Can you have roosters in your area?
People who live in different areas will have different expectations of the types of noise that will occur. In a rural area it would be reasonable to expect that poultry, including a rooster, would be kept by a property owner. However, in a residential area, it would be considered unreasonable to hear crowing poultry in a habitable room of a residential premises.
Noise complaints are considered through this context under The Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act (EMPCA) 1994. It explains that a noise is an offence if it is unreasonably interfering with a person’s enjoyment of the environment by evaluating its volume, intensity, duration, time, and place in which it is emitted. Should the noise be considered unreasonable in the opinion of the Environmental Health Officer, it must be reduced or ceased.
Do you need a rooster?
Hens do not need a rooster to produce eggs. Without a rooster the eggs will be infertile and will not develop into chicks. Having a rooster will result in several more roosters and although they can be kept together when young, they’ll often fight when older and need to be rehomed to avoid serious injuries.
Why do roosters crow?
- As the sky begins to lighten towards dawn, roosters will normally begin to crow; often as early as two hours before the sun comes up. This means that if sunrise is at 6.00 am, then your rooster may start crowing at 4.00am.
- Your rooster may mistake artificial sources of bright light (e.g. a streetlight) for dawn approaching and start crowing. If the light is constantly on at night this may cause confusion and prompt crowing all night.
- Sensing predators (or even just perceived predators) during the night will cause a rooster to crow to try and protect his hens.
- Your rooster may also crow in response to another rooster’s crows, and having another rooster nearby is the fastest way to start a “crow off”.
Options to reduce or stop crowing:
Be considerate of your neighbours by preventing noise between 7.00pm-7.00am. Roosters (or sometimes the dominant hen) will crow, but this can be minimised by trying some of the following options:
- Invest in a purpose-built, solitary night box with thick, insulated walls to muffle crowing. Keeping it light proof will also help. If you keep your chicken in a shed or garage, be mindful this doesn’t amplify the noise.
- Placing a crow collar on your chicken will minimise volume by limiting the air force used to crow.
- If possible, move your chicken to another section of your property away from your neighbour’s house.
- Some organisations will accept surrendered chickens in return for a donation. The Southern Tasmanian Poultry Club conducts poultry amnesties in with council. Follow their Facebook page for date announcements.
Dumping chickens is not a suitable option. It is an offence under The Animal Welfare Act 1993 to abandon any domestic animal. This places them at risk of catching diseases, being attacked by other animals, and being run over. If you cannot find a home for your chickens, then it is your responsibility to contact a veterinarian who can euthanise them.
You can find more information via the links below:
Toowoomba Regional Council
Crowing roosters (tr.qld.gov.au)
Do I need to keep a rooster with my backyard hens? – RSPCA Knowledgebase
Derwent Valley Council
Toolbox Council Knowledge
Birds and poultry | Local Government Toolbox (lgtoolbox.qld.gov.au)
Department of Primary Industries WA
Keeping backyard chickens | Agriculture and Food
Southern Tasmanian Poultry Club Inc