As we get even closer to the scariest day of the year, it’s time to debunk yet another myth about our loving backyard birds. Cock-a-doodle-doo and did you just catch a whiff of something? That’s right! Many people believe that chickens are contributors to both bad odors and noise.
Why would they think that? First, let’s talk about that smell. Most living creatures put off a scent, in the form of manure. And your chickens will too. However, your chicken’s manure can be used for a high-quality fertilizer or added to your compost.
One study shows that a 40-pound dog creates more waste in a day than 10 backyard chickens. The manure from the dog is going to go to the garbage, whereas the manure from those hens can be used to add nutrients to your vegetable or flower garden.
Of course, the coop can really start smelling with a strong ammonia odor if it is not cleaned regularly. For best results pick the manure out daily and clean the coop out, including replacing the bedding in the brooder and nesting boxes, weekly. Some backyard chicken owners recommend cleaning the coop out thoroughly twice a year.
Now what about that noise? Chickens will cluck, but once again, they are not loud. Their “chatter” registers between 60-70 decibels, which is about the same as two adults having a conversation. Yes, a hen will usually crow when she lays an egg, but it isn’t excessive. And, if you have a rooster, he will likely only get really loud if there is a predator in the area, to warn the rest of the group.
Many people have these misconceptions about chickens because they are uninformed or perhaps afraid of having backyard birds in the neighborhood. As long as you do your part to keep the manure picked up and the coops clean, the smell and noise will be minimal. If they are used to hearing the neighborhood dogs, they will get used to hearing a few chickens cluck, especially if you treat them to some fresh eggs occasionally.
Another myth debunked! Keep your coop and backyard clean of chicken waste, and the chicken smell will be marginal. As for the intermittent cluck, cluck, that sound might reawake some fond memories around the neighborhood!