This web site includes plans and instructions to build this chicken coop.
This is what Barred Rocks look like at six months, when they begin producing eggs.

Barred Rock Chickens, a Quiet Breed for Suburbia

Quiet chickens? That's quite a claim, but years of experience bears this out. America's best-known chickens, those white Leghorns, bounce noisily off the walls. Working around a Leghorn coop means talking quietly and moving in slow motion. But Barred Rocks are quite mellow and adapt quickly to situations, are curious and friendly, and will inquisitively watch you as you move around. In the picture above they were trying to figure out why the photographer was crouching down to their level and why that funny thing was making clicking noises.

The biggest concern your neighbors might have would be about the noise. Barred Rock hens cluck, coo, gurgle, chirp, and make other vocal sounds, but they generally do so quietly. Occasionally a hen will proudly announce to the world that she has produced an egg, but usually even this monumental event goes by unnoticed.

Roosters, no (you'll get eggs with or without a rooster). It may seem a romantic idea to wake up with a rooster crowing below your bedroom window, but it gets old fast when he starts three hours before daybreak. Keep your cul-de-sac neighbors happy by not getting a rooster. Roosters are also rough on your girls. If you do accidentally end up with one, they make great jerky.

These birds may keep their noises low-key, but they're quite conversant. When you come home from work, sit down with your girls. They'll tell you all about their day. If you want, you can tell them all about yours. They'll listen. Told you they were curious.

Barred Rock chick, click to enlargeOh, and one more thing. They're beautiful animals. Handsome, even, and the chicks are just adorable. That picture on the right is courtesy of Wikipedia, they've got a great article on Rocks where you can research their history.

But Chickens Smell!

The second biggest concern would be that the chickens smell. They don't. But if your chicken's home smells, there's a problem, and that means you aren't doing something right. Chickens take some regular maintenance, just like any kept animal. Read on, we'll cover this part later.

What About the Diseases? And the Bird Flu!

Um, not a problem. Acquire healthy chickens, take care of them correctly, and they'll stay healthy. Don't feed them snail bait or spoiled feed. They'll eat most any healthy food that you'll eat, and they absolutely adore most table scraps. You can close one more ecological loop.

Most of the time they really get along just fine and take good care of themselves. But do get the name and number of the local livestock veterinarian. Anything else? Yes, Google is your friend. No matter what you're looking for, it'll be online.

Like that coop and run in the picture above? You're looking at the Barred Rock Poultry Association's main office, about a forty-inch cube with a 30 square foot run, just right for a small back yard and up to a half-dozen chickens. Here's more info on that coop.

Next: Raising Them From Chicks