The Top 10 Quiet Chicken Breeds You Should Raise

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When you are homesteading in your backyard in the suburbs or even in a small town, there is only one thing as important as egg quality when deciding what breed of chickens to raise – how much noise they make. Quiet chickens breeds do exist, and you do not have to sacrifice egg quality to raise them!

If you do not want angry neighbors pounding on your door or stopping you in the driveway over the constant chatter of your beloved flock, invest in a breed known for its polite demeanor.

Roosters are generally the biggest noise makers in the barnyard. My top rooster, who I affectionately refer to as “Flock Leader” doesn’t have a single quiet bone – and some friends and family say not a nice bone, in his entire body. If my misunderstood rooster suddenly disappeared, the entire flock would roam about the barnyard and you wouldn’t even know they were there.

Top 10 Quiet Chicken Breeds

 

Buff Orpington chicken

photo under the Creative Commons license, thanks to Alan Reeves via Flickr

1. Buff Orpington

These beauties make both great meat birds and egg layers. They are calm, friendly enough to be considered a true pet, are easy to handle, and best of all…incredibly quiet – like church mouse variety quiet. It is not uncommon for Buff Orpington chickens to wander over to you, squat down in a submissive manner, and wait to be picked up and loved upon.

 

Rhode Island Red

2. Rhode Island Reds

This barnyard stalwart breed lays large brown eggs and is quiet and docile as well. While they are not prone to wanting to cuddle like a Buff Orpington, they are easily trained and get along well with other breeds of chickens, ducks, and guineas – which are decidedly NOT quiet birds – at all.

 

Wyandotte chicken

3. Wyandottes

This chicken breed is among the most common for suburban backyard homesteaders. They are hardy, affable in nature, are are dependable layers nearly year around. Wyandottes come in a vast array of vibrant colors, include golden, blue, and silver. White Wyandottes are incredibly rare and bring a premium price from breeders.

 

Barred Rock Plymouth

photo under the Creative Commons license, thanks to Thomas Kriese via Flickr

4. Barred Rock Plymouth

These quiet chickens lay large brown eggs and are a favorite of farmers and homesteaders who live on a small to moderate amount of acreage. Although they are quiet, they are a very outgoing and friendly chicken breed and will enjoy interacting with their human caretakers. Barred Rock Plymouth chickens are exceptionally cold climate hardy.

 

Bantam chicken

5. Bantam

These little chickens also come in an array of attractive dark colors and are dependable egg layers. “Banties” lay a smaller white egg that tastes yummy, but are most often kept because of their exceptional maternal instincts. Bantams are excellent sitters and are frequently uses as surrogate moms for Rhode Island Reds, who are poor sitters.

 

Brahma chicken

6. Brahma

This breed is often referred to as the “King of Poultry” due to their massive size. They are a heritage breed of chickens boasting hens that can grow to hit weights of up to 14 pounds. Brahma roosters have been known to weigh a little over 18 pounds. The average weight for a Brahma hen is around 10 pounds. They are an amazingly hardy breed and are dependable white egg layers.

Brahmas are heralded the best winter layers and are even known best from October through May. Brahma hens are also quality sitters, but due to their bulk chicks can get trampled and squished during their first few days of life if left in the nest.

 

cochin chicken

7. Cochin

These large and quiet birds are also a heritage breed. The massive puffy balls of feathers are absolutely lovable, so much in fact, the Queen of England once kept them as pets. While they are quiet and adorable, they are only mediocre layers. But, what Cochin hens lack in laying ability, they make up for with their maternal skills and make superb surrogate moms for the eggs of the coop gal pals.

 

Australorp chicken

8. Australorp

This breed is the utility player of the chicken world. They are both quality layers and sitters. During the 1920s Austrlorp hens broke world egg laying records. They lay medium-sized brown eggs. The Australorp hens are also highly regarded for their peaceful, calm, and yes – very quiet, personalities.

 

java chicken

photo under the Creative Commons license, thanks to Sam Brutcher via Flickr

9. Java

This heritage chicken breed is generally recognized as the second-oldest established breed on the planet. They are a dual purpose meat and egg bird. Java hens are dependable layers and at least average sitters.

This endangered breed was widely used in the establishment of many American breeds of chickens, like the Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock Plymouth. Java hens boast a rather dignified and quiet personality and tend to do best in small flock environments.

 

ameraucana chicken

photo under the Creative Commons license, thanks to May Saille via Flickr

10. Ameraucana

The oddly attractive breed lays medium-sized light blue eggs. They have a beard and muffs instead of ear tufts like other chicken breeds. They are rather large birds, hens typically grow to hit a 7-pound weight. Ameraucana hens are calm, quiet, docile, and easily handled as long as they do not feel threatened.

Quiet chicken breeds are also typically comprised of decidedly calm and jovial hens, as well. The environment the chickens live in can also play a substantial role in how quiet or noisy they become on any given day.

Free-ranging breeds do not need “boredom busters” to keep the content, laying, and playing nice with one another. When allowed to roam at their leisure, the birds are both physically and mentally stimulated and simply don’t feel the need to carry on and make a bunch of racket. A free flock is also usually a healthier flock because they are adhering to their natural instincts and selecting big juicy bugs out of your yard to feast upon – and reducing your feed bill in the process!

Noisy chickens in a run might have as much to do with the space and the environment as it does the breed. The general rule of thumb is the taller the coop and run, the happier (and quieter) the chickens will be. Some breeds of chickens really hate to go outdoors when snow is covering the ground. If the coop is too small or too short, the chickens will get very vocal about their displeasure with their living accommodations.

If the chickens will be constantly confined to the coop and run, you should allow for at least five feet of space per bird. If your homesteading budget allows, increase the space to 10 feet per bird.

To keep the chickens focused on something other than picking at each other or themselves, makeshift some roosting area inside the run, put a dust bath on the ground, and hang a couple of swings. I “went shopping” in my husband Bobby’s pole barn when he wasn’t home. I found all kinds of treasures!

I drug out an old tire to make the dust bath, some decrepit saw horses to make a roost, a cinder block as a play space for the growing chicks, and some thin boards I made into a swing by tying some baling twine (that stuff just has an infinite amount of uses, just like duct tape!) to make a two swings for the flock. My chicken run playground project didn’t cost me a single dime, but did cause me to get a frown from the hubby who planned on fixing those old saw horses (he has three other sets) “one of these days.”

Even if you are planning on free-ranging your flock, having a run is still a very good idea. I have a large flock, but only a small chicken run (10X6 feet) because they free-range all day long. Even though they free range, I still wanted a run to use to separate an injured bird from the flock, to quarantine a new bird before releasing it into the flock, and to use as a brooder for a hen and her chicks.

I also added an open flow run extension around the existing run and the side of the coop with the open door. When it is hot outside, the flock spends the bulk of the day lounging inside the barn and taking naps on the log rafters. But when the temperature dips or it is cloudy, they like to mingle about the coop.

Not wanting them to be vulnerable to hawks in such an open space, I used T-posts and bird netting to create a barrier between their favorite hangout spot and the open sky. I also painted big eyes on the roof of the coop and affixed reflective duct tape around the area to further deter those dang hawks that like to do snack fly-bys.

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13 Comments

  1. Nice article… But bantams are not a breed, but a size. I imagine one couldn’t generalize about how vocal certain chickens are just based on their size.

  2. Great list! I have moved back to the city but can still have chickens. However, they have to be quiet or the HOA can make me get rid of them. When I lived in the country, I had a Barred Rock that I named Bellows because she would bellow quite loudly every time she saw me. But, my Buff Orpington and Rhode Island Red were very quiet!

    • Beverly, glad you liked the list! Our Rhode Islands are sweet and quiet too, even the rooster! I am going to start breeding Buckeye chickens – am from Ohio and they are a heritage breed that originated only about 40 miles away. The only chicken breed developed by a woman in the entire country! I can’t imagine living under HOA rules. When I drove 65 miles to the city for real estate classes, one instructed ended up dubbing me an Appalachian American because stories of life out here completely flipped him out: NO HOA’s in the entire country, no permit offices, no zoning, I can simply walk outside and decide to build on a room myself and even do all of the electrical and plumbing work too – only related government controls we live under, in town or out, are health department sewage mandates.

  3. Tara- great job. I have an Urban Homestead on the east coast. I have been wanting few chickens, but the county where I live doesn’t allow them unless you are on over an acre. So the knowledge of quiet chickens helps us urban homesteaders a lot.

    Keep up the great work.

    • Hey Rook, thank you. Hate to hear you are forced to live under such stringent rules. California is a right to farm state, sometimes counties and municipalities infringe upon those rights. Maybe reviewing your state’s right to farm guidelines and requirements and the local related codes could alert you to any possible violations and/or help you to inspire other urban farmers in forming a group that could lobby local lawmakers to change existing minimum land requirements, even on a temporary and pilot program basis. Such approaches have worked in other places. Good luck to you!

  4. This was a wonderful article, thank you for taking the time to post it. I will be starting a small flock this spring and the information about the coop and run will be extremely helpful. This article will be helpful to my daughter who is also getting more chickens in the spring.

    • Good morning Donna, always thrilled to hear not just about more farming gals, but those who are training up the next generation too! Getting the coop and run right is the most important part of keeping a flock – so many of us found out how to create a poultry version of Fort Knox via trial and error, with heartbreaking bird loss included. I would highly recommended getting guineas too – and they as so NOT quiet, but will protect your flock whether your free range or not. They are tenacious little critters and provide hours of free entertainment watching them run around the barn yard on watch patrol. When you and your daughter get your chicks, cut a grape in several small pieces and toss one into the brooder, it is absolutely hilarious, they treat it like a football and will chase and steal it back and forth until one hardy chick stops running long enough to eat it. Please share how your flock experience goes in the spring, and never hesitate to stop back by for advice!

  5. Tara, thank you for this highly informative article. My question may seem silly but do any of these breeds feature quiet roosters? Right now I’m leaning toward Buff Orpingtons as I want friendly birds and their coloration will help them to blend in to our desert landscape when they run in the fenced yard. But I’d really like to have a rooster for a sustainable flock. My plan is to start with a small 4-6 bird flock and possibly expand to 10.

    • Ray, no such thing as a silly question, especially not when you are among homesteading friends! In my experience, Rhode Island Red and White California Sex Link rooster are the quietest. Now, my top rooster, I call him Flock Leader but everyone else has dubbed him with some rather unkind labels my mother wouldn’t like me to repeat, is a Leghorn. He is not quiet, but not really noisy, and I think he is half-guinea – at least in character. My flocks of chickens, ducks, and guineas all free range together during the day, Flock Leader keeps everyone well within the established barn yard boundaries and only makes loud noise when someone briefly neglects to follow his commands or possible danger is near. The trade off between noise and his protective skills, is worth it for me. My barn is probably 250 yards from the house, I can hear him, but not in any way that is really annoying. When I hear Flock Leader getting wound up, I know to go peek out and make sure everything is alright. The only real downside to Leghorn roosters is they can be aggressive, being a former foe of chickens after a painful childhood encounter, I was very concerned about having Leghorns because of this. But since the 3 we have were a gift from our daughter, I decided to give it a try. Worst that would happen is one bad incident and then they all go right into the cook pot. Ironically, I found them to be very sweet, at least to me. But to everyone else, including our daughter, they are mean, flog, and chase, everyone who goes into the barnyard who is either not me or who isn’t with me. A nearby homesteading friend keeps Buff Orpingtons. I just texted her to see how the roosters behave on a regular basis. She hasn’t found her rooster to be necessarily quiet, but not noisy either, and to have an overall good temperament. I hope this information was helpful, please keep us all updated about the progress with your desert flock!

    • Ab and Linda, Glad you found the article helpful. Once you get your flock established, you will be thrilled with how they keep bugs down in your garden, especially if you make or buy a chicken tractor to run between your garden rows during the growing season. Stop back by and let us known how your flock creation plans pan out and to ask any questions you need to make it a successful experience!

    • Thank you Debbie. Do you keep chickens already or planning on starting a flock? Can’t recommend keeping Bantams highly enough, they are calm, quiet, and the best sitters around. The roosters are not too noisy and are known to be pretty docile.

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