If you're lucky, you may be living in a neighborhood that allows residents to keep several chickens as backyard livestock. Keep in mind that while this opens you up to some opportunities, there are regulations that need to be observed. (h/t to TheHomesteadingHippy.com)
In general, most cities and suburbs will allow you to keep a handful of quiet chickens. No roosters are allowed, but hens are fine since the latter tend to be quieter than most types of pets, with the occasional cackle or chirp throughout the day.
Each chicken breed will vary in noise levels depending on their personality, but these are generally the quietest breeds of chickens you can keep.
Australorps produce both eggs and meat, and they have a peaceful temperament. The breed is known for its egg-laying abilities and it has set the record for most eggs laid in a year. Australorps can lay up to 250 eggs annually.
Barred Rock Plymouths produce both eggs and meat, and they have an outgoing temperament. These chickens can lay large brown eggs even when raised on a small property.
Quiet yet outgoing and friendly at the same time, Barred Rock Plymouths get along well with humans and other animals. These chickens can also hold up well to cold conditions.
You can find Barred Rock Plymouths at your local farm and garden store. You can tell the gender of Barred Rock Plymouths at birth by looking for single white dots at the tops of their heads, which is important if you want to remove any roosters from your backyard flock.
When they hatch, male chicks have a large white spot on the top of their head. Female chicks have smaller and narrower white spots. This method is at least 80 percent accurate.
Buff Orpingtons produce both eggs and meat, and they have an easygoing temperament. Golden in color, Buff Orpingtons have a nice personality and winter hardiness. They tend to be larger in size and have extremely soft feathers.
The Buff is the best breed for backyard chicken keepers who want to raise a quieter breed because of their calm temperament. You can even pick them up and pet them. While Buff Orpingtons prefer to keep to themselves, they aren't aggressive or nervous around other chickens or humans. (Related: The top sources of protein in a survival homestead.)
Cochins produce both eggs and meat, and they have a relaxed temperament. The Cochin is a large, high-quality heritage breed that is quiet and often kept as pets.
They aren’t the best egg layers, but they have great maternal skills and an easy-going nature that make them suitable for backyard farms.
Wyandottes produce both eggs and meat, and they have a friendly temperament. This is a quiet, productive chicken breed. Some Wyandottes bear feathers in shades of blue, silver, and gold. Dependable layers, Wyandottes can give you a good supply of eggs even in the colder months.
They are friendly and hardy, holding up well to more challenging conditions. They lay large tan eggs and are a great choice for any flock, but particularly one in a suburb or city.
Even quiet chickens will make noise. Since your flock won't have a rooster, one of the hens may take over leadership of the flock.
The leader hen will call out to the other chickens when necessary, such as when food is near or when danger is afoot. This hen won't be as alert and as noisy as a rooster, but her alert clucking will usually be louder than her "normal" clucking.
Additionally, hens will start to make noise as they prepare to lay their eggs. But the quieter breeds on this list are usually less enthusiastic about their "egg-singing" compared to noisier breeds.
Just make sure you give your hens plenty of room to lay their eggs. Their nest boxes should be clean and well-ventilated to help reduce some of this noise.
To keep your chickens quiet, place some toys in their coop. You can hang a couple of swings or add a dust bath to the ground. Another option is to make toys out of balls of baling twine, cinder blocks, saw horses, or other DIY methods.
Take note that each of your chickens will have a unique personality that will determine their noisiness more accurately than its breed. When kept under the ideal conditions, the breeds listed above will be the quietest overall for noise-restricted areas.
Add some of these breeds to your flock and raise chickens in your backyard so you have access to fresh eggs and meat even after SHTF.