Assessing the Potential for Noise Complaints due to Backyard Chickens



During the past decade, there has been tremendous growth in the popularity of backyard chickens in urban and suburban locations throughout the United States.  While there are many advantages to raising chickens, their introduction has not gone without controversy.  Noise has been a common concern during discussions of municipal ordnances and a common complaint against flock owners.  There is very little data on the sound levels produced by chickens in the technical literature.  What data is published is not appropriate for predicting sound levels at owners’ property lines.  In addition, the non-technical literature, social media, newspaper stories, etc. abounds with misinformation.  To determine the sound power of various chicken breeds, the author has been measuring sound levels from birds in his flock.  This data can then be compared to the sound level from other typical back yard sound sources, existing community annoyance prediction models, and records of noise complaints.