Are Chickens Noisy? What Breeds to Choose for Happy Neighbors.
Many suburban and city neighborhoods have voted to allow residents to keep a few chickens in the backyard. Are there quiet chickens that won’t disturb the neighbors? This was a recent question posed to me by a resident trying to get her town to allow chicken keeping. Generally speaking, I don’t find chickens noisy. Yes, roosters will crow, but most urban cities and suburban towns prohibit roosters, so that is not the concern. Hens will be more quiet than most dogs, as they go about their daily scratching and pecking.
The hen who is about to lay an egg or who has just accomplished her daily work, will cackle loudly. It’s as if the hen feels obliged to announce her good deed for all to hear. But it isn’t as loud as a rooster and the cackle ends quickly. Other than that and an occasional tiff between two want to be alpha hens, noise should not be a prohibiting factor.
Which Breeds are the Quiet Chickens?
Even among hens, some breeds tend to be more settled and less flighty than other chicken breeds. When looking for quiet chickens the first breed often named is the Buff Orpington. Buff Orpingtons rate high on many of the factors people are looking for in backyard poultry. They are quiet, docile, friendly and fluffy birds. Orpingtons often seek out their human caregivers by asking to be picked up with a submissive squat. They rarely become the mean girl in the bunch, and spend their days happily doing chicken stuff.
Other breeds often mentioned when seeking quiet chickens for the urban setting are Australorps, Wyandottes, Brahmas, Cochins, Barred Rock, Mottled Java (a breed currently on the Livestock Conservancy listing as in danger) Ameraucanas, and Rhode Island Red.
My personal favorite docile, quiet chickens have been the Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, Brahmas and Wyandottes.
When receiving input on this topic from other chicken owners, quite a few stated that their Easter Egger hens were the loudest ones they owned.
What is Normal Behavior Even for Quiet Chickens
In a flock without a rooster, it is common for one of the hens to assume the leadership of the flock. She may call the other chickens when treats are being given, or when danger is lurking. While not as loud and disturbing as a rooster crowing, the caution clucking is louder than normal activity clucking. This can be a warning to the chicken owner, as well, that something is wrong in the yard.
Another good resource for new or aspiring chicken owner is the local farm store where you might choose to purchase chicks. The staff or owner should be knowledgeable about which breeds would be a good choice for you.
If you order from a mail order hatchery, I have found the staff and personnel to be very helpful and informative, too. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and get prepared before you bring home the chicks. Having the brooder and the accessories set up before hand will start all new chicken owners off on the right foot.
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