Australian Poultry Laws – Are Your Chickens legal?

Australian Poultry Laws

A lot of good can come from raising chickens in suburbia. With proper care and attention, a flock of chickens with free reign of the backyard are an excellent green solution for weed and pest control, but those aren’t the only benefits. Chickens will also keep your garden naturally fertilised, make great pets, and do all this while happily providing you with a steady supply of fresh and yummy eggs. The question is, is what you are doing legal? Believe it or not, there are Australian Poultry Laws. Here’s a quick guide on the rules in your state.

 

All councils in Australia are chicken-friendly and will allow you to keep a flock of chickens in your backyard, but the rules and regulations differ between each council.

 

Before you head off to buy your first batch of hatching eggs, you’ll prevent a lot of headaches down the line if you check your local regulations before getting started.

 

As you read through the regulations, you’ll likely notice that most are borne of common sense.  Most councils’ rules are related to how many chickens you can keep, how the chickens are housed, and how you can keep your chickens happy and healthy. There are also a few thrown in for good measure to ensure you remain on good terms with the neighbours.

 

With that said, here are the laws each state will require chicken owners to adhere to; so humans, fowls, and neighbours can coexist in peace and harmony.

 

Queensland

 

In rural areas of the Brisbane City Council, up to 20 chickens can be kept without permits in yards which exceed 900m2. If you require more than 20, then you will need said permit.

 

In residential areas, yards less than 800m2 can keep a maximum of 6 chickens. There are also a few other guidelines you will need to follow if you don’t want to fall “afoul” of the council.

 

  • Roosters in residential areas forbidden due to noise pollution.
  • There must be 1m minimum between the chicken coop and dividing fence lines.
  • All chicken waste must be regularly cleared.
  • Chickens must always have access to fresh food and water.
  • All chicken food must be kept in pest-proof containers.

 

 

For further information check out the council website:

http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/laws-permits/laws-permits-residents/animals-pets/chickens-poultry

 

New South Wales

 

In residential areas of NSW up to a maximum of 10 chickens are allowed. Measures must also be taken to ensure odours and rodents are kept to a minimum.

 

Other guidelines you will need to be aware of:

 

  • The coop size should be no more than 15m2 and be a maximum height of 3m.
  • No front yard coops are allowed, all coops need to be in the backyard, and only one coop per property
  • Coops must be built over a concrete or asphalt foundation
  • The backyard must be maintained regularly for cleanliness and remain free of odours.
  • No roosters allowed in residential areas.

 

For further information check out the council website: https://www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/Waste_Environment/Sustainability/At_Home/Keeping_Chickens

 

If you live in flats, units, or townhouses you are not permitted to keep any number of chickens.

 

Victoria

 

Residents of Victoria are allowed up to a maximum of 5 chickens, provided the backyard is big enough, the chickens have unobstructed access to water and food, they have shelter from the weather, and can move freely about the enclosure.  Care should also be taken to ensure there is no threat of disruption to the surrounding neighbourhood.

 

Other guidelines you will need to be aware of:

 

  • The coop cannot be situated on the front setback (basically coops in front yards are not allowed), or a side setback to a side street (lanes are okay).
  • Coops must be set at a minimum of 2 metres from the boundary of an adjoining property of separate ownership.
  • Coops must be a minimum of 3 meters from a neighbouring dwelling of separate ownership.

 

South Australia

 

South Australian residents are only allowed a maximum of 4 chickens, which is not as many as other states but still enough to keep you well supplied in omelettes if you choose a breed known for its laying prowess. Also, unlike other states, roosters are allowed but not recommended due to noise pollution.

 

Other guidelines you will need to be aware of:

  • Chicken coops must be erected no closer than 2 meters to any boundary of a property.
  • They must also be a minimum distance of 15m from any dwellings, buildings, or structures.
  • Coops must be waterproof.
  • There must be 0.4m2 of floor space for every bird.
  • Coops must have a sound impervious floor (with concrete slabs underneath the floor being a highly recommended solution).
  • Pest control measures must be taken, and odours kept to a minimum.
  • Feed must be kept in rodent-proof containers.
  • All waste must be disposed of properly.
  • Coops must be cleaned and hosed regularly.
  • Bait for flies and rodents must be put down whenever possible.

 

For further information check out the council website:

http://www.ahc.sa.gov.au/ahc-resident/Documents/Chicken%20info.pdf

 

Western Australia

 

Western Australian residents are allowed up to 12 poultry birds. Roosters, geese, ducks, turkeys, and peafowl are prohibited for residents living inside the city limits.

 

Other guidelines you will need to be aware of:

 

  • The coop must be a secure enclosure, with 1m2 of floor space for each bird.
  • Chickens will have access to shade and shelter, and the coop floor must be constructed of a smooth, impervious material such as concrete.
  • There must be at least 9 metres between the coop and other dwellings or buildings.
  • Chickens must remain at least 25m from any streets. (land at junctions between two or more streets will require approval).
  • Coops must remain clean and in good condition.

 

For further information check out the council website:

https://southperth.wa.gov.au/residents/services/poultry.

 

 

Northern Territory

 

The Northern Territory is perhaps the most confusing for residents wishing to keep chickens, as each property requires a property identification code regardless of whether you are keeping chickens, pigeons, or other livestock, no matter the number of animals, and even if they are considered pets.

 

The confusion lies in that regulations change from area to area, with some more lenient in one area, but stricter in others. Darwin, Litchfield, Palmerston, Alice Springs, or Tennant Creek have no listed bylaws regarding chicken keeping. The NT Department of Health is the authority on all things public health, and the go-to department for nuisance complaints regarding noise and odour.

 

The state regulations provide guidelines to follow, but even within each state, the rules can vary between councils. Simply hop onto your council’s website to check the local laws and you should have no trouble staying on the straight and narrow with your chicken keeping.

 

Tasmania

 

The distance fowl must be kept from dwellings and boundaries also differs between councils. For example, in Kingborough and Brighton, the distance between the coop and the dwelling must be 12 metres, while in Hobart it is 6 metres (only applies to chickens and pigeons).

 

Other regulations around Tasmania include keeping the coops so that:

  • They are always clean and sanitary;
  • Birds are not able to escape from your property and have protection from predators;
  • Bedding, food, and manure containers are clean;
  • The birds do not attract flies or rodents;
  • Waste from the enclosure does not encroach on any of your neighbour’s properties and cannot filter into a watercourse.

 

Coops must be at least 35 centimetres high, doors which are at least 50 centimetres wide, and fowl must have access to food and water always.

For more information check out:

http://www.edotas.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/neighbourhood-domesticfowl.pdf, or visit your local council’s website for information on your area’s local bylaws.

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