There is a lot of misconception surrounding backyard chickens. While others are true, some are just hearsay and speculations. So, I don’t get surprised when I hear different people ask are backyard chickens noisy? Whether this is an assumption or a fact, we will find out the truth.
So, are backyard chickens noisy? In general, all chickens are relatively peaceful and quiet animals. And this is the same case with backyard chickens which spent most of their time foraging in their coop during the day. While doing so you will hear them clucking and cackling occasionally particularly when laying eggs or feeding.
What of the roosters? More often than not, you may come across roosters making a lot of noise that is annoying to some extent. Luckily enough, you don’t need them for your hens to lay eggs. This explains why several communities have avoided raising roosters in their backyards. At least, their decision to do away with roosters has helped reduce the noise significantly.
Different Breeds Can Make Backyard Chickens Noisy!
Different people have mixed feelings about raising backyard chickens. While others are of the idea of keeping these chickens, some are skeptical for various reasons, noisy is one of them. Such people think that the chickens’ crows and squawking will become a nuisance to their peace and quiet lifestyle.
Contrary to their thoughts, most chicken breeds are very gentle and quiet animals. The most you can hear about them is a yelp of their excitement after laying eggs or panic when faced with dangerous situations. This is quite normal especially among different species of birds. Anything beyond that needs some scrutiny to establish the main cause of that behavior.
However, different noise levels from chickens tend to vary with individual breeds. Most significantly, a number of popular backyard chicken breeds are perfectly peaceful apart from occasional clucks when laying eggs or foraging in the backyard.
This is to say that most chickens raised in the backyard are virtually undetectable and are likely to get vocal only when they’ve just laid eggs. Otherwise, their noise won’t last for long to the point of upsetting your neighbors or your family members.
It is correct to say that some breeds are noisier than others but this depends on different situations besides those mentioned above. Despite being noisy, the loudest breeds have more or less the same decibel levels equivalent to that for human conversations.
This is something close to 60 or 70 decibels utmost. When compared to the dogs’ barks (which can go as high as 90 decibels), backyard chickens cannot be regarded as noisy animals as such.
But for every rule, there is an exception. Even though most of the chickens are quiet and gentle, the roosters are something else. These male birds will constantly crow all day long and this can be annoying for some people. That is why most backyard chicken keepers avoid them to minimize cases of noise in their residential places.
Different Chicken Noises and What they mean
Surprisingly, chickens are capable of producing well over 24 distinct sounds or calls. If you think this statement has surprised you more, then you should brace yourself for yet other interesting facts about different sounds produced by chickens.
Each sound has its own meaning and researchers have come up with interesting facts about this strange phenomenon in chickens. So, here is a compilation of different noises made by chickens and what they mean:
The Egg Noise
The egg noise comes out as the most common vocalizations that everyone has heard on several occasions. Basically, this is the happy crackling noise that your hen makes after laying an egg successfully.
It is like some sort of a celebratory song to welcome a new egg. The noise is usually initiated by that particular hen that has just laid an egg and then joined shortly by other hens around her to make it sound like some sort of orchestra.
The egg noise can go on for a certain period especially when more layers are involved at the same time. Perhaps this explains better why this type of noise is referred to as “Egg Song”.
Normally a slight variation on this song may occur where the nest box has been taken away. In retaliation, the hen that is preparing for her nest box would start to make what may sound like an urgent egg noise rendition.
This refers to the noise made by chickens under different circumstances. For instance, your backyard flock will start making this noise the moment you step your foot in their coop. Maybe they do so as a way to show you that you are an intruder who is infringing their living space.
On the other hand, chickens can make this type of noise when they are locked in their pen for too long than usual. The same is true when they are taken back to their shelter for the night. If you are keen enough, you may hear their trills, murmurings and contented sounds.
Broody Hens and their Grumbles
If you have come across a broody hen, then you are quite familiar with their grumbles. This happens so often when the hens are about to sit on their eggs in order to hatch. These broody hens will always grumble when they feel that you are about to invade their territories. Of course, these hens have all the right to defend their eggs because they are in the processing of becoming “mothers” once the eggs hatch.
As a matter of fact, they are likely to get physical if you don’t heed their early warning through endless grumbles. This is the moment broodies become bad-tempered and spend most of their time clucking constantly and urgently. They even become hostile to other hens and are ready to pick a fight if challenged.
Any time you see your flock of backyard chickens free-ranging you may hear what sounds like low murmurings. This is actually a sign of contentment that your chickens display while moving around, looking for food. Also, close observation will reveal to you that chickens range close to each other in a bid to communicate effectively in case one of them raises the alarm.
Chickens, especially hens have evolved to make very sophisticated ranges of sounds when they sense danger. Some of the distinct sounds they make may include calls for ground or aerial predators. For that reason, you should always be on the lookout whenever you hear your chickens making urgent crackling sounds while they appear to be very agitated.
In most cases, you may not be able to know where the danger is coming from but is prudent that you apply the necessary precautions to protect your flock. Your presence alone can deter most predators thus saving your chickens in the process.
A Hen and her Chicks
Hens and chicks seem to be communicating constantly while moving around. This type of communication is evident right when the chicks are still unhatched. You may always see your hen clucking and purring softly while sitting on her eggs or notice it moving them from spot to another under her. As time goes by, the unborn chicks pick out their mother’s voice from other hens.
Studies have shown that mother hens are able to modify the way they teach their chicks based on their aptitude and understanding. That is why you should not be surprised to find those chicks separated from their mother hens making distinctive sounds while searching for their mothers. In the process, the mother hen will instantly recognize the sporadic ‘whimpering” of their distressed chicks and rush to save them.
Apart from that, hens make a soft and unique sound to alert her chicks of imminent danger. In response to this warning, you will see the chicks freezing in position or scampering for safety. Sometimes the mother hen uses a low-pitched clicking sound to warn the chicks to stay still.
In short, soft peeps or trills made by chicks show that they are contented or happy with their immediate environment. But high pitched beeps indicate that there is something wrong about the well-being of the chicks.
This is an interesting thing to watch and listen to especially when mother hens are calling their chicks to share some food. Automatically the chicks or other chickens will know that they are being summoned to have a share of their favorite meals. This type of sound is only used exclusively for special moments such as treats.
Do you need roosters in your backyard? It depends on your decision but roosters are not necessary, especially when you are keeping layers only. This is because layers don’t need roosters to produce eggs.
What is the best way of keeping your backyard chickens contented to reduce noises? The only effective way of keeping your chickens contented is to provide them with a good chicken coop. This way, your chickens will feel secure and satisfied and in return, you will not hear their consistent squawks of irritation.
Backyard chickens are known to be quiet and peaceful but can become a little bit noisy for a number of reasons. As such, you can listen to the type of noise they make and understand why they are doing so. After all, chickens are just like other animals and will make different noises according to different situations.
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Backyard Chickens FAQ