You need to keep the noise level down in your neighborhood. Which is the quieter bird to raise, ducks or chickens?
Ducks are quieter than chickens, especially chicken flocks with roosters.
In your day to day bird raising, ducks and chickens are about the same as far as making noise.
Both ducks and chickens are usually quiet but sometimes, especially if startled, they will squawk or quack about.
I have to admit, I tend to tune out the poultry background noises, since I am used to them and only notice it when I’m editing a video.
The crazy part is, I would actually say that ducks make more noises than chickens, but they are not necessarily louder noises.
Ducks are normally making pretty quiet sounds, nothing loud or bothersome to the neighbors.
It’s more like ducks do a lot of muttering to themselves as they go about their day. The muttering seems to be constant but pretty quiet.
|Duck hen, everyday activities||low|
|Drake, everyday activities||low|
|All ducks when startled||high|
|Setting duck, on nest||low|
|Setting duck, off nest||high|
|Chicken hen, everyday activities||med|
|All chickens when startled||high|
|Rooster, everyday activities||high|
Ducks are not usually noisy
Most ducks are not noisy, unless they are startled.
They make the occasional quiet quack, almost like they are talking to themselves, but nothing too noticeable.
16 Duck Breeds gives you breeds to consider and our take on the breeds we have raised.
For ducks, Pekins are noisy
The exception here is the Pekin. Pekins seem to be a more nervous and active type duck and quite “talkative” no matter what’s going on.
We have a few Pekins and it’s noticeable how much more chatty they are than the other breeds of ducks. But, I like them anyway!
A setting duck who is off of her nest is noisy
The other time a duck might be more noisy than normal is a nesting duck hen who is off of her nest getting a quick drink.
She’ll waddle out all puffed up (kind of like a turkey) and noisy as can be. She seems to be saying “get out of the road, I’m in a hurry!”
This gal will be louder than normal, but only when she is making a quick dash for a drink. When she’s setting on the nest, she’s very quiet.
Setting ducks are usually so quiet, in fact, that you’ll have to know she is there or notice she is missing and actively look to find her setting on the nest.
Overall, chickens are quiet
Most chickens are pretty quiet. As far as noise goes, if hens are startled, chickens will squawk and flutter about until they calm down a bit.
Also, when a chicken is contentedly scratching around they make almost a purring noise. Of course, this is quiet, you have to be pretty close to the hen to hear the “purr” at all.
Where this goes wobbly is when a chicken (I’m talking about hens, here) makes noise it is louder than the normal level of ducks “talking”.
Roosters are not quiet
Roosters are a completely different story as far as noise goes. They are just plain louder than ducks. Roosters can be quiet, they just usually aren’t.
We have numerous roosters and they crow all day and sometimes at night.
Crowing at sunrise, is not the case for most of these guys! They are loud throughout the whole day!
I have to admit, we are used to the roosters and really don’t notice the crowing.
Usually it takes someone remarking about it or me editing one of the YouTube videos and I hear crowing in the background.
Do You Need A Rooster? gives you the times when you might want a rooster, even though you do not need one for your hens to keep laying eggs.
Roosters crow in the wee hours
How do I know this? Aren’t most people asleep in the “small hours”? Normally, yes, but not during lambing!
We have some ewes due to lamb any minute so we are checking them through out the night. It’s January and has been 16-18 degrees overnight lately.
That’s cold enough we need to check new lambs, but not too cold or too early for roosters!
I check the ewes at 4 a.m. and 6 or 7 a.m. and those crazy roosters are always crowing!
At 4 in the morning, it’s going to be dark for another couple hours yet!
Muscovy ducks are the quietest duck
If you are wanting the quietest duck possible, Muscovy is the one for you!
Muscovy ducks can “talk” quite a bit, but they don’t quack, they hiss. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.
If all you are concerned with is quiet and want to get ducks, consider getting Muscovy ducks.
Quiet ducks does not equal easy to fence
However, you should know that Muscovy ducks can fly and roost. Meaning that quiet, as far as noise goes, does not equal easy to fence.
Not that this is a problem, just something most folks talking about them seem to leave out!
So while they are quiet, we find that they are actually harder to contain than other domestic ducks would be.
Larger breed chickens will be quieter than smaller breeds
If you want to have chickens, but need the quietest birds available, here are two options.
First option to quieter chickens: have the hens but not the rooster. You only need a rooster if you want fertile eggs.
If you don’t plan to hatch the eggs, you don’t need a rooster with your hens.
Secondly, the larger breed chickens will be a bit quieter than the smaller breed chickens. This is nothing more than activity level.
Small breed chickens are more energetic, which comes out vocally as well.
Once again, most of the chicken noise comes from a rooster, so if you don’t have any roosters, you automatically cut the noise level from your flock.
20 Calm Chicken Breeds gives you a nice list of easy to get along with chickens.
Busy chickens are quieter, let them out of the coop
It seems to me that chickens out scratching and pecking through your yard are quieter than chickens that are stuck all day, everyday in a coop.
Being out in the grass gives the chickens something to do with their time and energy other than being squawky.
Predator Management is a great article from Poultry Extension on keeping predators away from your poultry, which applies to both chickens and ducks!