Before getting these fluffy bundles of joy as additions to your suburban backyard, the question of exactly how noisy they are might come up – and you might have heard some mixed opinions. We look into exactly how noisy silkies can be and what you as silkie owner can do to keep the noise levels down and prevent getting letters from upset neighbors in your mailbox.
Silkies are known to be less noisy compared to other chicken breeds. This is mainly due to their smaller size making them less capable to produce the volume larger chickens are able to. They have docile natures and tend to be less rowdy, but some silkies can be noisy at times.
Not all silkies are clangorous and understanding what the cause for uproar among your silkies is will help minimize the decibels. The reasons for noise differ slightly between roosters and hens, but there are also a few common factors that will cause clattery in the coop and we share a few tips on how you can help keep the noise levels down.
How Noisy Exactly?
In this video you can see a silkie cockerel that just recently started crowing a well as a broody hen about to lay an egg, the third silkie featured is a more mature silkie rooster crowing.
This video is of another silkie rooster crowing at full volume. Compare this to the crow of a larger breed rooster. This video is also a good demonstration of how roosters will have a ‘dialogue’ as a demonstration of dominance.
A silkie rooster’s crow can be described as being higher pitched and slightly softer compared to a larger breed rooster. Silkie hens, on the other side, tend to be mostly quiet under normal circumstances (exceptions for when they are broody). How noisy silkies are, depends on a number of factors, some of which are determined by an individual silkie’s disposition and others by their environment. Understanding what causes silkies to be noisy and what you as a silkie owner can do to minimize this, will go a long way in keeping the peace in your neighborhood. In broad terms, happy silkies are low volume, chatty chickens, ideal for suburban back yards, and if you do find yourself as the owner of some noisy silkies, there are a few solutions that could prove helpful.
The Crowing Silkie Rooster
A silkie rooster’s crow is by far the biggest noise concern for the silkie flock and a silkie cockerel can be expected to start crowing from around 3 months of age. Some areas will have restrictions on the keeping of roosters in suburban areas so check with your local authorities in this regard before getting silkie roosters and potentially ruffling a few feathers.
The Myth of the Morning Song
It is a common thought that roosters will crow at the crack of dawn or at the first sign of morning light, but a research paper published in Current Biology in 2013 by Shimmura and Yoshimura found that it’s not that simple. They evaluated whether a rooster’s morning crow is as a result of external stimuli such as daylight or other roosters crowing, or an internal circadian rhythm and found that even though external stimuli do play a role, their circadian rhythm is also a large determinant of when they will crow. This explains why roosters will often crow a few hours before daybreak and why keeping them in a dark coop till after sunrise is a futile endeavor in the interest of sleeping in.
Apart from the morning song, the main reason why silkie roosters crow, is as a way of showing dominance. If there are multiple roosters within hearing distance of each other, one crow will often set of another rooster to start crowing, which will almost always end up as a back and forth crowing for some time.
Another reason why silkie roosters crow is to alert the flock to danger. Any strange animal or person or even noise can set a silkie rooster off to start crowing to alert the flock to the perceived danger.
The last reason worth mentioning why a silkie rooster will crow is due to boredom. Making sure your silkie rooster has lots to do throughout the day will minimize the time he has to possibly crow. The list of tips below includes a few suggestions on how to keep him entertained.
The Clacking Silkie Hen
Silkie hens, on the other hand, are most noisy for one main reason: she’s got to tell everyone about the egg she is about to lay or just laid – also known as the egg song. Other hens will often join in the clatter when one hen starts off which will result in a noisy flock for a few minutes. A high egg-producing silkie will typically lay 3-4 eggs per week which is a tad less compared to high egg-producing chicken breeds that can lay 6 eggs per week. So, comparing silkie hens to hens of other breeds, you can expect fewer egg songs.
The Noisy Silkie Flock
In addition to the above-mentioned reasons, silkies also tend to be noisy when there is something alarming in their environment. This can be a benefit to alert you to something or someone in the yard but is not ideal if you simply want to mow your lawn or clean the pool. This is a chicken thing and not just a silkie thing so you won’t be better off looking for greener pastures in the form of different breeds of chicken.
Tips to keep you Silkie flock’s noise levels down:
- Limit the number of roosters you have in your flock. Less competition for dominance will result in less crowing and more than that, less back and forth crowing between roosters in an attempt to determine who is boss. If your local authorities does not allow roosters to be kept in suburban areas, at least you will have one less noise concern to worry about.
- Keep more hens with your rooster. More hens will result in your rooster spending more time organizing his hens and being chief of the flock.
- Supply them with more food throughout the day. Giving them more to eat will naturally result in less time for the rooster to crow and more time spent presenting the hens with food and eating or foraging.
- Keep their environment interesting. Supplying your silkies with a swing perch or two and a dust bath will keep them busy and happy. Other options such as a mirror could also supply hours of entertainment. Nobody knows why but many a bird loves spending time admiring themselves. Another good idea is to hand a few pieces of iceberg lettuce within reaching distance for them to peck at.
- A rooster collar. This is not used to punish the rooster for crowing and is not meant to cause him any discomfort or prevent him from crowing, it merely serves to muffle the sound. They are available to buy online or you could also make you own using a baby sock. The rooster collar should be placed around their neck, under their hackle.
- Keep your flock in the coop until a more decent morning hour. Keeping them in the coop will also help to muffle the loud morning song crow. When the rooster then does crow while free ranging, at least your neighbors should be awake already. There are some options to modify the coop to help muffle sound but beware not to obstruct ventilation.
- Keep your boy indoors until a more decent hour. Some people will even go as far as keeping their silkie rooster in a crate inside their home till after sunrise. This is not exactly ideal for you own sleep-in mornings but will reduce the noise the neighbors are able to hear. Luckily, silkie’s docile nature and small size makes this a feasible option.
- Keep visitors to the minimum. Inevitably, visitors coming to view your flock, unfamiliar animals or large objects will cause uproar in your flock. It will not always be possible to avoid these types of situations but at the very least we can try and minimize this.
Roosters will crow and hens will cluck. As long as you make their environment as conducive as possible to their natural behavior, they will have much less to complain about and in general, should quiet down.
For what silkies lack in size, they make up for in personality. This is one of the many things that make silkies such wonderful pets and companions. Each chicken will have their own particular disposition and some may just end up being more vocal than others. As a general rule of thumb, sticking to a routine, keeping them safe, well-fed, and entertained will result in low noise, chatty flock.