Noise - cockerels crowing

Advice about keeping poultry

There are no nationwide restrictions to prevent you from keeping poultry, but some individual properties do have covenants which provide an obstacle. You'll need to check the deeds of your property to find out if this applies to you.  

Whilst keeping poultry can be an enjoyable activity, prior consideration should always be given to the full extent of what is involved, including the not so pleasant aspect of culling unwanted birds, and whether the keeping of poultry could cause problems for neighbours particularly if you intend keeping a cockerel.

You don't need to keep a cockerel for your hens to produce eggs. It is a mistaken belief that hens lay better when there's a cockerel around. If you do keep a cockerel, think carefully about how you will dispose of unwanted chicks and whether the cockerel is likely to cause complaints about noise from your neighbours.

Defining the sex of juvenile birds can be difficult, but some hatcheries will offer a 'no-cockerel guarantee' when you make your purchase. 

The following practical measures may be suggested to prevent your birds causing disturbance to your neighbours:  

  • Ensuring that the cockerel is located as far as practicable from neighbouring residential properties.
  • Keeping the coop as dark as possible to minimise early morning crowing.
  • Lowering the ceiling height of the coop will prevent the cockerel from throwing back its head and crowing.
  • Sound proof the housing.
  • Reducing competition - other cockerels in the area will cause them to compete with each other and may result in excess crowing.
  • Separate cockerels from broody hens.
  • Removing the cockerel

You should also take measures to keep your poultry in such a manner that does not create smell or dust nuisance for neighbours or attract vermin into the area.

 Research has shown that there should be a period of darkness for poultry in each 24hr period. To ensure laying is not affected the birds should be given 8 hours of light per day.

Is it illegal for a cockerel to crow?

No, but if you own a cockerel(s) you must ensure that the crowing does not cause a Statutory Nuisance to others. A Statutory Nuisance is a "material interference with the comfort and enjoyment of another's home."

In practice, the crowing would have to be excessive and unreasonable in the circumstances and significantly interfere with the use and enjoyment of someone's home. Examples could be:

  • crowing for prolonged periods;
  • frequent excessive crowing and;
  • crowing at unreasonable hours i.e. early morning or late at night.

As an owner of a cockerel you should carefully consider whether the area in which you live is suitable to have such livestock and also carefully consider how the bird is kept.