Are Chickens Too Noisy to Keep in the Backyard?

There are few things more satisfying than keeping your own chickens in your backyard and reaping the fresh eggs that they make every day. Not only are they delicious but hens (female chickens) are very friendly, outgoing and usually happy to be allowed to roam, which makes them a joy to keep.

One question many people do have about keeping chickens in their backyard, however, is simply if they make a lot of noise. In this article we’ll take a look at the facts about keeping your own chickens and answer the question; are backyard chickens noisy?


Do all chickens crow?

One fact about chickens that many people who live in the suburbs don’t know is that only rooster’s crows, not hens. Roosters are the male of the species and don’t lay eggs while hens are the female of the species and thus the egg layers. So if you hear a chicken crowing keep in mind that it is a rooster and not a hen.

Also, many people are under the impression that roosters crow only in the morning. The truth is, roosters tend to crow at all times of the day and all night long too, and for no real discernible reason. If you surprise them, a car drives by and other types of stimuli are introduced, a rooster will crow and, if there are more nearby, those will start to crow too.

There have even been serious studies done to determine why roosters crow and for what reason, with the results being that they seem to crow for a wide variety of reasons and not one in particular. While it was widely (mis)understood that roosters crow in the morning to announce the sunrise it was found that this was untrue. However, they do seem to crow more in the morning than at any other time.

For someone who is keeping chickens in their backyard for the eggs however this whole argument is moot since no roosters are needed to raise hens that lay eggs. And hens definitely do not crow, although they do cluck up a storm when they want to.


Is It Noisy to Keep Chickens?

Here’s a fact; at their very loudest, hens that are kept in a chicken coop in the backyard make noise at about the same level of sound as a human conversation. That noise level is between 60 and 70 decibels in most cases, which means that no, it really isn’t noisy at all to keep chickens unless you consider a normal conversation noisy.

On the other hand, if you decide to keep a rooster with your chickens for some reason, a rooster’s crow is about the same noise level as a dog’s bark or a small car’s horn, about 90 decibels. This is the reason why keeping chickens in the backyard is banned in some neighbourhoods by the HOA. In reality, however, a rooster crowing isn’t that loud unless you are standing right next to it and, even then, it’s not that much noise.

So no, it isn’t noisy to keep chickens and, in fact, it’s no noisier than having a conversation and so shouldn’t affect or upset anyone. In the mornings when hens make the most noise, it would be very difficult for most people to hear them or be bothered by them. When roosters crow the noise is certainly higher but still not all that bad and, frankly, some people enjoy the crow of a rooster in the morning and find it pleasant.


Are Chickens Noisy at Night?

Hens are definitely not noisy at night at all because that’s when they sleep. Unless they are woken up by something or attacked by a fox or other predator, there’s very little chance that you will ever hear hens at night. On the other hand, roosters do make noise at night when they crow, which can and often is at the earliest hours of the day.

This crowing by the rooster is usually for a short period of time and then they stop, so they don’t make noise all night by any means. However, if you were sleeping soundly and a rooster started crowing nearby it could certainly startle you or wake someone up.

So to answer that question, no, hens are almost never noisy at night but roosters can be noisy for short periods of time. As with some of the other questions, we’re answering here, the fact is that a rooster isn’t necessary to have hens that lay eggs. Unless you really love roosters and their crowing noise, which can be very annoying to some, there’s no need to have one in your backyard chicken coop.


Why Do Chickens Make Noise in the Morning?

There are many reasons that hens make a lot of noise in the morning. Some believe that they are trying to check and see which of their coop-mates are still there and safe. Some believe that hens like to ‘sing’ and that it makes it easier to lay their eggs. Then there are those who believe that hens make a lot of noise in the morning because they want to get out of their coop and run around.

The most likely reason however that hens make noise in the morning is simply that they are hungry and want to get the attention of their owner to feed and water them. Like most ‘farm animals, chickens are excitable and always looking for food. This is especially easy to see when you have chickens in your backyard and you go out in the morning to feed them.

As soon as the chickens (mostly hens we’re assuming) see their owner they start clucking like crazy, much the same as a dog that starts barking or a cat that starts meowing. Also, this quick rise in noise making and noise levels goes down just as quickly. Chickens make their noise, get their feed and then go about their day mostly in quiet peacefulness.

Roosters are another story, however. They make noise in the morning because, well, nobody really knows for sure. As we’ve already discussed, there have been actual scientific studies to determine why and when a rooster crows, and most have come back without any definitive answers.

So, to answer the question, yes chickens make noise in the morning but it isn’t a deafening amount of noise and it doesn’t last for a long time either. Hens make their clucking noise when they are excited and roosters crow because that’s what roosters do.


Are Female Chickens Loud?

The easy answer to this question is that, no, female chickens (hens) are not loud. When they are clucking at a normal range they are no louder than a human conversation in fact, which isn’t loud at all. Yes, in the morning it is possible for a lot of hens in a big coop to make a lot of noise but then it’s only for a short period of time and quickly subsides back to normal.

Again, this also depends on your definition of the word ‘loud’. If the air is still and calm, the racket that a flock of hens can make might be considered loud but, compared to the barking of a large dog, it really isn’t that bad at all.


Do Laying Hens Make a Lot of Noise?

Yes and no. While it is true that a hen laying an egg (or having just laid an egg) will cluck more and louder than usual, this only lasts for a moment or two and, even still, isn’t very loud. If you were to put a large flock of chickens together and they were all laying eggs at the same time it could be considered ‘loud’ depending on the circumstance but, compared to other animals, a small flock of hens is the opposite of loud, especially compared to dogs.


What are the Quietest Chickens? (Do all chickens make noise?)

Even though we’ve already determined that chickens, especially hens, are quiet animals, there are some breeds that are quieter than others. First off however is the fact that all chickens make noise, and roosters can make quite a bit of it. There isn’t any type of chicken that never makes noise and, at feeding time or when startled or frightened, any normal chicken can and will make a lot of noise.

Here’s a list of some of the quietest chickens (in no particular order).

  • Buff Orpington
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Cochin
  • Java
  • Australorp
  • Barred Rock Plymouth
  • Ameraucana


How To Keep Backyard Chickens Quiet?

There are a few ways to keep the noise level from your chicken coop lower if necessary where you live. Some of them are easier than others but all of them will help keep your chickens quieter and your neighbours happier.

Never keep a rooster. Roosters aren’t needed to have hens that lay eggs and because of that, there’s no reason to keep them around, especially since they make the most noise.Keep your chicken coop lower than your fence or backyard wall. In most cases that would be lower than 6 feet, although a coop that stands at about 5 feet will usually work best. The lower the better as this keeps their noises from traveling further.Keep a small flock. Unless you have a huge family and need a lot of eggs, there’s no reason to have more than 3 to 5 hens in your coop. Smaller flocks make less noise, obviously, so if it’s a possible problem keeping your flock small is the best solution.

We hope you enjoyed this article and that it answered all of your questions about our backyard chickens noise and why are chickens so noisy?. The fact is, they aren’t really that noisy and only in short bursts anyway (as long as you don’t keep a rooster). If you have any questions or would like to leave a comment please do so in the space provided.