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UK Rules And Regulation For Keeping Chickens

There are almost no laws that will stop the average chicken keeper from having a few birds in their back garden. That said there are a few things that are worth bearing in mind.

A chicken looking curiously at its owner
A chicken looking curiously at its owner

Protection of Animals Act and Animal Welfare Act

As with any animal, domestic or wild, cruelty to animals is illegal. With chickens you are required to provide adequate housing, food, water and care. Adequate housing is defined as housing that allows them to exhibit their normal behaviours (roosting, nesting, scratching and living in groups) and care can be understood as making sure your chickens health is well looked after.


If you do have over 50 birds then you need to register your flock with DEFRA - information on registering your poultry can be found on their website.


Under the 1950 Allotment Act you are allowed to keeping hens on your allotment, as long as they are only for the use of the tenants and not used for business or profit. However, if your chickens are regarded as a nuisance or a health hazard, or their welfare is affected they can be removed. No matter where your chickens are they are subject to welfare rights enforced by the Protection of Animals Act and the Animals Welfare Act. You can download the Welfare Of Animals On Allotments leaflet produced by the RSPCA on their site (note: when referring to hens, cockerels are excluded as they are more often covered by local law due to their noise).

By-Laws, Covenants and House Deeds

Occasionally there will be restrictions on a property or local area that bans the keeping of poultry. Check with your local council or property deeds if you suspect this may apply to you.

Rented Properties

If you are living in rented accommodation it is worth checking your tenancy agreement to see if you are allowed to keep chickens. If you are unsure then contact your landlord directly and see what they say.

Customer Images


Sally, 26 April 2023

Hi - I have neighbours who are letting a cockerel and a number of chickens wander loose in an urban area. They spend the day wandering up and down quite busy residential streets and in and out of people's front gardens. I can't find anything that specifically bans this but surely it can't be right? Apart from anything else they are defecating on the pavements and in gardens and can be quite fierce if shooed away.

Karen, 11 April 2022

Can a neighbour have a chicken coop right up against my garden fence ? Or is there a set distance from the fence it should be ? Residential garden

Katy, 4 April 2022

Hello, I have 3 chickens and have kept them in the coop since November because of bird flu. I have been told by govt letter, that they should not be moved around. What is a good floor base for them in this situation.

Carole, 7 July 2021

My new neighbours have just bought chickens and they are positioned about 6foot from our bedroom window. The noise one them makes very early in the morning is waking us up. Is there a law against causing this disturbance.

Skippy, 8 June 2021

Hi there, I was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction. I want to have chickens on my plot but there’s some conflict as to how many I am allowed. I want 12 but the new secretary doesn’t know the rules but is adamant it’s 6. She can’t provide me with any written information or direct me to where I might find it. I have searched the councils website but I’m not having any luck. Other plot holders have told me I can have 12 and some of them have been on here for 50 years so I’m inclined to believe them. Could anyone possibly point me to an official page, there’s nothing in my agreement to say how many but it does say I can keep hens not cockerels, I have to keep them safe and secure, clean etc but nothing about how many. Any help you guys could provide would be greatly appreciated ????