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Here at ‘Til The Cows Come Home we welcome all formerly farmed animals in for rehoming to loving homes. Hens are especially important for us to rescue because many people can adopt them, after all who doesn’t want a flock of hens in their back yard or free roaming their property? This last week 10 roosters, 10 ducks and 74 hens were surrendered to us and are now awaiting to be adopted and given a forever loving home (not to be bred or for human consumption). In Australia we have laws that govern those who wish to have chickens in their backyards. Therefore, if you are considering adopting a flock from us this article will outline what you need to know in a legal sense about sharing your home with chickens in each state and territory.

The first step you need to undertake is checking your specific council regulations of your area to see whether you are allowed chickens and if you are, what regulations must be followed. Below is an example of the rules and regulations of specific council’s from each state and territory of Australia as a guideline:


In Queensland the state permits residential houses to have up to six chickens and does not outline any stringent requirements for the chicken housing.

Example: Brisbane City Council:

From 1 July 2018, keeping chickens on your property in a residential area requires a livestock permit, which is free. This permit can be obtained from this website: If you live in a rural or rural residential area then you do not need a livestock permit for keeping chickens on your property.

In Queensland if your household premises is a total of 800 square metres or more you can keep up to 20 chickens. If your premises is less than 800 square metres you are allowed to keep up to six chickens. The housing for the chickens must be at least one metre from a dividing fence.

The conditions for having chickens on your property in this state include:

Ensuring the housing for your chickens will not cause a nuisance to your neighbours

Ensuring the housing for your chickens is clean to prevent odour and fly breeding

Ensuring you keep or dispose of animal waste in a manner that prevents a breeding place for pests

You must consider the risk of the health and safety of surrounding persons and animals that could be posed by keeping chickens on your premises

Roosters are not allowed on any premises in a residential area. You can have roosters in rural areas provided they don’t create a noise nuisance.

New South Wales

New South Wales allows a maximum of 10 chickens in residential areas. The state also outlines specific requirements for the chicken’s housing height and area requirements that must be met.

Example: North Sydney Council

Under the State Environmental Planning Policy 2008, part 2, subdivision 21 there is a limit on 10 chickens per property.

The chickens housing/coop on your property must be maintained in accordance with the guidelines as follows:

Limited to a floor area of 15m2

A maximum height of 3m above ground level

Located in the rear yard

Limited to one per property

A distance from the boundary of 3m

Located at least 4.5m from any dwelling, public hall, school or premised used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food

 Made of materials that blend with the environment and be non-reflective

 Must be adequately drained

Must be concrete, mineral asphalt, or situated on clean sand underneath the roosts or perches

The chicken house/coop can be constructed on land in a residential zone as long as the property is not heritage listed or on a foreshore area. Furthermore, the chicken coop must be enclosed to prevent the chickens from escaping and at all times be kept clean and free from odours. The council does not allow roosts to be kept in residential areas.


In Victoria it permits its residents to keep up to five chickens in residential areas as long as the individual has adequate backyard space, can give the chickens constant access to nourishment and that the chickens do not disrupt the neighbourhood.

Example: City of Yarra

This council allows residential premises with backyards to keep a maximum of five chickens. Individuals who live in apartments are not permitted to keep chickens.

The guidelines under this council include:

The chickens must have easy access to food and water and be able to move freely around their enclosure

 Care must be given to protect your chickens from the weather, disease and injury

It is your responsibility to ensure your chickens do not disrupt your neighbours. In order to limit disturbance, you must locate your chicken enclosure within:

The front setback of your property to the street or the side setback to a side street

A distance of 2 metres from the boundary of any adjoining land in separate ownership or occupation

3 metres from any dwelling on any adjoining land in separate ownership or occupation

South Australia

This State permits a maximum of four chickens in residential areas. Anyone living in South Australia has to ensure the strict guidelines on spacing requirements, coop materials and odour/rodent prevention is met.

Example: Adelaide Hills Council

The council recommends no roosters are kept in residential areas due to the noise problem they cause

The guidelines to be followed include:

The chicken coop must be 2 metres from any boundary of the property

The chicken coop must be 15 metres from any dwelling or other buildings

The chicken coop must be waterproof, with a minimum of 0.4 metres square per chicken

The chicken coop must have sound impervious floor

The individual must take measures to keep pests and rodents at bay and control any odours from the chicken coop

Western Australia

The laws for this state allow individuals to have up to 12 chickens in residential areas but no roosters. The State also sets out some requirements for where the chicken coop is to be placed and what the floor is made out of. The State requires that the chickens must be well looked after.

Example: City of Stirling Council

The City of Stirling states that residential properties may keep chickens under the following conditions:

A maximum of six chickens per property

 Roosters are not permitted

The chickens must be kept in a clean, safe and secure enclosure which includes an impenetrable floor such as concrete or brick paving

Chickens must be kept at least 10 metres from a building where people live and work or where food is stored, prepared or manufactured

An enclosure must be at least one metre from any property boundary

The chickens must be kept at least 10 metres from a footpath, street or public place

Northern Territory

Under this territory in order to keep chickens on your premises you must have a property identification code, regardless of the size of your property, the number of animals you have or if the animals are pets

To obtain a property identification code please go to this website:

Example: Northern Territory Government

There are no by-laws regarding the keeping of chickens in the Northern Territory. However, if when keeping chickens you have noise complaints or odour issues then the Northern Territory Department of Health is responsible for these issues.

The information that has been set out demonstrates the types of guidelines and rules you may be obliged to adhere to if you are considering adopting chickens from us. However, remember to always check with your specific council area first before adopting any chickens.  

If you want to know if we have hens available for adoption in your region click here (updated daily): If we have hens available in your region you can click here for an adoption application:

-Luella Botteon