Once upon a time, the morning call of the rooster used to be an integral part of people’s routine. Sadly, many have grown so detached from nature, traditional farming and rural life that they regard the rooster’s crow as a “nuisance."
Let me just edge in a quick word and say how unfair I think this is. If you live in the suburbs or on the outskirts of a city, and are trying to set up a small urban homestead, any complaint from any negatively-minded neighbor can be a dream-killer. If they keep a dog that annoys you by barking all day, or if their noisy lawn mower drives you crazy, you can hardly do anything. But if your rooster crows morning and evening, your neighbors can file a complaint and make you get rid of it, because it’s considered “livestock”.
So how do you reduce this possible source of friction with your neighbors?
Some people choose not to keep a rooster at all, but only a few laying hens, and replace them as they age. It can be a sensible approach in some circumstances, unless your neighbors are so fussy that even the clucking of a laying hen gets on their nerves. But keeping a girl-only flock is a disappointment if you have been planning on breeding your chickens and rearing your own tiny balls of fluff every year.
Choose your breed carefully. Some breeds are distinctly noisier, more dominant and, for lack of a better expression, cockier than others. Brahmas, Cochins, Wyandottes, Plymouth Rock and Australorps are known for their docility, and the roosters are relatively quiet, family-friendly, and easy to handle.
Keep just one. Two roosters in one flock will try to out-crow and in general to compete with each other; one will call, the other will answer, and so it goes on. If you only have one rooster of a quiet breed, he’ll give a couple of calls a day to assert his dominance over the hens, and that’s it.
Rooster collars. If all else fails, check out the option of no-crow rooster collars. They are easy to put on and do the bird no harm, but muffle the crowing sound. We haven’t personally tried this, but friends of ours have had great success in using them.
My last suggestion is broader and less technical; try to cultivate a closer and friendlier relationship with your neighbors. Give them a few fresh eggs when you can, invite their children to feed your chickens or see baby chicks when you have them. Usually, after people have been your guests, tasted your home-grown omelet, and played with your cute fluffy newly-hatched chicks, they are unlikely to complain over something that isn’t absolutely disruptive. In fact, they might even want to get some chickens themselves!
Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blog. Read all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.
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