Urban chickens are an increasingly popular way for city-dwellers to capture a bit of country magic. Urban roosters on the other hand are less welcome.
Anyone wishing to keep poultry should check out the rules – which are different for urban and rural locations.
For example, urban properties of up to 2000 square metres can keep up to six chickens – but roosters aren’t allowed.
“Before you get chickens, it’s a good idea to talk to your neighbours about it. If they have concerns about noise, for example, you'll have the chance to address them – and it won’t hurt to offset their concerns by promising them occasional free eggs,” says Councillor Wayne Walker, Auckland Council’s Regulatory Committee Deputy Chair.
Walker says that it is the responsibility of owners to ensure their animals don’t cause a nuisance.
Daylight saving impact
Max Wilde, Manager Bylaws and Compliance, says complaints about noisy roosters increase in early spring and summer.
“We get rooster complaints year-round because some will crow at pretty much anything – a dog barking, a car door slamming, even a security light coming on. But once the clocks change roosters start crowing from 4am and people get grumpy,” he says.
Other causes of frustration for neighbours include wandering chickens and bad odour.
Tricks and tips for keeping chickens
- Ensure that chickens are confined and can't escape your property.
- Provide facilities for roosting (e.g. perches), a surface for pecking and scratching, and a secluded nesting area.
- When locating a chicken coop, think about how it may affect your neighbours and locate the coop in a place that is least likely to cause a nuisance.
- Placing it right up against neighbouring properties or near outdoor living areas has the potential to cause a nuisance, as hens can be noisy when they lay and there is a risk of chicken coops becoming smelly in the summer months.
- If you live in a unit title, you'll need to check the body corporate rules in case there are restrictions about keeping chickens. If you live in some other type of housing development you can check your title in case there is a covenant against keeping chickens or other animals on the property.