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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Keeping Roosters Quiet

Several times each month I receive letters, emails and phone calls from concerned chicken owners asking how they can keep their roosters quiet. More times than not, they are keeping chickens in urban areas. Many cities around the country ban roosters to prevent nuisance complaints from their citizens, even though there are several ways to keep roosters in urban areas quietly and responsibly. I had kept backyard chickens for two years before my neighborhood homeowner’s association even found out. Why? Because I choose not to keep roosters with my flock. Yes, I have kept roosters in the past due to periodic rooster rescues, but they did not cause any problems because I kept them quietly and responsibly.

In my opinion, roosters have two main purposes, which they do very well: protect and fertilize. In the past seven years, I have only lost three chickens due to predators. One just happened to be my rooster, Kentucky. During a backyard remodel, we temporarily removed the protective netting from atop our three chicken runs. After arriving home, I noticed that all eleven hens were safely inside the coop and Kentucky was in the run, where he had obviously lost a battle with a hawk. We believe that when Kentucky noticed the hawk that he gathered all of his ladies in the coop for their protection and then returned back outside to fight off the predator. Unfortunately, he lost, but all eleven hens were safe. Because of this, I know the value of a rooster when it comes to predator protection, but I still choose not to keep roosters due to the extra responsibilities involved. I do however provide a very secure coop and run for my chickens, and use Nite Guard Solar lights to protect my flock from predators.

There are many great reasons why people choose to keep backyard chickens in urban areas, but breeding is rarely one of them, so keeping a rooster is not necessary in most cases. If you keep a small backyard flock without a rooster, one hen will generally take the rooster’s role. She will keep an eye out for predators, alert the flock if danger arises, maintains the pecking order, and in rare cases may even crow.

On the rare occasions when I did have a rooster or two, I would keep them quietly and responsibly. At dusk, I would bring the roosters into my garage. They would be placed into a metal cage with their own food and water. Then the metal cage would be placed into a large breed plastic doghouse. I would then place a heavy blanket over the doghouse to provide an extra sound barrier. If one of the roosters happen to crow early in the morning, none of my neighbors could hear it. In fact, our master bedroom backs up to our garage. If we were sound asleep the crowing would not even wake us up, but if we were already awake then we could hear the rooster crow, but it was faint and hardly noticeable.

Overall, I think roosters get a bad rap, but I understand that they are not for everyone. They are very beautiful birds and have a couple of specific purposes that they do very well. I still hate to see cities completely ban roosters, but it’s a compromise that many urban chicken keepers are willing to make.

For more information about keeping backyard poultry please listen to Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer, a nationally broadcast radio show all about keeping backyard poultry and living a self-sustaining lifestyle. Listen weekdays at 12:00pm EST here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backyardpoultry

13 comments

1 john jones { 08.11.14 at 10:54 pm }

This article is a total waste of time.

2 Renee Bolster { 07.01.14 at 9:37 am }

Gosh thank you so much an I can believe I didn’t think of that! We live in the city with a huge yard, and I wanted to get some chickens, I absolutely love them. We chose beautiful lavender orpingtons. Well…. Both my hens turned into roosters! I am dying because they are gorgeous, friendly, and my daughter is absolutely in love with them, holds them everyday…now the crowing…ugh. It is a matter of time before my neighbors show up out front with pitch forks and guns. I am absolutely going to try bringing them into my garage and covering them at night. I keep them covered already with a black out curtain and that has kept them quiet until about 6:30-7… But I still don’t think that will fly. Thank you so much for the tip! Getting rid of him or eating them is not really an option.

3 lynnette { 02.04.14 at 10:49 am }

Their is a surgical procedure that can be done to quiet a rooster. Many think this is not humane but think if it’s a choice between a scaple and the dinner table I think the rooster him self would choose the scaple. I called around and found a doctor in my area who will De crow a rooster.the cost was about 200. Dollars. So if your serious about De crowing your roo it can be done! Call the vets in your area and ask.. best wishes

4 Renata { 11.10.13 at 11:56 am }

Hi, have you ever found the answer to your question?
Are there any devices, shock collars, anything, something to prevent/stop the rooster from crowing?
We live in the urban area. Got four 3-month old chicks when you can’t quite tell the sex yet, so one grew up to be a beautiful sweet rooster. They have such peace and equalibrium among them. We hate the idea of taking our pet-rooster back to where we got them all from, he’ll be either eaten or given to those rooster fights. Is there any way to prevent him from crowing? He did not fully start yet, but he is trying. ..
Thank you
Renata

5 Brandi { 05.15.13 at 7:56 pm }

New to chicken ( had plenty when I was a kid :) ) just started back as an adult. Just looking for further info

6 countrybo { 08.23.12 at 11:47 pm }

Stop cryin bout roosters and fighting if you live in the city you shouldn’t have them and roosters are not forced to fight they are naturally aggresive. Roll tide yall

7 Jaime McLeod { 07.13.12 at 10:20 am }

Lisa,
If they’re being used for fighting, it is definitely abuse. Cockfighting is illegal. Report him to the authorities and let them sort it out.

8 Lisa { 07.12.12 at 7:37 pm }

I live in Boston, MA and my landlord keeps roosters in the back garage locked away . I believe he uses them for fighting. Is this animal abuse. They scream and howl all night long!

9 Terry { 06.03.12 at 12:35 am }

I live in Bali and all the houses around me have at least 1 rooster. All day none stop they make a noise. What i want to know is there a bird of prey noise that will make a rooster quiet.???
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Terry

10 ele { 07.10.11 at 7:39 pm }

Hi guys
I found this fantastic sound proof coop built by someone here:
http://forum.backyardpoultry.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7955606&hilit=sound+proof&start=60
I will nag my hubby to build similar one

11 Cindy { 05.06.10 at 1:22 pm }

Does anyone know how to keep a rooster quiet??? Do they make some kind of collar? Not so much a shock collar..but maybe one that vibrates or makes some kind of distracting noise???

12 IanH { 12.04.09 at 7:13 pm }

I had 15 roosters, but now only have one to keep the hens protected. The other 14 became awful quiet when in the freezer!

13 Nicola { 11.26.09 at 2:22 am }

I no longer keep rooster as we are not allowed but growing up we always had roosters protecting the hens the trouble was they were usually protecting them from us.

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