MORE CHOOKS: Southern Downs residents can now keep between five and 20 chickens, depending on the size of their block, without a permit.
MORE CHOOKS: Southern Downs residents can now keep between five and 20 chickens, depending on the size of their block, without a permit. Contributed

Relaxed animal laws making it easier to keep poultry

KEEPING a couple of chooks in the backyard is about to become a whole lot easier on the Southern Downs.

Southern Downs Regional Council has relaxed animal management laws, making it easier for residents in town to keep poultry.

The laws came into effect on Friday.

Changes to the laws have been met cautiously by the Warwick Poultry Club and Southern Downs Poultry Club, who have pushed for further provisions for poultry breeders.

Under the new changes, residents will be able to keep up to five chickens on a 600 to 1000sqm block and up 20 on a block between 2000sqm and two hectares.

Poultry club members pushed for that number to be increased to 10 and 30, and for bantams to be classed separately.

"As bantams are smaller fowl they should be classed as caged birds as they can be kept in smaller areas," the poultry club submission stated.

"To sustain a core breeding group of poultry, it is necessary to maintain a minimum of 10 birds - three roosters and seven hens."

Poultry breeders who wish to keep roosters in town will still have to apply for a permit.

The poultry clubs also requested the council advise them if a member was involved in a complaint.

Council officers have rejected the poultry clubs' submissions.

A report to the council argued the laws already reduced the size of land required to keep more than 20 birds from 15ha to 2ha

"Further reduction in the area of land required for the keeping of chickens is not warranted," the report stated.

"If residents wish to keep a large number of chickens it is expected that they choose land of an adequate area."

Director of Engineering Peter See said the laws made it easier to keep poultry.

"This is the final step for us in major changes to animal keeping laws," he said.

"What council has done is free up the circumstances in which poultry can be kept."

The laws will be a welcome change for people who want to keep billy goats, rams, male alpacas and bulls.

Schools and primary producers will now be able to keep male animals.

Breeders on less than 1000sqm will have to apply for a permit, while those on larger blocks will only be required to apply for a permit if they want multiple animals.

Stallions will also be allowed in town areas for licensed horse trainers.

Deer, pigs, guineafowl, peafowl and donkeys are still banned in town areas.

Permits will set breeders back $150, with an annual renewal fee of $40.



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