This question is perennial and comes up frequently, so we decided to take some time to answer the question and give the roosters a break from all the bad press they get!
Folks tend to say roosters are very noisy – and yes, they can be, but not as noisy as you might think…
While many people see roosters crowing as an annoyance, it can be a vital deference alarm for the rest of the flock.
Let’s start by looking at how loud roosters are before looking at tips on keeping your rooster quiet…
How Loud Are Roosters?
A rooster crowing can produce around 90 decibels – the same as a barking dog!
Hens laying eggs and cackling is around 70 decibels, about the same as human conversation.
Lawnmowers and power tools are much louder, insistent, and more penetrating than a mere rooster.
Since they really aren’t so loud, it is probably the differentness of the noise that upsets people the most.
After all, the rooster crows to wake you up, right?
Country folks are more likely to take exception to barking dogs than a rooster crowing.
If you live in a town or village, you are sure to be accustomed to at least one neighborhood dog barking.
Fortunately, most owners are conscientious about not letting them bark at night or early in the morning.
This is where our roosters fail us – they will not be silenced!
A rooster has a mind of his own and a flock to protect, so he will crow whenever he wants, regardless of the neighbors.
An ingenious person invented a ‘no-crow’ collar.
It works by preventing the bird from expelling all the air from the air sacs at once, so it mutes the sound but does not eliminate the crow.
It has worked well for some folks, but it doesn’t work in many states (more on this later).
Why Do Roosters Crow?
Surprisingly, this question wasn’t answered until reasonably recently.
The general assumption was ‘because he can’ – this is partly true.
Researchers in Japan found that roosters’ crow to announce the day’s beginning.
The dominant rooster will crow first, and subordinates must wait until he has made the ‘official announcement.’ Then they can crow.
If they don’t, this may be seen as a challenge to the head roosters’ authority, and a fight may ensue.
The crow communicates with other chickens to prevent surprises if a flock strays too near another flock. This is important if they are in the wild jungle. They are setting up boundaries.
Roosters have not lost this instinct – it is preferable to fighting each other.
It is also a notice to any predators that the flock is guarded by a rooster. Although it may deter some smaller and perhaps some aerial predators, I don’t think Mr. Fox takes too much notice of this.
If your rooster starts crowing in the night, he could alert the flock (and you) to a predator or strange noise – it’s a ‘wake up, danger’ call to his girls.
The most exciting point of the study was that the researchers found that roosters have an internal circadian clock. Although this had long been assumed, it has not been proven until now.
When they kept the roosters in the complete dark, the birds adjusted to a 23.8-hour day which is pretty amazing!
Some roosters also crow in response to loud noises, such as a motorcar or tractor.
It’s possible that the rooster views loud, strange things as a threat and crows to assert dominance and warn them off.
Roosters also crow when they need something.
Ever notice your rooster crowing like crazy until fed or watered?
Your rooster will let you know if you’re slacking off in the feeding department.
How Long Do Roosters Crow For?
In general terms, the ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ can be repeated as long as the rooster desires.
But once the rooster has announced his territory to everyone, he’s usually quiet until something else sets him off.
If you have a solitary rooster, they are not prone to ‘over-crowing’ because they lack competition.
How would you like one of these roosters?
That would be enough to send me over the edge first thing in the morning!
This bird is a Kosovo Long Crower Rooster. They are a landrace breed, meaning they have adapted to their surroundings and haven’t been ‘bred’ by mankind.
Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, and Indonesia all can boast of long-crowing roosters going back centuries in some places:
- Japan – Toumaru, Kuro Geshiwa, Koeyoshi and Totenko breeds
- Indonesia – Ayam Pelung breed
- Germany – Bergische Kraeher breed
All of these breeds crow for more than 15 seconds, but none crow longer than the Drenica – a whopping 30 seconds!
I listened to the ‘song’ of the Koeyoshi also.
This bird is bred by the Japanese for its unusual song.
Strangely it reminded me of a Buddhist chant.
Throughout Japan, competitions are run to find the best-sounding rooster.
It’s an earnest endeavor for the participants since winning is honorable.
Other countries worldwide also hold rooster crowing contests: USA, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Indonesia.
Are There Any Quiet Roosters?
Some roosters crow less than others, but they will still crow.
If you have more than one rooster, you will know that once one crows, they all follow along – it can be pretty noisy sometimes!
Bantam roosters still crow.
In fact, because of their size, the crow itself can sound quite shrill and piercing, and it is likely to irritate some people more than the deep crow of a standard-sized rooster.
How to Keep Your Rooster Quiet
If you hope to keep him totally quiet, you are out of luck.
However, various methods exist to try and keep the noise down!
Some are crazy, and some are downright cruel – we have left those out and selected a few ideas for you to try out.
No Crow Collar
This simple invention interferes with the expulsion of the air from the roosters’ air sacs and diminishes the sound of the crow.
You can buy them from most pet and farm stores.
It does not restrict his eating, drinking, breathing, or vocalizations – just the volume of the crow.
It costs around $22.00 and comes in different sizes; you can even get a bowtie!
Some people have had great success with it, others not so much.
Some inventive souls have made their own versions for around $7.00 from a strip of Velcro.
The important points to note are that the collar must not be too tight, and the bird should be monitored when wearing the collar in case he gets into trouble.
Coop and Insulation
If your coop is near the fence line, can it be moved further away in a more sheltered location?
Just a few feet of space can make a big difference in noise volume.
Also, if you can and have room to insulate the coop and plant some bushes around it, it might muffle the sound a bit.
My concern for this solution is that predators can hide in the bushes and ambush your flock if they are hungry enough.
The best place to plant trees or shrubs would be on the border of the land – away from the coop.
You can also shutter the coop windows at night to prevent the rooster from seeing the daylight.
However, we now know that the bird has an internal circadian rhythm, so it is questionable how effective this will be.
Someone asked if caponizing would work.
Caponizing is the removal of the male testes, which will stop him from fertilizing the ladies and may calm him down, but it will not stop him from crowing.
This procedure can be done by a veterinarian.
Some folks do castrate their own roosters (without anesthesia), but needless to say, this would be painful for the bird.
If your rooster is unhappy, they’ll let you know.
Since roosters also crow to make specific demands of their caretakers, consider uncovering why your rooster is crowing.
For example, if a rooster notices a predator while you’re asleep at night, he may crow during odd hours.
If this becomes consistent, take a midnight walk to the coop with your LGD to see what the fuss is about.
Removing the predator may remedy the off-peak crowing.
Additionally, if your rooster is hungry, thirsty, or stressed, try your best to meet his needs.
Some roosters crow due to illness, so take the time to rule out other underlying problems if you have an overly vocal rooster.
Bored roosters may also crow more often than a busy roosters.
When we confine our free-range chickens in winter, the barn becomes extremely noisy with rooster crows.
Giving treats and toys to your chickens can ward off the winter blues.
Lastly, if you have a surplus of roosters, think about cutting back.
It will be much quieter if you have 1 or 2 roosters, as opposed to 10, competing for the hens in your flock.
How Loud Are Roosters? Summary
Although there are various ways in which the crowing can be lessened, they will still crow – it’s what they do.
It is how they communicate with the flock, you, and the surroundings.
We have said numerous times: good roosters are hard to find.
So if you have a good rooster, but the neighbor doesn’t like waking up to him crowing at daybreak, try to find a way to solve the problem.
It can be heartbreaking if you have to ‘rehome’ him (the rooster, not your neighbor!).
Meanness in a rooster is much about the way you handle them – you have to be the boss.
Friendship and trust may come later.
So yes, roosters can be loud, but now you know why and have a few ideas to work with to reduce the noise.
Let us know in the comments section below if you have other tips to stop roosters from crowing so much!