Add to My MSN

Keeping Urban Roosters Quietly and Responsibly

11/30/2009 1:17:48 PM

Tags: roosters, chickens, urban, quiet

A photo of Andy G. Schneider, the Chicken WhispererSeveral 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, maintain 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 happened 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

 



Related Content

Raising Chickens: Out With the Old, In With the New

Andy and Becky are in the chick business -- older chicks in the brooder house, new day-old chicks in...

Spring Romance

The hens have unwelcome gentleman callers.

ChickenWaterer.com Launches Free Smartphone App

ChickenWaterer.com’s new app, the Cluck-ulator, is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.

GRIT Guide To Backyard Chickens

Hank proudly announces GRIT's new Guide to Backyard Chickens book.

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

Judy
11/9/2010 9:20:50 PM
very good info, nice to hear how you kept your rooster from crowing humanly, so many people don't realize you can still have chickens laying eggs without roosters, I have a website called www.judysbackyardfarm.com, please feel free to visit. thanks Judy

KC Compton_2
11/30/2009 2:03:09 PM
And, maybe our readers can lobby their citified friends who object to roosters crowing just to get over it and embrace the music. Unless, of course, the roosters have trouble with their internal clocks like the banty rooster on the farm where I used to live. He thought 3 a.m. was close enough to dawn to start crowing his pipsqueak little crow. It annoyed me a couple of times and then, like living next to a train track or highway, the sound just became part of the ambiance and I stopped noticing. --KC



Pay Now & Save 50% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Live The Good Life with Grit!

For more than 125 years, Grit has helped its readers live more prosperously and happily while emphasizing the importance of community and a rural lifestyle tradition. In each bimonthly issue, Grit includes helpful articles, humorous and inspiring articles, captivating photos, gardening and cooking advice, do-it-yourself projects and the practical reader advice you would expect to find in America’s premier rural lifestyle magazine.

Get your guide to living outside the city limits delivered straight to your mailbox. Subscribe to Grit today!  Simply fill in your information below to receive 1 year (6 issues) of Grit for only $19.95!

SPECIAL BONUS OFFER!

At Grit, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to Grit through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Grit for only $14.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Grit for just $19.95!