Keeping chickens

Many Eastleigh residents keep chickens and cockerels. There are some steps that can help them not to cause a noise nuisance to neighbours, especially when kept in built up areas. To prevent noise from poultry causing a nuisance please consider the following:

Siting the Coop

The first thing you should consider is the location of your coop. Placing it right up against neighbouring properties may cause issues if you are not able to control noise, odour, flies and vermin.

Welfare and hygiene

Chickens need fresh food and water every day and cleaning out on a frequent basis, at least every few days, depending upon how many chickens you keep and how dirty their enclosure becomes. Generally, a well-planned cleaning and feeding regime, thoroughly implemented will help to minimise most problems, but make sure whoever looks after your brood when you go away knows what to do to maintain high standards.

Keeping a cockerel

Noise complaints from crowing cockerels are more frequent during the spring and summer months due to the longer daylight hours. Things to consider:

  • Cockerels are more likely to cause a nuisance if they are crowing at unsocial hours for example early morning, late evening and night time.
  • Keeping a cockerel in a built-up area is more likely to give rise to complaints.
  • If anyone is affected by noise from a cockerel at a neighbouring property it is best initially to try and resolve it informally by discussing it with the owners.
  • Only have a cockerel if you are breeding chickens - no cockerel is needed for chickens to lay eggs.
  • Do not have more than one cockerel - this causes competition and an increase in crowing
  • Raise the height of the perch or lower the roof of the coop so your cockerel cannot stretch his neck to crow.
  • Consider putting the cockerel into a hen house or coop at night during the lighter months when crowing will start earlier.
  • Use black out material over your coop so that sunlight doesn't wake the chickens and paint the inside of the coop black; ensure there are no cracks in the structure.
  • Let the birds out later in the morning.
  • Site the coop as far away from neighbouring properties as possible
  • Buy older birds whose sex can be confirmed to avoid ending up with a male, it is difficult to sex very young chicks, and some may grow into cockerels. Be prepared to make some difficult decisions about getting rid of your cockerel if it starts causing a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Other cockerels in the area will try to compete and this can increase crowing.

Generally, hens do not cause too many problems, although certain breeds are noisier than others. Hens can be very noisy when they lay, so you may wish to consider the closeness of your coop to neighbouring properties and gardens.

If you are concerned about the welfare of the birds, please contact the Animal Welfare Service.