Contrary to popular belief, a backyard hen is not a loud animal. In fact, hens make less noise than a barking dog or a typical song bird. Because hens are social animals, they will talk amongst themselves at a volume of 20-40 decibels, less than the same volume of human conversational speech at 60 decibels. Accounting for distance between hearer and hen, the level is even less. At most, a chicken will briefly make 70 decibels of noise once or twice in a day. Air conditioners are in the 50-75 decibel range. So some air conditioning units are noisier, and for longer, than the loudest chickens.
Ironically, residents of Escambia County may own a Moluccan Cockatoo, which is easily purchased from Petland. These birds can produce sounds at 135 decibels, equaling the second loudest crowd noise ever recorded at a college football stadium.
Hens never crow. However, a hen will announce the arrival of a freshly laid egg, which occurs once every 24 to 36 hours during daylight hours. Because roosters are known to be loud, the current proposed ordinance would prohibit roosters.
To put an even finer point on it, below is a reference of decibel levels typical to home environments. If the goal of suburban living is uninterrupted, blissful silence, we should consider banning things like human conversation, sewing machines, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, alarm clocks, TVs and coffee grinders before considering banning backyard hens.
|50||Refrigerator||65 – 80||alarm clock|
|50 – 60||electric toothbrush||70||TV audio|
|50 – 75||washing machine||70 – 80||coffee grinder|
|50 – 75||air conditioner||70 – 95||garbage disposal|
|50 – 80||electric shaver||75 – 85||flush toilet|
|55||coffee percolator||80||pop-up toaster|
|55 – 70||dishwasher||80||doorbell|
|60||human conversation||80||ringing telephone|
|60||sewing machine||80||whistling kettle|
|60 – 85||vacuum cleaner||80 – 90||food mixer, processor or blender|
|60 – 95||hair dryer||110||baby crying|