Nothing can foul up your day like losing sleep to the persistent beeping of a dying smoke detector. And is there anything more agitating than waking up from a dead sleep with a bright line shining in your eyes? We rely on a good night’s sleep to get the rest and relaxation we need to function effectively throughout the day. When our natural circadian rhythm gets disrupted by loud noises or bright lights at night, it can leave us feeling a little less than human the next day.
Well, it turns out chickens don’t like to have their sleep schedule interrupted either.
Recently, a number of studies have examined the effect that loud noises and bright lights can have on chicken productivity. These studies are especially interesting to commercial poultry operations, where chickens are routinely exposed to bright fluorescents and the sounds of loud machinery. One study found that when chickens were exposed to sounds louder than 85 decibels, their feed intake decreased by between 15 and 20 percent. Another found that loud noises could stunt chicken growth, raise their blood pressure and reduce their egg production.
While these findings are particularly interesting to large-scale poultry farms, they can be useful to backyard hobbyists as well. If your hens’ egg production has been low or inconsistent, it could be because of environmental stressors such as light and sound. Some people use motion-activated flood lights to ward off predators at night, for instance. These lights might scare of foxes and weasels, but they can also stress out your birds and interfere with their egg production. Rather than using flood lights to protect your flock from burrowing predators, try fortifying the floor of your coop with concrete instead.
If you live near a busy road, traffic noise could contribute to anxiety in your birds too. Consider planting trees along your property line or insulating your coop to cut down on the noise so your birds can get the shuteye they need to regularly produce healthy, delicious eggs.
Stay tuned for more updates from the Cackle Coop!