Derwent Valley Council often receives calls enquiring about whether there is a limit on how many chickens or roosters that can be kept on one property, within our Council municipality and issues regarding nuisance noise, particularly caused by the crowing of roosters.
Council may investigate any formal complaint in relation to poultry which is causing:-
- Nuisance Noise (particularly relevant to roosters);
- Excessive odour; and
- Attracting excessive rats, mice or insects.
Nuisance noise complaints can be time consuming and quite complex to resolve. Council requires the assistance of the complainant in order to undertake this process. Council will not deal with vexatious or anonymous complaints. Vexatious complaints are complaints which are clearly made with the sole intent of annoying a person or complaints which are without substance made frequently by the same individual or entity. The first step is to contact Council and complete Council’s, ‘Animal Management Complaint Form’. Council may then investigate the complaint and take the appropriate actions.
The Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act (EMPCA) 1994 is the primary piece of legislation, in Tasmania, dealing with nuisance noise. The Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act (EMPCA), 1994 s.53 specifies that an environmental nuisance by the emission of noise is an offence if it is taken to unreasonably interfere with a person’s enjoyment of the environment, having regard to its volume, intensity, duration, time and place in which it is emitted.
People’s expectations of the types of noise that can occur in a place will differ between different living areas. In a rural area it would not be unreasonable to expect that poultry, including a rooster, would be kept by a property owner. It is within this context a complaint under EMPCA would be considered. It is reasonable to expect to hear the crowing of roosters in rural areas and it would only be regarded as a possible nuisance, if the crowing was persistent and excessive.
With the recent trends towards smaller housing blocks and subdivisions, there is greater potential for the keeping of chickens and roosters to unreasonably interfere with a person’s enjoyment of the environment, particularly in built-up areas. Council may request clean-up work on the property, change of living conditions for the birds or a reasonable reduction in the amount of chickens or roosters on the property.
How many chickens or roosters can I keep?
Where there is sufficient area in a rear yard of a premises the number of chickens should be limited to:
a) no more than 6 chickens, if the allotment size is less than 1000 square metres; or
b) no more than 12 chickens, if the allotment size is between 1001 square metres and 1500 square metres; and
c) Council is satisfied that the keeping of chickens or roosters will not create or contribute to a nuisance and does not unreasonably interfere with a person’s enjoyment of the environment.
d) The Chicken and Rooster Management Policy is adhered to.
Roosters and neighbours don’t mix:
It is recommended that residential properties within townships refrain from keeping roosters. Roosters are not to be kept within 150 metres of a neighbouring dwelling, so as to reduce noise complaints from crowing roosters.
However, in some circumstances it may be acceptable to keep roosters within 150 metres of a neighbouring property. In which case, a person has sought and obtained written approval of the occupants of that neighbouring dwelling or written consent of the General Manager to keep roosters within 150 metres of a neighbouring dwelling.
To apply for written consent of the General Manager, a person is required to fill out Council's 'Application for Approval to Keep Roosters.’ The General Manager may refuse an application to keep roosters where the General Manager is of the opinion that:-
a) the premises to which the application relates are not fit for the purpose proposed in the application; or
b) it is in the public interest to refuse the application.
You don't need a rooster in order to have a hen lay eggs, they just aren't fertile without a rooster. Keeping a rooster within your chicken farm can protect your chickens from harmful predators, however it can also create nuisance noise for neighboring properties.
When considering purchasing a rooster, it is important to assess:
- the reasons why you want a rooster;
- the location of the housing in relation to neighboring properties; and
- how you are going to keep the noise from the rooster to a minimum.
Guidelines for keeping chickens
The occupier of any premises where chickens are kept should:-
a) Ensure the shelter is of solid construction with a solid impervious floor; and
b) Be housed in the rear yard at least 3 metres from any property boundary; and
c) Should not be kept within 4.5 metres of a dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food; and
d) Keep any structures, buildings, enclosures or areas which the poultry has access to in a clean and sanitary condition; and
e) Maintain fencing or other structures, buildings or enclosures housing the chickens to an adequate standard, as may be determined by an authorised officer, so as to prevent the escape of the animal onto a highway or another person’s property; and
f) Ensure all receptacles for the storage of any food for the feeding of chickens are to be vermin-proof, clean, sanitary and in good order; and
g) Not leave food outside of receptacles unless for the purposes of immediate consumption; and
h) Take all necessary steps to abate any nuisance through smell, noise, rodents, flies or drainage that may arise as a result of the keeping of chickens; and
i) Not allow any build-up of manure such that there is any nuisance or run-off into rivers, drains or stormwater; and
j) Use dry material only, such as straw or wood shavings on the floor of the cage. Spread it to a depth of approximately 150mm; and
k) Dispose of bedding or floor covering, and waste food, or store until disposed, in a waterproof and tightly covered container.