by Patricia Foreman
[This is the second in a series of articles. To see the first article in this series, visit 7 Myths About Urban Chickens.]
Myth 2. Chickens are too Noisy.
Fact: laying hens — at their loudest — have about the same decibel level as human conversation (60 to 70 decibels). Hens are so quiet that there have been cases of family flocks being kept for years without the next door neighbors knowing it.
To some, noise is a concern with roosters and their pre-dawn heralding of sunrises. Many urban codes ban roosters or only allow them to be kept with special permits. The noise level of a rooster’s crow is about the same as a barking dog, 90 decibels. But there are ways to keep roosters quiet throughout the night. Many folks regard crowing as a pleasant sound.
Myth 3. Waste and Odor.
Fact: a 40 pound dog generates more solid waste then 10 chickens. To be more specific, one 40 pound dog generates about ¾ pounds (.75 pounds) of poo every day. Ten chickens generate about two-thirds pounds (.66 pounds) daily poop.
The advantage to chicken manure is that it can be used as valuable, high-nitrogen fertilizer. Unlike dog or cat poop, chicken manure can be combined with yard and leaf waste to create compost. Just as valuable, about 40% of the chicken manure is organic matter which is necessary for building fertile, healthy top soil.
Chicken manure is so valuable that there is a product called Cockadoodle Doo®. What Cockadoodle Doo is made of? You guessed it; dried chicken manure. A 20 pound bag sells for $15.00. That’s 76 cents a pound for chicken manure! Lets take the stakes even higher. Where does most commercial fertilizer come from? Think oil. Can chickens’ services and products help us decrease our dependence on oil? Yes, in many ways and on many levels.
[We will explore Myth 4, Chickens Attract Predators, Pests in the next article of this series.]
You can learn more about employing family flocks as both civic and garden workers in City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Biomass Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers.
May the flock be with you!
…and to quoth the Chicken: “evermore”.
I have had 3 hens for months, and they make less noise than the neighbors’ dogs, even when the one likes to announce the arrival of eggs. There doesn’t seem to be any smell from the pen — of course it IS cold here right now, but they now wander the yard during the day, so any messes are spread out over a quarter acre. I doubt that anyone would know that I have chickens unless I told them…and they would be surprised. I would rather the chickens fertilize my gardens rather than my dog!