Tips for reducing noise levels
Acclimatisation may help
Brits tend to apologise for everything and, in most cases, are very conscious of when we are overstepping the mark. You will get an inclination as to whether your cockerel(s) is/are causing distress to the neighbours. Of course, it all depends where you live and some housing estates don’t allow the keeping of poultry. However, some people are intolerant of everything these days — particularly city dwellers who have moved to the country for the quiet life. But it is worth remembering that new neighbours will get used to the noise in time if it is respectable. They won’t hear it the same as when they first moved in.
Bantams are generally quieter than large fowl
Although bantams can have quite a piercing crow, in general they have a lesser impact on noise pollution coming through your bedroom window in the summer months than large fowl. True bantams, such as Seramas, Sebrights and Pekins, are tolerated more than large heavy breeds. It is worth noting that some of the more docile heavy breeds, such as Brahmas, Cochins and Orpingtons, have a tendency to crow less, but it does come down to the individual specimen and the breeding behind it.
Less is more
This one may sound obvious, but the fewer cockerels kept the better the chances of a harmonious relationship with the neighbours. A single cockerel will crow far less than if he has competition, and obviously the more competition then the more they all crow. It will only take one cockerel crowing to set them all off and this can be frustrating in the middle of the day. It is also incredibly frustrating when one of them sets off the panic call every time a squirrel passes, for example. Poultry all attune to each other, so if a hen lays and panic clucks (incessant “buck, buck, buckaaark” noises) after laying an egg, then the cockerel(s) and the whole flock will join in. Sometimes it will go on for 10 minutes or more. Imagine if your neighbour is sitting in the garden enjoying a cup of tea and a read of the Sunday papers after a long week at work. Such relentless distress noise is enough to get anyone’s hackles up. Just when it has been quiet for 20 minutes, the slightest thing can see it all kicking off again. This, to me, is far worse that an early morning cock-a-doodle-doo.
Keep them busy
Males crow sometimes out of sheer boredom, particularly when they are isolated. The chances of noise levels increase greatly when a male has no other release but to declare that he is the boss, several times an hour. Males need to be kept busy by spending time scratching and searching for food, ideally with room to run, plus some females to keep them occupied.
It is a royal pain, but for many people the only way they can appease their neighbours is by bringing their cockerel(s) into a well ventilated box and keeping them in a dark garage each night until a respectable hour, such as 8am onwards.
This really is an old one, but offering your neighbours some gratis fresh eggs every now and then can help to keep relations good.
The further away your cockerel resides from your neighbours, the better. Even a few feet in the right direction may be enough to take the edge off any potential complaints.