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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.