If the Year of the Rooster has inspired you to raise some backyard chickens this year, read our beginner’s guide for keeping poultry on your property.
Having poultry on your property has plenty of benefits: from acting as a source of eggs, to serving as pets, contributing to the health of your garden by aerating your soil, and adding to your fertiliser and compost mix.
What rules and regulations are in place in Australia and New Zealand?
You should be able to keep chickens on your property in most areas of Australia and New Zealand, but each region has their own regulations and in some cases, local councils have created bylaws that amend the state laws. For example:
- In Brisbane, you can keep up to six fowl if your residential premises has a total area under 800sq m
- The City of Yarra in Victoria allows you to keep up to five chickens as long as you have adequate backyard space
- The North Sydney Council in NSW allows no more than 10 chickens, although maximum coop height and area requirements are set out
- In Auckland, you are allowed a maximum of six chickens in properties smaller than 2,000sq m, and 12 chickens for properties larger than 2,000sq m
The above regulations are subject to change and you should always check your local council’s website to find out the latest regulations for keeping poultry in residential areas.
Interested in raising a rooster? Unfortunately, many councils advise that roosters are not allowed in residential areas due to noise restrictions, or require you have a special permit to house them on your property. Check with your local council for the latest details in your area.
How do I house my chickens?
Before you begin your journey of raising poultry in the backyard, you first need to establish whether you have enough space on your property. Will your chickens be allowed to roam large spaces or mainly be kept within hen houses? How many chickens do you wish to keep? Will they mainly be egg laying hens, pets, used for meat or show birds? The answers to these questions will help you understand what size of hen house and accompanying poultry accommodation you would need (including hen houses, chicken coops, chicken arcs, chicken runs and incubators).
Setting up an environment where your poultry is safe from predators and severe weather is also extremely important. Make sure your chicken coop is good quality and has a strong frame. In addition, chickens require warm, well-ventilated and hygienic housing in order to prevent illness and disease.
What are my next steps?
Once you have set up your poultry housing, make sure to find out how to raise and feed your specific breed of chicken. Full grown chickens require a constant supply of food, including chicken feed, shell grit and water. Food is a great way to keep your chickens occupied, as they tend to get up to more destructive behaviours if they get bored. You may also wish to purchase a feeder and waterer to administer a balanced diet.
Need more space to keep chickens? Take a look at our available properties.