We love keeping chickens, but there’s no denying that they can be chatty! And if you have near neighbors, all that clucking and crowing can put a strain on relations.
Fortunately, there are some more peaceable breeds out there. We’re going to check out eight quiet chicken breeds that will keep you and your neighbors on friendly terms.
We’ll discover their characteristics, temperaments, and egg-laying habits. And we’ll share some interesting titbits about their history along the way.
So if you’re ready to find out more, let’s get started!
Quiet Chicken Breeds
The Orpington regularly tops lists of quiet chickens. And interestingly, two color varieties are considered particularly peaceful birds: the buff and lavender Orpingtons. Reportedly, lavender Orpington roosters rarely if ever crow.
The first birds were black, and they did particularly well in London poultry shows. In those days, the city was a pretty dirty and sooty place, but that didn’t mar the beauty of the Orpingtons’ dark feathers.
Over time other colors were developed, as well as a bantam – a miniature version of the original Orpington. Today, standard adult males weigh between 8 and 10 pounds, while standard adult females are between 6 and 8 pounds. Bantams are around 3 to 3.5 pounds.
They have short, low bodies, curvy backs and fluffed out feathers that make them look rather stout. Their down extends along most of their legs. And they have small heads with medium-sized combs.
Breeders have concentrated on their esthetic appeal over the years, resulting in a very attractive bird. That’s had some impact on their egg-laying ability, though, which was at one point truly prodigious. In the past, Orpingtons were known to produce as many as 340 eggs a year.
But the modern chooks are still no slouches in the egg department. They can lay between 175 and 200 eggs in a year. And those eggs are a good size too, with light brown shells.
They’re friendly birds, and good with kids. Their agreeable temperaments have seen buff Orpingtons referred to as the chicken world’s answer to golden retrievers!
The Wyandotte – originally known as the American Sebright – is named after the indigenous North American people, the Wyandots. It was developed in the 1870s by four breeders: H. M. Doubleday, Fred Houdlette, John Ray, and L. Whittaker.
The breed’s ancestry, though, is something of a mystery. Some believe it to have been the result of breeding between dark Brahmas and spangled Hamburgs.
Today’s birds are pretty big, weighing in at between 6 and 9 pounds. As with all chicken breeds, males are larger than females. Both sexes have a medium-sized body, broad back and full breast. Their legs are yellow, and they have a rosy comb, and red earlobes and wattles.
The hens are extremely good egg layers, producing between 4 and 6 eggs a week. The eggs are medium to large in size, with light brown shells that occasionally have speckles. They will go broody from time to time, and make good mothers to their chicks.
If you’re looking for a bird to exhibit at poultry shows, the Cochin is an excellent choice. It’s an attractive and distinctive chicken with lots of beautiful feathers that extend down its legs, and even to its feet.
It’s also a gentle and peaceful bird, with lots of advantages for people who are new to rearing chickens. The Cochin doesn’t tend to wander far, and isn’t prone to taking flight. It’s happy to be handled too, making it a good choice as a pet for children.
Not being particularly energetic does, however, mean that Cochins are prone to getting fat. So it’s important to keep an eye on their diet. Weighing them every so often is a good idea too, as those fluffy feathers mean it can be tricky to see if they’re putting on weight.
All those feathers also mean it’s important to make sure your Cochins can stay cool in the summer months. Make sure they always have access to shade and plenty of cool water. Adding a few ice blocks to the latter will be a big help.
And try to make sure their feet stay dry in the winter. The feathering on their legs means that cold water can hang around and result in frostbite.
The hens aren’t the most prolific egg layers, producing around two eggs per week and stopping laying at the age of 2 to 3 years. But the eggs they do lay are large, and they’ll continue production well into the winter months.
The Brahma chicken is a home-grown American breed, developed in the nineteenth century. Its ancestors are thought to be Asian chickens imported from Shanghai.
It’s a large but peaceful chicken. Adult roosters weigh around 12 pounds, while adult hens average around 10 pounds. There are light, dark and buff color varieties, all with distinctively shaped heads and pea combs.
Their calm and gentle temperaments mean they’re great with kids. But their size can be intimidating to smaller children.
It also means you’ll have a big feed bill! Brahmas need plenty of calories. And if they’re hungry, they can bully other chickens.
Brahmas were once principally used for meat, but these days they’re prized for their eggs. Brahma hens are good layers, and their eggs weigh around 2 ounces each. They start laying later in life than some other breeds, at around seven months old.
It can be tricky to tell the sex of Brahma chicks. The differences between the longer, pointier feathers of males and the rounder feathers of females often don’t become apparent until around 5 months of age.
5. Plymouth Rock
The peaceful nature of Plymouth Rock chickens makes them a great addition to urban poultry flocks. For some reason, barred birds are known as being particularly quiet.
They’re friendly too, generally getting on well with both people and other chickens. They aren’t known for any particular health problems. And they’re hardy enough to cope with cooler temperatures (although, like all chickens, they need appropriate shelter).
The hens are good layers, producing around 200 eggs a year. Those have light brown shells and weigh around 2 ounces each. They’re good sitters too, able to successfully incubate the eggs and hatch their chicks.
There are seven different color varieties of Plymouth Rock in the USA, including barred, silver-pencilled, white and partridge. But whatever the color, the comb, wattles and earlobes of all these chickens are bright red.
Despite the name, Java chickens originated in the US in the first half of the nineteenth century. Their ancestors were Asian chickens, but beyond that, little is known of their heritage.
They’re sturdy and robust chooks. Adult roosters weigh around 9.5 pounds, while hens can be anything between 6.5 and 7.5 pounds. They have long, broad backs, deep breasts, medium-sized combs and wattles, and small earlobes.
There are three color varieties today – black, mottled and white. Interestingly, mottled Javas are known for being particularly quiet birds.
They’re a heritage breed, and aren’t commonly found today. But they’re well worth seeking out. As well as being peaceful and healthy, the hens are good egg layers who’ll continue producing well into the winter.
Both sexes are friendly to humans and other chooks. And while they prefer to be free range, they won’t get upset if they have to be confined to quarters during bad weather.
7. Rhode Island Red
As you might have guessed from the name, the Rhode Island Red is another American breed of chicken. It hails from Massachusetts, where it was developed in the nineteenth century. It was the result of breeding Asian chickens, like the Malay, with Italian Leghorns.
It’s a striking bird, with distinctive deep red plumage. Some birds have single combs, while others have rose-combs. But all Rhode Island Reds have bright red combs, wattles and earlobes.
They’re another breed that’s great for eggs, with hens laying at least 200 a year. Modern strains bred for egg production can greatly exceed those levels, producing around 300 eggs a year.
Some chooks will go broody, and they can be fiercely protective of their young. Chicks will hatch after about 21 days.
They’re friendly and inquisitive birds – but still quiet! – and they’re excellent foragers. They can be a great form of pest control when it comes to bugs in your garden.
They tend to be higher in the pecking order than some other breeds though, so it’s best not to mix them with more docile chooks.
The Australorp hails from Down Under. And when it comes to egg production, Australorp ladies are the cream of the flock.
Australorps broke numerous egg-laying records in the 1930s. As long as they’re well cared for, these hens will reliably lay at least 250 eggs per year. And one prolific chook produced no fewer than 364 eggs in a year.
Despite breeders’ focus on laying, Australorps are also great at sitting – incubating and hatching their young. And when the chicks appear, they’re attentive mothers too.
Standard male Australorps weigh between 7 and 9 pounds. Females, though, are much smaller, between 5 and 7 pounds. And you can also get bantam Australorps, weighing between 1.75 and 2.7 pounds.
They’re quiet and friendly birds, who get used to being handled easily. They’re healthy and robust too, not requiring any special measures to keep them happy and healthy.
What to Know About Chickens and Noise
Noise can be subjective – what’s a muted cluck to some, can be clucking unbearable to others. But generally speaking, hens aren’t particularly noisy. And if you compare them to, say, a barking dog, they come out on top in the peaceful stakes.
That’s not to say that noise levels won’t rise from time to time, though. Hens laying eggs will usually communicate that with what’s known as “egg song”. And if there’s a squabble in the yard, the volume will increase.
If there’s no rooster in the flock, one of the hens will generally assume a leadership role. And that will include alerting her flock-mates to the presence of any predators or other risks. Unsurprisingly, those calls will be much louder than the lower hum of general chicken conversation.
That, of course, can be a good thing for you. A sudden burst of noise in the yard can alert you to any developing problems.
The key to keeping noise levels down is keeping your chooks happy. That starts with the basics – plenty of clean, fresh water, a ready supply of food, and good shelter.
A covered run will alleviate the risk of aerial predators that might otherwise lead to an explosion of clucking. And it also provides essential shade to help your chickens stay cool in warmer weather.
Three (hushed) cheers for quiet chickens!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at some of the quieter chicken breeds out there. Whether you’re looking for chooks to show, cuddle or lay eggs, there are plenty of varieties to choose from. And none of them are likely to upset your neighbors!
Just remember that all chickens will be noisier from time to time. That’s part of chicken life – and a big part of their charm.