.
- Easter Eggers
Easter eggers are relatively quiet chicken, with one caveat. They can be noisy during laying times. If you want to enjoy blue colored eggs, easter eggers are the chicken breed to keep.
As a backyard chicken in suburban or urban areas, you might need to find a solution for the noise when it comes to laying time. This might be soundproofing your coop or sharing the blue eggs with the neighbors, in exchange for their peace.
While keeping chickens for eggs and meat in urban and suburban areas is the best thing for you to do for eggs and meat for your consumption, it has its challenges. One of the challenges is noise.
This can be solved by carefully choosing the right chickens to keep. Stay away from roosters of any breed as they tend to be noisy. Choose a chicken breed that is quiet, docile. Provide the right environment for the chickens and they will not bother you with noise.