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Can you have chickens in residential areas?

In this video and article I look at the questions “Can you have chickens in residential areas?”.

This is a really great question, considering there is still so much uncertainty round it and increased awareness about how poorly hens are kept at egg laying facilities. 

You decision to keep backyard chickens should be based on a few things. Firstly, they provide incredibly dense and nutritious eggs that provide an opportunity for clean eating. Then, they are highly efficient compost creators that process kitchen scraps and give you high quality fertiliser, and if done correctly compost. The shells from the eggs also go into compost and further enrich the compost with nutrients and structure. 

So, that begs the question: “Can you have chickens in residential areas?”

The long and short of it all is YES, you can keep chickens at home in residential areas. HOWEVER, to be able to keep backyard chickens you need to make sure that you comply with your local bylaws to make sure you are not breaking any local government regulations. Below is a breakdown of the local bylaws for the main metropole areas in South Africa and how they differ in terms of what is allowed. This highlights the importance of checking what your local bylaws are as you can see how vastly different they are to each other.


What are the bylaws or local regulations to be able to keep chickens in urban areas?


Keeping chickens in Johannesburg

  • No more than 10 chickens are allowed in a residential backyard
  • Chickens must be kept in a sound poultry house 
  • They must not be a nuisance to neighbours
  • Minimum floor area of 4 square meters
  • The poultry house walls need to be at least 2.4 meters high


Keeping chickens in the Western Cape, or Cape Town

  • Residents can keep up to 5 hens without a permit. A permit is required for more than 5 hens or if you want to keep a rooster
    • Poultry house needs to be at least 1.5m from any boundary wall or dwelling areas
    • Poultry houses may not exceed 3.5m in hight


    Keeping chickens in KwZulu Natal

    • There is no limit to the amount of chickens that can be kept in residential areas
    • No poultry house is allowed within 7.5m of any residential opening such as a door or window
    • No poultry house may be within 2 meters of any boundary wall
    • No resident may keep poultry in their house

    Information for the above points was collected from : https://www.businessinsider.co.za/how-many-chickens-can-i-keep-at-home-in-south-africa-2021-5


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