Birds and poultry

Council regulates birds and poultry to ensure they are kept and cared for in a manner that complements the surrounding environment.

Keeping a household bird or poultry flock can be a rewarding hobby, but there are certain requirements in place to ensure they are kept in the best possible condition to ensure their comfort and prevent nuisance to neighbours.

You can keep several bird varieties in a residence without a permit, but there may be limits around:

  • bird types
  • number of birds
  • roosters.

Permits

In most circumstances you can keep birds or poultry without needing a permit from Council, as long as you don't exceed the allowed number of animals for your property size. If you intend to keep more birds or poultry than the limit allowed, you may need a permit.

It is best to contact Council to determine the specific requirements that may apply to you and if a permit is needed.

Requirements

Many people like to own birds and poultry for similar reasons to those who have cats and dogs. To ensure that your birds and poultry remain healthy and don’t become a nuisance to your neighbours or the community, you may be required to comply with regulations set by Council such as:

  • the provision of appropriate housing and enclosures
  • seeds and any other types of bird food is stored properly
  • housing and enclosures are kept clean.

The self-assessment checklist (DOCX, 326.53 KB) will help you check your compliance.

There may be restrictions on the number of birds and poultry that can be kept on a particularly sized parcel of land. Contact Council to determine the specific requirements that apply to you. Additionally, if you intend on exceeding the number of birds and poultry allowed on your property, you may need to apply for a permit from Council.

What to consider before getting birds or poultry

Council local laws are in place to ensure the keeping of poultry or birds on your property will not have adverse effects on neighbours.

Prior to getting any birds or poultry, contact Council to ascertain what requirements are in place. Common factors will include:

  • the size of the property where the birds or poultry will be kept
  • the number of birds or poultry permitted (if any)
  • minimum requirements for enclosures, including distances to neighbouring properties
  • likelihood of noise or odour nuisance occurring
  • storage of food
  • maintenance of yard/s (including disposal of waste products).

Henhouse or aviary?

It is worthwhile doing some research on the type of henhouse or aviary you will require. Factors to be considered in a henhouse or aviary will include:

  • easy access for regular cleaning
  • made from materials that are easy to clean and do not retain the heat
  • well ventilated but not draughty
  • a concrete floor with a rat proof wall is desirable
  • the use of non-painted metals should be avoided as these will retain the heat
  • litter should be spread around 100mm deep (suitable litter includes pine shavings, sawdust and straw - all free of chemical treatments)
  • a covered water trough outside the shed will reduce wet litter inside the henhouse
  • self-feeding troughs are ideal for a small flock
  • mount nesting boxes on the cool side of the shed and off the ground
  • pest proof (snakes, foxes, etc.).

Roosters

Council may impose separate regulations on the keeping of roosters. Please contact Council for further information.

If you are permitted to keep a rooster, consider your neighbours by ensuring your rooster does not crow between the hours of 7pm and 7am. Roosters will crow, however investing in a soundproof night box may reduce the likelihood of your rooster causing a disturbance to the neighbours.

Health and hygiene

Owning birds or poultry carries the same responsibility as any other domestic animal. If a member of the flock shows signs of disease or illness it must be isolated immediately to reduce further contamination. Ensure you seek veterinarian assistance prior to reintroducing a sick bird to the flock.

Great ways to keep a healthy flock and happy neighbours include:

  • keep the henhouse/aviary clean to prevent odour and fly breeding
  • store food in pest proof containers
  • avoid putting out excess food as this may encourage rats and mice
  • clean up all manure at least every 7 days
  • bag up the manure or compost ensuring regular turning and aerating
  • replace water daily
  • commercially prepared feeds are nutritionally balanced for the birds health and maximum performance
  • it is illegal to feed birds or poultry animal matter or other waste contaminated with animal matter (swill)
  • ensure any household vegetable scraps are consumed within 5 – 10 minutes, removing any excess food.