Friday, June 12, 2009

Noise Factor

This morning, persistent noise from the coop woke us up. It was 6:00. I'm sure the neighbors appreciated it even more than we did. We checked on them at 6:10 after the noise continued. One hen was in the (egg-free) nesting box, the other two were in the coop just hanging around. The noise stopped and we went back inside and tried to sneak just a few more minutes of sleep. And I actually did fall back asleep.

For about 5 minutes.

The egg-laying noise started up again, and this time it kept going for 20 minutes. I was worried that the excessive clucking meant one of the hens was egg-bound or something. My imagination ran wild as the noise continued. It was so loud it even woke up our sleepy-head daughters who dutifully got out of bed and fed the chickens! (That's usually my job in the AMs)

Sure enough, our daughter came running in the house bragging that she was the one who "got a double!" and proudly displayed the two eggs. Turns out that in the interval between 6:10 and when the kids went out, both of the 23-week old hens got to work.

That's great! (and I'm especially glad everyone's ok) But I'm concerned that my neighbors won't quite see it as such a great thing. At one point during the ruckus, a neighborhood dog let out a few barks, just to let everyone know he was still around:

DOG: Bark! Bark! (Shut up, chickens, it's 6 in the morning! Sheesh!)
HEN: Cluck! Cluck! (Hey, we're layin' over here! Give us a break!)

I've often read where people who don't have chickens complain about the noise and chicken owners calmly explain that chickens are not noisy at all, and you simply get a little clucking around egg time. But our experience has been different. In fact, we have a neighbor three houses down who used to keep hens and said they stopped due to the early morning (6AM, summer) noise! (but this neighbor also starts a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at 7AM every Saturday AM...)

Yes, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we get a visit from a neighbor...


  1. Our hens make the same noise! (you haven't heard them from where you live?) Most conspicuous as they are rather distinctive in their sound here in Redwood City.

    They don't sound off every morning at the crack of dawn, but a couple times a week they seem to get a bee in their bonnet and carry on for anywhere between 20 seconds and 3 minutes.

    If it affects your neighbors like it seems to have affected one of ours, likely you'll get a friendly visit from the Redwood City code enforcement staff just to make sure you're keeping no more than three hens (and no roosters) and that'll be that.

    I try not to cringe each time the girls sound off thinking that I'd much rather hear them every once in a while during the day than listen to the neighborhood dogs bark all... night... long. (eesh)

    Welcome to the delights of urban chickens! When there's chickens on every corner, their sounds will become background noise like everything else familiar to us in the city.

  2. Yes, we have a neighbor across the street with two very "yappy" dogs and when they get going, it's 10 straight minutes of chaos (including the owner yelling over them). ;)