Noisy Hen Problems -Update

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Monetta, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Monetta

    Monetta Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    San Diego
    Hi all,

    I have two pullets, one is a Copper Marans and the other is a BLR Wyandotte. They are approaching egg laying age. Any day now, I keep saying. Anyway, the Marans is incredibly noisy. She honks nonstop for minutes at a time, all the time. She also crows sometimes. I live in a city, so the noise is not OK.

    I emailed the lady I got them from and she says that I can bring the Marans back and buy another chicken that will hopefully be quieter. This seemed like a good solution. The only problem is, my roommate emailed me today and she says the Wyandotte is hollering now too, and that she heard the neighbors complaining about it. The Wyandotte has always been pretty quiet up until now.

    My question is, if I bring home a quieter chicken, is the Wyandotte likely to settle down, or is she likely to continue to be noisy? I hate the thought of giving up on keeping chickens. I haven't even gotten any eggs yet.

    My other question is, I just started adding DE to the chicken feed to try to cut down on the flies. Could this be somehow causing the Wyandotte to be noisy? I know I'm grasping at straws. I just want to try to solve the problem in a way that I get to keep my chickens.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  2. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Hens are NOT quiet, as anyone who has spent time around them can attest. I don't know who started the rumor that they are quiet. Maybe with a rooster, they aren't as noisy; I've read this, somewhere. But hens seems to "fill in" the missing rooster's noises with sqwaucking that seems louder and longer than any rooster's crowing I've ever heard.

    Anyway, in an urban setting, it seems early morning is the worst time for the extra noise. You can try the following to shut them up:
    1. Insulate the coop (according to some people this works by muffling the noise) & don't let them out til 8am.
    2. Give them earlier & more free-range time (my hens are very quiet when free in the yard, compared to the run)
    3. Put interesting treats in the run, for early morning entertainment (like a flock block, or seeds sprinkled, fruit cutups after they've gone to the roost)

    You can mask the noise somewhat by creating a "bird-friendly" yard. Put up feeders, plant native shrubs, bird baths, etc. This will bring in all sorts of wild birds which make lots of noise early morning. It can help to mask the noise your birds make, especially if you can attract crows. Now, that's some serious CAW-CAW-CAWing to compete with your hens' noise. [​IMG]

    You can give your neighbors fresh backyard eggs. And if they don't like eggs, give them some fabulous chicken litter for their gardens. This helps mask the unpleasantness they could feel about your birds. It could help them feel more connected with them.

    I don't think the flies are what is causing the noise. You can dry out their litter with food grade DE, but it is usually boredom and the fact they want OUT, or they want new treats or food, and, if you interact & talk with them a lot, they are accustomed to interacting and talking to you.

    Last, if you have a chance gently remind your neighbors about how they already live with a lot of obnoxious urban noises:
    1. A screaming chainsaw and its horrid gasoline fumes, forcing you inside on a really rare sunny day
    2. Stereos and boomboxes played at high volume from decks and patios, for the entire neighborhood to hear
    3. Howling or barking dogs
    4. Weed-whackers, leaf-blowers, lawn-mowers
    5. Pressure-washers, used on houses, decks, sidewalks, driveways
    5. Construction noise, like table saws etc.
    6. Air compressors, used in nailing construction
    7. Air conditioners
    9. Neighbor parties, held during the evening and night hours.
    10. Drunk neighbors, talking loud on cell phones or fighting
    11. Screaming children
    12. All the other urban noise blasts, like sirens, cars gunning their engines, blasting horns, fireworks, and other explosions, etc.
    2 people like this.
  3. Neilette

    Neilette Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Quote:Oi, I know, sun is rare enough here; so what about it compels people to perform their loud, obnoxious noise pollution?

    I am blessed with fairly quiet chickens at the moment [knock on wood]. But I wasn't always. The first chickens I brought home came from a farm, where they were pastured; and it didn't agree with them to be "cooped up" (knee-slap) in a run. They were re-homed to where they could be free-ranged. Of course, at this point I now free-range my birds. [​IMG]

    First, did your pullets come from a more spacious situation? Is there maybe some way to enrich their environment? The happier the chicken, the happier (and more pleasant) the noises.

    Also, consider when and what they might be training you for. That is, what they might be accidentally learning. Does making a racket result in attention, food, freedom, or some other reward? Quiet behavior is less rewarded, and therefor less "successful" in the eyes of a chicken. When releasing my chickens from the run to free-range, I try and approach the run when they are quiet, and if they make a huge racket I just walk away for awhile.

    Some breeds and individual chickens are quieter than others. My EE is the top bird and, thankfully, comparatively quiet. (I'm hoping that the younger, potentially louder breeds of chickens learn from her.) The loudest so far has been the previously-pastured Ameraucana, who would caw all day long to be let out. You may have breeds of chicken that are prone to being noisy (I'm not that familiar with them. [​IMG]). Leghorns are infamous for their noise! Modern Game Bantams are talkative, but have soft, sweet voices. Background checks might be appropriate for your urban situation, if you decide to try for quieter chickens.

    I'm currently trying to break a crowing hen (BR -- sexually dimorphic) by isolating her for a few days. You may give that a shot?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  4. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Quote:I think that statement is extremely spot on. [​IMG] I've raised mine from chicks, and they've gotten a lot of attention. Now, at this point, why should I wonder when they try to get my attention in the early a.m., to let them out? Besides, they can't tell time. The sun is up earlier each day, and "by their clock" it's high time to be out!

    I have noticed that when I put some fun entertaining seed block, or something else, into the run at night after they have gone to sleep, their early morning noise isn't as loud or starts a little later.
  5. floridamel

    floridamel Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2010
    Tampa, FL
    Monetta, sorry about your noisy hen problems! I have two Rhode Island Reds that just started laying 2 weeks ago (they are 23 weeks old now). I was worried about their squawking when they lay because it seems to happen early in the morning, and has been waking me up every day, so I thought it might be waking the neighbors too. I live in a house in Tampa, and my neighbor's house is only about 15 feet away from mine.

    I went over to talk to them with some eggs in hand. They were thrilled to have the fresh eggs, and they told me that they haven't been woken up once by them, which was a big relief for me. I would definitely try talking to the neighbors and offering them some eggs. Even if they are hearing the noise, fresh eggs might make them not mind. Good luck!
  6. Monetta

    Monetta Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    San Diego

    I took the Marans back yesterday after work and brought home a nice quiet Cochin. Molly is freaking out. She is calling out at the top of her little lungs. My roommate had to put her in the garage to stifle the noise. I think she misses the Marans. Also, she is chasing the poor new chicken around and pecking her on the head if I put them together. They seemed to settle down for the night together OK, but this morning it was open season on her noggin again.

    I know the pecking is to be expected, but how long is the hollering going to go on for? The noise situation is worse now than it was before. Well, except for the poor Cochin. She is very very quiet.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  7. Coreyboy18

    Coreyboy18 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    Quote:I'm a newbie myself, but what I have read is that you shouldn't put them together right away. You should probably have them together, but not able to get at each other, so they each have time to get to know one another. Then, after a week or two, you can slowly start to introduce them together. Also, this is good to make sure no diseases are spread from one to the other...just in case. Maybe someone else has better advice. [​IMG]
  8. MaureenL128

    MaureenL128 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Hi all. I too have been having noisy mornings this week. My coop is about 20 feet from my neighbors house. They haven't approached us yet but I am feeling bad about it. I tried closing their coop to run door last night and they held out until 6am. I am thinking of covering up their window as much as possible without blocking the air flow. They scream because they want to be let out!!! Help. any suggestions are welcome! Thanks!
  9. Monetta

    Monetta Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    San Diego
    Update to the update.

    Molly has really settled down as of this morning. Aside from a few outbursts the yard is blissfully quiet. I've even seen the two chickens standing together peacefully. I'm so relieved that things have settled down.
  10. chickenGRAFFITI

    chickenGRAFFITI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 18, 2009
    I have silkies who you would never know are there (unless one of them is mad at me, generally Uma, my favorite hen). They just never seem to make much noise and my Roo doesn't crow that often.

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