Is there such a thing as the quietest chicken breed? Well, some breeds aren’t as chatty as others, but in truth, there aren’t any completely quiet chicken breeds. In this article, I’ll identify the chicken breeds that are the quietest within their category. Then, we’ll touch on a few things you can do to keep the chickens you have quiet(er). Your neighbors will be grateful, and you’ll enjoy just a little more peace and quiet than you did before.
Why are Chickens so Noisy
Chickens are social animals. They enjoy living in a flock for a variety of reasons, like added protection, teamwork when foraging, and power in numbers. So, it stands to reason that they communicate with each other daily, sometimes...all.day.long. Unfortunately for us, those cackles, crows, and growls can drive both us, and our neighbors, a little coo-coo from time-to-time. The good news is, some chicken breeds are less vocal than others. And instead of giving you a handful of less chatty chicken breeds that might not suit your needs, I’ll give you an option for each “purpose”.
The Quietest Chicken that Lays the Most Eggs
Rhode Island Reds are coveted for the prolific egg-laying abilities. With proper care, you can look forward to getting around 250 eggs each year from your Rhode Island Red hens. The Rhode Island Red may be a quieter breed of chicken, but it’s not generally an affectionate breed. Some say the roosters are quite aggressive, so weigh your options in this category.
The Prettiest Quiet Chicken
If you ask me, all chickens are pretty! But some have a little extra flair than others. If you’re an ornamental chicken keeper, you’ll want a quiet breed that’s easy on the eyes. Luckily, the Wyandotte is one of the quietest breeds of chickens. And with her beautiful laced, multi-colored, feathers, you’re not skimping on your chicken’s curb appeal when you add one of these beauties to your flock.
The Quietest Rooster
This won’t be the last time you see the Orpington grace this list of quiet chicken breeds. Specifically, the Lavender Orpington is an extremely quiet breed of chicken. While not yet recognized by the APA, this chicken is quickly becoming a family favorite. The roosters are no different than the hens with their laid-back take on life. Yes, they’ll crow, but it is quite infrequent compared to other breeds, even on this list.
The Quietest Meat Bird
In general, meat birds aren’t typically around long enough for their testosterone to kick in. This means they won’t be crowing, and if they do, it’s usually around 8-9 weeks of age…which is butcher time. Cornish Crosses start crowing just before it’s time for slaughter. But if you’re hoping to keep a heritage breed as a meat bird, and you’re looking for peace and quiet, consider the Black Australorp. It’s no accident that the “orp” in Australorp comes from their genetic relationship to the Orpington. Which is another reason this chicken is a quiet meat chicken. They have a large carcass and they keep their beaks shut more than other dual-purpose breeds. The only downside is the wait-time for slaughter. You’ll be slaughtering significantly later than you would with a Cornish Cross, around 6 months of age or longer.
The Quietest Dual Purpose Chicken
Want a quiet chicken that both lays well and provides meat? You guessed it, the Buff Orpington is your go-to, quiet, dual-purpose breed. A Buff Orpington will lay approximately 250 eggs per year and is ready to butcher at about 6 months. A Buff Orpington will weight approximately 8 lbs when it’s ready for processing. While the carcass of a Buff Orpington will not be as visually pleasing as the Cornish Cross meat bird, it tastes just as good (if not better). Buff Orpington skin can be white, depending on the variety, but it often is more of a yellowish tint, which can be off-putting for those used to the grocery store broiler. Typically, the breast bone is more prominent in heritage breeds. So don’t be alarmed if you switch to non-commercial meat birds.
The Best Free-Ranger
The quietest chicken, that’s also a fantastic free-ranger, is the Easter Egger. With that being said, it’s important to note that the Easter Egger is a hybrid of chicken and not an actual breed. Regardless, the genetics that links these birds to the Araucauna make it an excellent forager that isn’t too chatty. The Easter Egger is also quite savvy when it comes to protecting itself from predators. Moreover, some varieties of this breed are said to have a hawk-like appearance which also attributes to its ability to avoid becoming an aerial predator’s dinner.
Bonus: Easter Eggers lay lovely eggs ranging in color from pink, to olive-green, and robin’s egg blue.
The Friendliest of The Quiet Chickens
It should come as no surprise that the Orpington is back on the list, for the third time, as the quietest chicken breed. Only this time, she’s showing up as a kid-friendly, quiet, chicken breed. Orpingtons come in a variety of colors recognized by the APA, including Buff, Black, and Splash. A newcomer, that is not yet recognized by the APA is the aforementioned Lavender-colored Orpington. Again, the Orpington is a quiet breed that is also extremely docile. Its easily the friendliest chicken breed available. In fact, buffs are often referred to as the Golden Retriever of the chicken world.
Tips to Keep Chickens Quiet
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a silent chicken. Aside from choosing a quiet chicken breed for your farm, you can also do the following to ensure your chickens’ needs are met, and they have less to squawk about:
- Keep them safe from predators so they don’t have to alert and alarm each other when they’re in danger.
- Make sure they always have enough food and water…they’ll let you know if they don’t.
- Ensure that each rooster has plenty of hens to call his own. Too many roosters and not enough hens will cause a stir. (The exact number may vary depending on your individual flock, but I usually keep at least 6 hens for every rooster).
- Don’t keep roosters…sadly, they are the ones making the loudest noise in the poultry world. If you want less noise, you can cut the rooster from the flock.
- Have enough nesting boxes for your hens so they don’t cackle and squabble over a place to lay their eggs when the urge is upon them. (Usually, 1 box to every 3-4 hens should be fine)
To ensure you’ve got the quietest flock possible, choose a breed that’s known to be less talkative than the rest and follow these tips. If you do, you’ll find the noise isn’t so bad after all.