Chicken keeping - laws and regulations

Chicken law

Livestock sold on the Farmers Lot is intended for primary production. Whilst laws vary from state to state in most states keeping more than 50 chickens is a commericial quantity and will require planning permission and a Property Identificiation Code. The keeping of chickens, whether for commercial or domestic purposes, is governed by various laws and regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure animal welfare, public health, and environmental protection. Here's a brief overview of considerations, please check the requirements in you local State:

1. Local Council Regulations

  • Permits and Zoning: Check with your local council for any specific permits or zoning regulations. Residential areas often have rules about the number of chickens allowed, rooster restrictions, and coop placement.
  • Noise and Nuisance: Noise, especially from roosters, can be a concern. Councils may have specific guidelines to address potential nuisance issues.
  • Health and Sanitation: Councils may set standards for coop cleanliness and waste management to prevent odors and pests.

2. Animal Welfare Legislation

  • Animal Welfare Act: Ensures the humane treatment of chickens, including adequate housing, feeding, and healthcare.
  • National Model Codes of Practice: Provides guidelines for the welfare of domestic poultry, covering aspects like space, nutrition, and handling.

3. Biosecurity and Disease Control

  • Biosecurity Regulations: Adherence to biosecurity measures is crucial to prevent disease spread. Registration of premises and regular health checks might be required.
  • Disease Reporting: Certain diseases are notifiable. Familiarize yourself with these and understand the procedure for reporting to the relevant authorities.

4. Environmental Protection

  • Waste Management: Proper disposal of poultry waste to avoid environmental contamination.
  • Water Quality: Ensuring that runoff from your poultry area does not contaminate local water sources.

5. Commercial Farming Regulations

  • Food Safety: If selling eggs or meat, comply with food safety regulations, including labeling and handling.
  • Business Licensing: May require a business license and adherence to additional commercial farming regulations.
  • Building Codes: Commercial operations often have stringent building codes for poultry housing.

6. Domestic Keeping

  • Number of Birds: Limits on the number of birds you can keep.
  • Roosters: Often prohibited in residential areas due to noise.

Tips for Compliance

  • Stay Informed: Regularly check for updates in local and state regulations.
  • Community Engagement: Engage with local poultry clubs or agricultural extension offices for advice and support.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain records of poultry health, purchases, and sales.


  • Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA): Provides guidelines and information specific to South Australia.
  • Your Local Council: For local rules and permits.
  • RSPCA South Australia: For animal welfare information.


Compliance with these regulations is essential for the welfare of your chickens, the environment, and the community. It's also important for the sustainability and profitability of your poultry activities, whether it's a hobby or a commercial venture. Regular consultation with local authorities and staying abreast of any legislative changes are key to successful chicken keeping in South Australia.


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