The District Council can investigate noise from crowing cockerels. Noise complaints from crowing cockerels are more frequent during the spring and summer months due to the longer daylight hours. It is more likely that the law will consider a nuisance is being caused if a cockerel is crowing at unsocial hours, such as at night, early morning or late evening. The keeping of cockerels in a built up area is likely to give rise to complaints.
If you are affected by noise from a cockerel at a neighbouring property it is best initially to try and resolve it informally by discussing it with your neighbour.
What can owners do to help?
It is always worth remembering that you don't need a cockerel for your chickens to produce eggs. It is also a mistaken belief that chickens lay better when there is a cockerel around.
Where possible, make sure the cockerel is as far away as possible from your neighbours' house.
Cockerels tend to crow from first light and it is early morning crowing that typically gives rise to complaints. A cockerel can be put into a hen house or coop at night. The bird therefore cannot see the dawn light and will not know when to start crowing. The coop should be kept as dark as possible. If the cockerel is let out later in the morning, rather than being free roaming, this can delay the early morning crowing. Do not let your cockerel out until a reasonable hour. We would recommend after 08:00.
If this alone doesn't work a high level shelf can be put in the hen house to allow the cockerel to walk around at normal height, but which prevents it stretching its neck to make the crowing sound.
Other cockerels in the area will try to compete with each other and this can increase crowing. Therefore ideally only have one cockerel yourself. If a number of different cockerels are kept on the same land this can cause increased noise problems. Consideration should be given to separate coops for each breed. When the cockerels are shut in at night the smaller cockerels and chickens can be in a coop with a lower ceiling height than the bigger breeds.
Chicken owners should also remember that they should be kept within the boundary of their own land.
If all else fails
If the noise continues and the owner(s) appear unwilling to respond contact the District Council using the details at the end of this page. Please let us know how often the crowing occurs, at what time of day or night and how it is affecting you. If after investigation and speaking to the owner(s) it is felt that they are not responding to a genuine problem, an abatement notice will be served on the owner(s) to stop the crowing by whatever means necessary. Failure to comply may lead to the owner(s) being prosecuted.