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In Wingecarribee Shire we encourage people to live sustainably and keeping poultry can be an important part of a sustainable household.

If you have the space, some laying hens in the backyard can be a lot of fun, providing you with fresh eggs and a perfect use for kitchen peelings and garden waste. You also end up with some useful chook poo to pop on the vegetable garden, or add to the compost heap.

Requirements & Specifications

There are a few things you need to keep in mind before getting your hens.

Firstly there are some regulations, setting out the legal requirements for keeping poultry.

Provided your hen house meets the requirement of the Exempt & Complying Development Codes, you will not need to get approval from council.

The full list of specifications can be obtained from:

Exempt and Complying Development Code (external link)

If these guidelines cannot be met, you will need the approval of council.

There are also a few common sense aspects to keeping hens as well.

  • Roosters and neighbours don’t mix. At Council we don’t get many complaints about hens, but we certainly have to deal with some neighbour disputes about noisy roosters. Our advice if you live in town is - don’t have a rooster.
  • Talk to your neighbours before buying hens and think about them when siting the hen house. It really is best, unless the neighbours don’t mind, not to have your chooks running up to their boundary fence. The Hen House should be more than 3 metres from the boundary.
  • In residential areas the Hen House should be located in the rear yard, house no more than 10 fowls or poultry, be no higher than 3 metres above ground level, and not have a floor area greater than 15 square metres.
  • Some properties in the shire have private covenants prohibiting the keeping of poultry. You would have to look at your title documents or check with your solicitor to see if you are affected by a private covenant.
  • Keep your hen house clean to discourage vermin and odours, the roof water must be disposed of without causing a nuisance to neighbours.


The Local Government Act (General) Regulation 2005 schedule 2 relates to poultry and that includes fowls like laying hens, peacocks & bantams as well as poultry other than fowls like ducks, pheasants, turkeys & geese.

Part 5

Division 2 - Keeping of poultry

19 Poultry not to be nuisance or health risk

(1) Poultry must not be kept under such conditions as to create a nuisance or to be dangerous or injurious to health.

(2) Poultry yards must at all times be kept clean and free from offensive odours.

20 Poultry not to be kept near certain premises

(1) Fowls (that is, birds of the species Gallus gallus and guinea fowls) must not be kept within 4.5 metres (or such greater distance as the council may determine in a particular case) of a dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food.

(2) Poultry (other than fowls referred to in subclause (1)) must not be kept within 30 metres of any building referred to in subclause (1).

(3) The floors of poultry houses must be paved with concrete or mineral asphalt underneath the roosts or perches. However, this subclause does not apply to poultry houses:

  (a) that are not within 15.2 metres of a dwelling, public hall or school, or

  (b) that are situated on clean sand.

(4) Poultry yards must be so enclosed as to prevent the escape of poultry.

(5) The standards in this clause apply to a person only if the council has served an order under section 124 of the Act to that effect on the person.

Last Updated: June 1st, 2017
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