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Our neighbor's backyard is almost directly adjacent to ours. He's put up a few pens with chickens and also has at least 2 (but maybe as many as 4, judging by the sounds) roosters. In an urban environment, this is... less than ideal. The chickens make a lot of noise already, but usually that's just 10-20 minutes of all the chickens going off at once and then it's quiet again.

The roosters, on the other hand, are almost never quiet. They wake me up at different hours of the night, and can easily go on for more than hour then. Their crowing doesn't seem to be (stereotypically?) related to the sun rising: They crow at 11 PM just as loudly as at 1 AM, or 5 AM. As I'm writing this, it's just past 9 AM and they've been crowing since at least 7 AM, with no sign of stopping except maybe 30 minutes of silence in between.

We're planning on confronting the neighbor with this yet again, but so far his argument has always been 'That's just what these animals do', and that he can't do anything about it. I find this hard to believe: A childhood friend of mine lived on a farm with chickens and a rooster and that rooster was crowing a lot less (shorter periods, maybe once or twice a day). I have lost contact with her, though, so asking her or her parents about how they treated their rooster would be weird.

Since I'd like to go into the confrontation a bit more prepared this time, and ideally be able to tell him that he can do something about it and what he should do about it:

What can be done to stop roosters from crowing day and night?

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  • Are the roosters in a hen house at night or in open/light pens?
    – Stephie
    Jul 26 at 8:16
  • That said, some roosters are just more vocal than others and they are likely edging each other on.
    – Stephie
    Jul 26 at 8:17
  • @Stephie I think the roosters are always roaming the yard freely: There is a big open pen with a closed hen house, and that's where we always hear the chickens coming from, but the sound of the roosters definitely moves across the yard (and we saw one of them walking around when we visit to complain). Jul 26 at 8:29
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    Check with your local municipality, there are regulations as to how many hens, and roosters one is allowed to keep in their backyard in an urban area.
    – Luuklag
    Jul 26 at 8:38
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    Think it might be better suited for Life Hacks, as you don't ask about the roosters themselves. But not sure, just my own humble opinion. :) Jul 26 at 8:41
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Roosters are very territorial animals. They crow to mark their territory and warn other roosters off or establish their order of rank if there are several roosters in the flock.

The easiest solution would be to have all the hens living in one big coop together and reduce the number of roosters to 1. You'll still hear him, but much less constantly.

If your neighbor isn't willing to get rid of his excess roosters, he should at least divide his yard into clear territories for each rooster and put an opaque barrier in between. The remaining roosters will probably start a little crowing battle as soon as one of them starts crowing, but the lack of sight should calm the situation down after a short back-and-forth.

Living in close proximity with other roosters is a constant stressor. The "alpha" rooster will not stop intimidating the other ones in the flock, even if they do not challenge his status. And once one rooster starts crowing they will all follow, one after the other. Read here for more information.


The next problem arises if the area is too small or otherwise unsuited for the flock. You write "He's put up a few pens with chickens". If these pens are too small for the number of chickens, they get bored and cannot entertain themselves with scratching holes or anything. If you're lucky, there are local or national directives concerning how much space each chicken must have that your neighbor is required to follow.

Hens should also have free access to a hen house or any kind of hiding spot or roof in addition to a rail that is raised from the ground. If they feel like they cannot hide away from a bird of prey (therefore the roofs) or a land predator (therefor the rail) they may crow to warn each other of every little thing that seems remotely dangerous.

And lastly, roosters can crow if they're out of food and/or water. (source)


If there actually is only one rooster, you cannot expect your neighbor to get rid of it. Not having a rooster causes stress to the hens. And unfortunately, some rooster just like to crow constantly...

There are some tricks to stop them from crowing at night, but it's your neighbor who must implement them.

  • There are stretchy fabric "no-crow collars" the rooster can wear around the neck. In a relaxed position the collar doesn't do much, but it restricts the air flow while the rooster stretches its neck to crow. It won't stop him from crowing, but is makes the crows somewhat quieter. (Source, see it in action here on Youtube.)
  • He should entertain the chickens by hiding the food under a thin layer of straw, hey or shredded paper or by feeding corncobs or big chunks of vegetables that have to be picked apart. You can even craft a very simple puzzle feeder for chickens by wrapping some treats in pieces of paper. Here's a list of commercial and DIY chicken toys.
  • He should lock all chickens onto the hen house at night and block out as much light as possible.
  • He could also put the rooster into a box at night that's just a little too small for him to stretch fully. Since roosters need to stretch their necks for crowing, they can't to so in a too little space. Make sure the box has air holes, though! (source: last post)
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    Those collars and tiny pens seem a bit cruel to me. I'm not convinced that a random forum poster is an authority on how to treat animals!
    – nick012000
    Jul 26 at 16:30
  • Now I'm wondering if they make falconer's hoods for roosters? If they can't see the sun or other roosters, they won't have a reason to crow. (Note: not a serious suggestion, and probably not a good idea anyhow since it would also prevent the rooster from eating...) Jul 26 at 17:45
  • @DarrelHoffman Well... someone in a forum wrote they put a black sock over their roosters head at night, with a hole cut in it to fit the beak XD
    – Elmy
    Jul 26 at 18:12
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    +1 But with all that said, roosters are simply noisy creatures, and if you're living next door to a bunch of them it's going to be noisy. You might game a bit more quiet time out of them with some of these strategies, but at the end of the day OP is left to the mercy of their neighbour actually doing these things - and at that, they will still make a lot of noise no matter what. OP says they're in an urban area, so their best hope will be that bylaws exist that are on their side. There's no such thing as a quiet rooster.
    – J...
    Jul 26 at 18:24
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    And now I'm also remembering a detail about Mike the Headless Chicken, who reportedly attempted to crow despite missing most of his head, so apparently, eyes are not required for that... Jul 26 at 20:27
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Roosters crow, and there is no practical and humane way to silence them. You said "urban" so you live in a city or town. Many cities and towns have become more chicken-friendly in recent years, but in doing so they have enacted ordinances that limit the number of chickens per lot, set minimum distances between chicken coops and the lot line, and indeed some city and town ordinances allow hens but strictly prohibit roosters.

Hens raised for eggs don't need roosters at all. With no rooster, hens will simply lay infertile eggs. The downside of a rooster-free chicken yard is that the owner will eventually have to buy new chicks to replace aging hens.

If your city or town has an online presence, you should search for chicken ordinances. Or you could call your local building department or code enforcement office. Find out if roosters are even allowed. If they are allowed, how far must they be kept from the lot line? Do noise ordinances address roosters?

If roosters are prohibited, you can inform your neighbor and give him a reasonable amount of time to get rid of them, under threat of an official complaint and a visit from the city or town authorities.

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    +1. Many chicken-friendly cities allow no roosters, and the advice among hobby poultry keepers is that one rooster is sufficient for up to 16 chickens, and should always have at least four to himself. (And as MTA has said, laying hens don't need any rooster at all.) The OP's over-roostered neighbour might just be misguided, but at the sinister extreme, there may be a chance that his hennery is a cover for breeding cocks for fighting. It may be best to reduce direct conflict with this guy and let the authorities investigate.
    – CCTO
    Jul 27 at 17:45

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