Need your advice on what to do about chicken noise in the early mornin

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by frog522, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. frog522

    frog522 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    I have had two chickens since May 2010. The issue I encountered two months getting chicks was I discovered they sing the egg song. I had been reading the coops and design forum of BYC mostly, and somehow I didn't ever come across the egg song. Had I known they would yell so much (primarily early morning , any other time of the day I don't mind), my decision to get chickens may have been different. Also, they whine loudly in the morning before the sun is fully out. I'm guessing it's not unique to mine, but it sounds like a louder, deeper, longer version of a crow's call. It is not a rooster call.

    I am trying to ask for advice on how to at least reduce the noise they make until 8:00am or so, when I imagine most people are awake in the morning. I live in a suburban neighborhood. I have consulted the local livestock/animal zone laws for San Jose and my setup and number of chickens meets all the laws (with margin too).

    My coop is 4'x4' and my run is 4'x6'. Their feeder and waterer is in the run. My popdoor the way I built it is stuck and unusable because the recent rain has caused it to swell and get stuck (in retrospect I should have left more clearance when building the guillotine pop door, I have learned now...). Modifying the original popdoor is impossible since the panels around it are caulk, primed, and painted, because the popdoor is underneath. Previously when the popdoor was operational, I would close and lock it at night for added safety. My run is pretty secure even though my popdoor is stuck now. When they were locked in the coop in the morning (only for about an hour after they woke up), they still made whining noises and sung chicken songs but it was more muffled. Still definitely noticeable to the surrounding neighbors I'm sure, but much more manageable. I am embarrassed that my two girls are waking up and irritating my neighbors. Many of them may not know which house (ours) owns chickens but I'm sure they know a house nearby does.

    I really enjoy my chickens. I don't mind they're loud during the day, it's just the morning hours that I feel is the problem. Here are the options I am considering and would appreciate your advice. I've come here alot in the past year reading all the great information and help on BYC, including getting familiar with alot of the regular posters here. Here it goes:

    -- Would really like to avoid it, but give away chickens on Craigslist. Attempt to sell coop and run that I spent 3 months building. I put alot of hard work into it and it's decently good for a first coop, but it's probably 200+ lbs and I probably won't be able to move it again unless I dissemble most of it and have to recaulk it again if I ever move it.
    -- Build a new popdoor on the inside (since the outside one is stuck open). Keep them inside until about 8am like before.
    -- If contained inside until 8am, necessary to add food and waters? Or just highly recommended? There isn't much space inside the coop.
    -- Cover windows with black plastic to give illusion of darkness. This would only be for half of the windows. They are not ventilation windows normally, the vents on top provide about 3.5-4 sq feet of ventilation. That will stay.
    -- Any other creative ideas are most welcome!

    I need to figure out a solution to my problem! I just need to figure out how to reduce their noise (or noise perceived by neighbors) until 8am...
  2. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I've had city chickens for many years and know this problem well. I would definitely fix the door so that you can lock them in. They will be fine without food and water until 8am or even a bit later. Just make sure they have adequate ventilation while they are locked in.

    It can also help to block any light that gets into the coop.

    Do you let your girls loose in the yard? I used to let mine out to free range first thing in the AM, but then they started DEMANDING to be let out first thing in the morning when I felt like sleeping in. Now I only let them out later in the day and they don't squawk so much to be let out in the morning now. I try to stick to a routine.

    Some chickens/breeds are noisier than others, but it doesn't sound like yours are particularly noisy. I had a few that were sooooo noisy that I had to rehome them to the country. Just something to think about if you can't contain the noise enough - you could try again with another pair. If you do this, I'd recommend ~8-9 month old hens from a reputable source so that you know something of their temperament.

    Also, a lot (but not all) of my noisy girls have quieted down after ~1 year of age. You might luck out!

    Good luck,
    1 person likes this.
  3. frog522

    frog522 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    It's comforting to know that there are people that have gone through the same thing! I hope to one day own a house with a huge backyard so I can raise a few chickens without worrying about hen noises. Right now two is definitely more than enough given both girls sing the egg song before laying an egg. That means the wake-up call happens twice as often as it would with one hen. I can't imagine what it's like with the maximum number of chickens allowed in my city (6 chickens). That would mean 6:50am neighborhood wake-up call nearly EVERYDAY. [​IMG]

    I stopped by the home improvement store on the way back from work today to get a few items to make the inside popdoor with. Given gets dark early nowadays, I will have to cut wood (have to do it outside) and make the new popdoor on Saturday. I'll also buy a black tarp and install it on the roof somehow so I can drape it over the coop at night. I will make sure to drape it in such a way that they still get enough ventilation. I sure it hope it works like it does with my parakeets. Those other two don't make as much as a peep sound until the cage is uncovered in the morning.

    I hope this works! [​IMG]
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Has anyone complained?
    You are legal, right?
    In a suburban area, I really can't imagine most people sleeping until 8am. School starts by then [​IMG] Where I live, coffee pots are brewing around six thirty. Lots to do in the morning before you get going.
    My first thought is you're being too sensitive, honestly. Birds are singing in the trees, school buses and garbage trucks are running, dogs barking, SUVs revving.
    Have you asked your neighbors about the noise? You're legal, it's okay to ask! You might also find out who to gift with some eggs.

    But, if you're sure the noise is intolerable, I don't see why you can't get a board and just prop it in front of your pop door at night. Anything solid would work, prop it in place with a bucket, etc. Your birds will be fine until you let them out. It's not getting light until later, also.

    I still urge you to ask your neighbors if they're bothered, or if they've even noticed. Who knows, you might get someone else hooked on the chicken habit!
  5. Where The Wild Things Are

    Where The Wild Things Are Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2010
    This my first year with chickens. I live in residential area of a rural suburb (did that make sense). We are not zoned for roosters in my development so I just have hens. They make a LOT more noise then I thought they would. They go berzerk in the morning! But honestly, they still make far less noise than my neighbors freaking barking dog(s). So IMHO, my neighbors have no room to complain. I'm on very good terms with all my neighbors, and have ask them if they have been a nuisance...thus far, the answer has been no. Oh, and I don't complain about their dog(s) either (well, at least not to their faces) [​IMG]
  6. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    [​IMG] Okay, i shouldn't laugh, it's not funny. i have 41 hens, and they all scream their heads off once they see the first shaft of light rise over the horizon. Everybody has food and water in their respective coops. i cover the openings loosely with blankets or dark plastic bags. Have actually thought about using the dark landscape material but haven't as yet. Nothing i've tried thus far has made a difference.

    i have one chicken that starts, Mitzi, i know her voice well. Then another joins in, then another, until all 41 chickens sound like they're being killed, or laying one really big egg. Then the ducks start. i have 11 girl ducks and one boy, so they can get pretty loud. Then the turkeys join in, then the goats. About the time i'm sure the neighbors will be pounding on my door with pitchforks, i drag my body out of bed and let them out.

    If anyone comes up with any good ideas on how to keep their hens quiet in the morning, i'm all ears.
    1 person likes this.
  7. chuckzoo

    chuckzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I would definately not give the chickens away. I have four and only one of mine is noisy- so far. They are two BR hens (one is the noisy one) and two Buff Rocks. I am also in a residental neighborhood and it would drive me crazy as when the one went up to lay the other would cackle until she came back down. I think we are especially tuned to the noise as we don't want to disturb anybody. That is the reason that I added two more chickens hoping the company would stop her from cackling - alas, it did not.

    I would got to the fabric store and get some black canvas and hang that over your windows to help block out light. I think a tarp would restrict air flow too much. Also establish a routine where you only go out at around 8:00am and they will get used to it.
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I CAN have roosters, but I, too, was concerned about noise. Every time I asked the neighbors I cared about [​IMG] if the rooster, then roosters, bothered them, they lied and said "No."

    One refuses to accept free eggs, and has a standing order for a dozen each Sunday, at 3 bucks a dozen. Sometimes the lady of the house asks for two dozen.

    The other nice neighbor pshawed me, and said, "If I minded roosters, I wouldn't have moved to the country 30 years ago."

    Third neighbor kept a chihuahua on a CHAIN in the back yard, and it yiped out of loneliness every night. It's got a fenced section of the yard now, and is off the chain (after somebody complained a few times) and their kids are screamers - plus the adults have loud, back yard parties. I never asked them at all.

    You just might be surprised who it doesn't bother!
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  9. frog522

    frog522 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Thanks for the replies and great stories!

    Last night I propped up a piece of scrap plywood against the popdoor until 8am. Their whining was less noticeable this morning (kind of like it used to be when I closed the popdoor everynight). I have all my materials to make my popdoor tonight. The design this time is just going to be a hinged door that opens from within the coop (like a normal people door) with a bolt mechanism.

    They were happy to be let out this morning. Today they got oats.

    I laughed at the earlier post about chickens being demanding. Why are they so demanding!? [​IMG] They don't seem to understand they can't have everything (judging by how every fruit, plant, and flower in our garden has at least one chicken bite out of it.) [​IMG]
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    when my hens start they can beat out the roosters 10 to 1. It's not so too bad now that it's cold and windows are closed and doors are closed, but wait till spring I only have 17 hens can't imagine what 41 hens sounds like.

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