So you've taken the leap, bought the chickens, and now you're dreaming about all the fresh eggs and other benefits your new coop will bring you. But, now you are wondering: who knew chickens could be so noisy? Don't worry, you're not alone. Navigating the noise of domestic chicken flocks is one of the most frequently searched questions for prospective backyard farmers, but luckily the problem isn't insurmountable.
When it comes to deciding what birds fit your needs, research is key. Certain breeds, like the free-range loving Ancona, are hardy and intelligent, but tend to be pretty vocal. Calmer breeds, like the tenacious Australorp or the beautiful and broody Orpington, are quieter, and might be a better fit for your home coop. Whatever the breed, roosters will always be louder, and they can create drama in your flock.
Time and Reason
Many breeds of chicken are naturally quiet, but even these birds will speak up if given a reason. Pay attention to the sounds your birds are making and when. Chickens will often make an excited noise when laying an egg, or cluck busily after laying as though to announce her accomplishment. They are also much more vocal when they feel in danger, so heightened noise levels may mean that your birds are uneasy. Make sure you're providing them with a safe shelter they can retreat to when they feel threatened. Which brings us to the next point.
Depending on the breed, your chickens will likely need 12 to 14 hours of light in order to lay, but providing a sheltered, safe-feeling space for them to retreat is just as important as giving them access to the outdoors. Nervous chickens are noisy chickens, so if your birds are constantly clucking, it might be that they're telling you they don't like their coop.
As with all aspects of backyard farming, it's important to know the rules. Look into your local sound ordinances, or any specific restrictions your area may have on raising chickens. You don't want to literally bet the farm on keeping your coop a secret, only to have the chickens themselves give it away. Additionally, many localities have laws against owning roosters but not hens, so make sure to study up!