MYTH: Chickens are noisy.

Only roosters crow loudly, not hens. Hens never crow and are generally quiet animals, with the exception of announcing the arrival of a freshly hatched egg. This sound is short-lived, never occurs at night, lasts only a few minutes and takes place once every 24 to 36 hours. Some hens are more vocal than others, depending on the breed, but there is no comparing the sound of a cackling hen to dogs that can bark all night long, power tools, lawn mowers, motorcycles, car alarms, trains, and the myriad of other loud noises frequently heard in the neighborhood.

chickens are *definitely* quieter than dogs

Please note that the 70dB is the potential level of sound energy, but that it would be a rare sound measured very close to the chicken (2ft). The inverse distance law predicts that at ten times the distance (20ft), the sound pressure would drop a tenth, equivalent to a decibel drop of 20dB. That means that for a chicken making a 70dB sound in it’s outdoor enclosure, their neighbor will experience it as 50dB’s- roughly equivalent to a quiet conversation at home. Noise is even further reduced if the chicken makes a sound within their laying coop rather than the outdoor enclosure.

I invite you to watch and listen to my 3 pullets at 9 weeks old- they’re just getting their “big girl” voices, and you can hear a sample of a “bawk” in the video below.  Bonus: they look hilarious.

Chicks on a sunny day.


7 thoughts on “MYTH: Chickens are noisy.

  1. Since you seem to be a decibel expert, have you come across much rooster research? I’ve been searching for breeds with “quiet” roosters. From what I find, it seems that roosters vary as much as people when it comes to crowing personality. However, I’ve also read that Faverolles and Sebrights as a breed are generally less likely to vocalize. I’d appreciate any information you may have found. Ps. Love the curious (and quiet) chooks on your video 🙂

    1. I’m definitely no decibel expert when it comes to roosters- most of my research centered around the hens I wanted to keep. My city was a unique situation in that we experienced a sudden surge in downtown nightlife, which had lots of people questioning decibel levels of neighborhood bars. Given that it was a hot topic, I went pretty far down the rabbit hole to find out the average dB of the hens to assuage any fears they might have.

      That said, the average dB I keep hearing cited for roosters is 90dB, roughly equivalent to a dog bark. You’re spot on with the Faverolles- those keep coming up as the #1 rooster to have if you appreciate quiet, but even then it depends on the individual rooster. Good luck with your search!!

    2. My ex husband lived in the moiunants of Ky. His family allowed their chickens to roam freely the little road they lived on. Egg hunting could take you up to 1/4 mile away in rock crevices. There was one hen who made her place in the corner of their outhouse. Going potty at night proved to be an adventure trying to pee without getting pecked by her. Our neighbor up the road has chickens that lay a blue egg, it was the prettiest thing I have ever seen.

  2. I’m surprised it’s even up to 70 decibels! Our chicks are about the same age as yours, and while their voices are “changing,” they rarely make noise other than contented little chatter to each other. I love the video – such fun creatures to watch, aren’t they?

  3. Hi Christie: they are such a joy to watch! I never thought that I’d get such a kick out of watching them peck and scratch around.

    That’s the thing about the dB- that’s the average 2 ft away from them when they squawk (like when they lay an egg or someone has caught a bug and everyone else is jealous), not when they’re chattering and walking around with eachother (which is probably a lot closer to 50dB). And 2 ft away is soooo close, way closer than my house or patio where I spend the majority of my time.

    My girls have been outside for a while now, and just a few days ago I had a neighbor ask if they were out yet- he was shocked when I told him they’d been out full time for a few weeks, because he couldn’t hear them at all. Of course our coop is just over 14ft from the property line; with them “talking” at 50dB, he’d experience roughly 40dB at the property line at the rear of his yard, which would be like a hushed conversation. Even when they squawk, he’d experience it around 60dB, nothing compared to the motorcycles and dogs in my neighborhood. Heck, most of the time they’re drowned out by the wild birds in the area!

  4. Hi! I am Theresa from Michigan. I would like to use your decibel chart as “evidence” in my case to change the ordinance here to allow for chickens. How would I go about referencing your chart? Did you measure the decibels yourself? Or, did you get these measurements from a university?
    thanks so much!

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