Keeping chickens

Keeping chickens is a great way to maintain a supply of fresh eggs, recycle your food scraps and help control garden weeds and insects.

In New South Wales, it is legal to keep chickens in your backyard but there are restrictions on how many chickens you can keep and how you can house them.

Number of chickens

Under the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008, no more than 10 chickens can be kept in large lot residential properties.

Poultry yards

By law, your poultry yard must:

  • be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, if applicable
  • meet the relevant deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the Building Code of Australia, or if there are no such relevant provisions, must be structurally adequate
  • not involve the removal or pruning of a tree or other vegetation that requires a permit, approval or development consent, unless the removal or pruning is carried out in accordance with the permit, approval or development consent
  • be enclosed to prevent poultry from escaping
  • at all times be kept clean and free from offensive odours
  • be limited to a floor area of no greater than 15m square, for Residential or 50m square for Rural properties
  • have a maximum height of 3m above ground for Residential and 7m for Rural properties
  • be located in the rear yard (residential properties)
  • be limited to one per property
  • be a distance of 3m from any boundary
  • be located at least 4.5m from any dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food – if housing fowls (including guinea fowl)
  • be ocated at least 30m from any dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation or sale of food – if housing other types of poultry (other than Fowl)
  • be constructed of low reflective, factory pre-coloured materials if it is located on land in a residential zone
  • if it is located on bush fire prone land and is less than 10m from a dwelling, be constructed of non-combustible material
  • be adequately drained
  • be paved with concrete, mineral asphalt, or situated on clean sand underneath the roosts or perches
  • for development on land in (Large Lot Residential), not house more than 10 fowl or poultry, and
  • dispose of water run-off from the pen without causing a nuisance to adjoining property owners.

A poultry house can be built or installed on land in a residential zone but not if the property is:

  • a heritage item or a draft heritage item, or
  • land in a foreshore area, or
  • a declared area of outstanding biodiversity value under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 or declared critical habitat under Part 7A of the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

You should also note:

  • Council does not permit the keeping of roosters in residential areas except R5 Large Lot Residential.
  • Consideration should be given to the impact your chicken coop will have on neighbouring properties.
  • Water from your chicken pen must not be allowed to enter a neighbouring property.