Several years ago, I decided to get a chicken coop with a few hens and roosters. At the time, the thought of raising quiet, well-behaved family pets (that occasionally bring in a bit of extra cash) excited me.
But I was stumped a week after I got my chickens. All I could think was, “Why are my chickens so loud?”
I knew chickens were fairly talkative, but I didn’t expect them to make so much noise. That made me wonder, was I doing something wrong?
Is there any way to at least calm them down so my neighbors won’t knock on my door and complain?
Throughout my research, I’ve found several reasons why chickens are so loud. In this article, I listed my findings on why chickens are kicking up a racket and what to do about it, so stick around!
Reasons Why Your Chickens Are So Loud
It’s important to note that chickens can never truly be silent. If you want a silent farm animal, you’re better off with rabbits, quails, and mini cows.
Chickens will always make noise; it’s how they communicate with chicks and other chickens. There’s no humane way to stop them from clucking at each other.
With that said, the average flock rarely makes noise above a conversation level. So, if your chickens are noisier than normal, it might be a cause for concern.
Here are some of the most common reasons why your chickens are so loud.
1 – There’s a Predator in the Area
Chickens make loud clucking noises to warn their fellow chickens of potential predators. If one sounds the “warning alarm,” the rest will flee and hide in panic.
Roosters usually make these calls, but it isn’t rare to find a dominant hen doing the same if the rooster responsible isn’t in the general vicinity.
The warning noise a chicken makes depends on the predator in the area.
If the chicken notices a ground predator like a cat, fox, or wolf, it’ll make a repetitive clucking sound that progressively gets louder and faster.
If it’s an aerial predator like an eagle or a hawk, the chicken will make an air raid sound to warn other chickens to take cover.
Captured chickens make a panicked, high-pitched squawk that can be heard even while you’re inside the house. If you hear this noise, check your coop immediately as this might be a sign of a predator attack.
Make sure to carry something to defend yourself in case the animal terrorizing your chickens is large and dangerous.
2 – They’re Laying Eggs
Egg laying is a noisy affair. If you’re raising chickens for their eggs, egg-laying noises are the most common chicken noises you’ll hear. Healthy hens lay an egg once every 24 hours or so, so expect to hear this a lot!
Chickens become extra noisy when their favorite nest box is taken or if they’re waiting for an empty egg box. Some chickens are super impatient and would peck the other chicken out of their favorite egg box to lay eggs.
If two chickens want to use the same egg box, you’ll hear a lot of squabbling and squawking. Once the dominant chicken gets her way, the angry noise will quiet down and be replaced with egg noises.
Chickens also make a series of noises after laying their eggs. Hens sing these songs to let the rooster know they’re done.
These noises are called the egg song. Egg songs are a loud series of squawks, bucks, and shrill gawks.
3 – They Feel Claustrophobic
Claustrophobic chickens make a lot of noise. Although chickens love cuddling with each other during the night, they hate being confined during the day.
Once the sun is up, they want to get out of their coop as soon as possible. If left inside their coop for too long, the chickens will become distressed and let out long shrieking noises.
The same can happen if the coop is too small.
Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer as to how many square feet a chicken needs, it’s widely accepted that a chicken must have at least 2.5 to 4 square feet for itself.
For chickens who have a small run, the coop must be anywhere between 5 to 10 square feet per chicken. This will give them plenty of space to walk around and forage.
You can reduce these loud noises by letting your chickens out when the sun rises. If you don’t get up that early and don’t want to be disturbed by the squawking, consider investing in an automatic door.
4 – They’re Broody
Broody hens are loud. And I mean really loud.
Hens who sit on freshly laid eggs are surging with hormones, making them moody, territorial, and defensive. They’ll snap at hens, roosters, and even their human owners if they feel threatened.
If you or other chickens get too close to their eggs, they’ll growl and scream, warning you to back off. They may even take it to the next level and hiss, puff up their wings, and peck to protect their young and to scare off the “threat.”
If you hear hissing and growling, it’s best not to approach the hen as she may seriously injure you!
Broody hens leave their nests only once a day to eat and drink. During this time, they’d be extremely agitated and anxious, pecking and squawking at anyone who gets close to them while they eat.
This is because they want to get back to their nest as soon as possible.
To prevent conflict and fights, place their food and water near their nest to limit the time spent away from their young.
Broody hens have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. But if you’re raising chickens for their eggs, broody hens are a nuisance because they’ll take a break from egg-laying to take care of their babies.
Luckily, there are several ways to break the broody mood of hens. Just keep in mind that it takes a bit of patience and persistence.
5 – They’re Gossiping
OK, “gossiping” might be a bit of a stretch, but it sure sounds that way to me!
Chickens are social animals. They love cuddling and hanging out with each other.
Coop chatter is perfectly normal among chickens. This is how they communicate with each other.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about this. Just let them have their daily gossip and go about your day as normal.
These noises aren’t usually too disruptive, so they shouldn’t affect your day-to-day life.
6 – They’re Having a Disagreement
Like humans, chickens occasionally disagree with each other.
When this happens, your chickens might be louder than normal. They’ll squawk, cluck, and squabble in your yard for a couple of minutes before going about their daily chicken lives.
If the situation escalates, you might catch your chickens pecking and fighting each other. You can stop the fight from afar by shaking a can filled with pebbles vigorously.
The chickens will stop what they’re doing and turn their attention towards the noise, promptly forgetting the fight.
If your hens make distressing noises during or after the fight, check on them—there might be something seriously wrong with them. You might have to separate the aggressive hen from your coop until she calms down.
7 – They’re Looking for a Mate
Like other animals, chickens have their own courting and mating rituals.
Roosters think about mating 24/7, but mating and breeding behavior ramps up in the springtime. This is where “courtship” behaviors like tid-bitting and dancing occur.
During this time, it’s normal for roosters to become more vocal than normal. They’d create low rumbling noises to indicate they’re ready to mate.
Hens don’t usually make any noise during courtship, but they do occasionally create shrill, shriek-like noises whenever a rooster sneaks up to them out of surprise.
Throughout the mating season, healthy roosters can mate up to 30 times a day. So, make sure your roosters don’t injure your hens too much, as over-exuberant roosters can seriously harm a hen.
How to Stop Chickens From Being Too Noisy
Overly noisy chickens are not only frustrating but also inconvenient. Nobody wants to constantly be woken up at God-knows-what time in the morning because of the clucking and squawking of chickens.
Here’s what you can do to lessen the noise coming from your chickens!
Don’t Have Roosters
Roosters are often noisier than hens.
On average, roosters crow anywhere between 12 to 15 times a day. This can get extremely annoying, especially as there’s no way to silence your rooster’s crow unless you use a no-crow collar, which I personally find cruel.
No-crow collars basically restrict the amount of air and force they can produce, reducing the crow’s volume to an almost inaudible whisper. Even though manufacturers claim the collars are safe, I still don’t trust them.
If you’re having issues with the noise your roosters make, it’s best to get rid of them.
Hens don’t need a rooster to lay eggs. They will be perfectly content by themselves as long as you feed them right and keep their spaces clean.
Just don’t expect baby chicks. Without a rooster, your hen’s eggs are infertile and won’t develop into chicks no matter how long the mama hen sits on them.
Get a Bigger Coop
As mentioned earlier, chickens become noisy when they feel confined. They’ll cluck, hiss, and squawk because they’re uncomfortable.
Plus, they might fight for space and territory, making them even noisier!
To prevent this from happening, make sure your coop has plenty of room. If you have a lot of chickens, get more coops.
Every chicken must have at least 2 to 3 square feet of space in the coop.
Giving your coop a space upgrade will make you and your chickens happier.
They’ll have more space to move around in and you’ll have less noisy chickens. Win-win!
Reduce Your Flock Size
Smaller flocks are less noisy than larger flocks. They’re also way easier to take care of.
If you’re just starting off, a good-sized starter flock has anywhere between 3 to 6 chickens. The more hens you add to the flock, the noisier they’ll be.
If you have a large garden or farm, divide the chickens and place them in separate coops, preferably in areas far from each other. This way, squabbling and cramming are less likely to happen.
Invest in Blackout Shutters
Chickens wake up as soon as the sun rises. Roosters are infamous for their 5 am wake-up calls, but some roosters actually crow as early as 3 am.
Blackout shutters, as the name implies, blackout the sun’s light.
They keep the sunlight from entering your coop and waking up your hens and rooster. They’ll also buy you and your neighbors a few hours of sleep.
Add Some Entertainment
Sometimes, chickens are loud because they’re bored or have a ton of pent-up energy.
Usually, chickens spend most of their day foraging and playing with their chicken buddies. But if you have a small property, there’s only so much they can forage.
To fix this, add some entertainment for your chickens. For instance, you can scatter some treats in your backyard for them to forage. You can also add a box of sawdust with mealworms for them to sift through.
Here are some other fun ideas:
- Hang up some cabbages, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables for them to peck
- Hang up CD or small plastic bottles
- Buy some chicken toys
- Install a chicken swing and/or chicken ladder
Get Quieter Breeds
Some chicken breeds are quieter than others. If all else fails, consider raising quieter chicken breeds.
Here are some of the most docile chicken breeds:
- Bantam Varieties
- Barred Rock
- Speckled Sussex
- Isa Browns
Compared to most farm animals, chickens aren’t very loud. However, there are times that they get extra noisy.
To keep them a little quieter, consider getting a bigger coop, reducing your flock size, and investing in several blackout shutters/curtains.
You can also get several quiet breeds to replace your noisiest chickens.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house. Growing up, I had pet dogs, cats, deer, sugar gliders, chinchillas, a bird, chickens, fish, and a goat.