The biggest issue with cockerels and roosters is crowing. The sound, depth and length of a crow varies between breeds and also between individual birds. Cockerels and roosters can and will crow at any time of the day, and sometime during the night too if something disturbs them. The fastest way to have a lot of crowing is to have another rooster or cockerel within earshot; “crow offs” between roosters is normal and common.
Information for the concerned resident
Council feels the most effective and successful way of managing a nuisance crowing rooster is for the person affected by the issue (the complainant) to communicate their concerns directly with the rooster owner. There is a chance the rooster owner may not even be aware their rooster is crowing excessively and causing an issue for neighbours.
You should carefully consider all issues and possibilities before deciding on an appropriate course of action. However, once you have decided the crowing is excessive and disrupting your way of life, please consider the following options to manage the situation.
- Approach the rooster’s owner as soon as the issue arises, and state your case clearly and politely. They may not be aware of the issue. If the rooster’s owner is unapproachable, or you are not comfortable approaching the rooster owner, the notification letter and the fact sheet ‘Reasons why your rooster may be crowing excessively’ which have been included below, should be placed in the rooster owner’s letterbox.
- Provide sufficient time for the rooster owner to rectify the problem.
- If the crowing continues to be a problem after this period of time, you must provide written evidence to us in order for further action to be taken. The attached animal noise complaint form and diary sheet must be completed and returned.
Using the 'Dear rooster owner' letter
Included below is a ‘Dear rooster owner’ communication letter, designed to help you and your neighbour communicate anonymously if you feel you are unable to approach your neighbour, and to prevent any possible escalation of the issue into a neighbourhood dispute. DO NOT leave it too long to try to convey your concerns as this can lead to a build-up of frustrations and defensive attitudes from both sides.
The best way to resolve an issue with a neighbour—whatever it is about—is by talking directly to them face-to-face. Talking face-to-face is much better and far more effective than phone calls, emails, letters and messages. Before talking with the other person, think about what you want to say. It is important to state clearly what the issue is and how you feel about it.
The following tips can help.
Arrange a convenient time to meet
- Choose a good time to approach the other person to arrange a convenient meeting time so neither of you is rushed.
- Do not bring up the issue when the other person is on their way to work, or trying to get their children off to school, or are about to cook dinner. They will not be in the right frame of mind to talk if they are under stress or time constraints.
- Choose a time which is right for you too; do not approach them after you have had a bad day or when you are in a hurry to go somewhere. This will just add to the tension.
- Find a place where you can both sit comfortably and quietly for long enough to properly discuss the issue without interruptions.
- Explain that the problem has been worrying you and you would like to sort it out.
Meet with your neighbour and explain the issue
- A good way to start is to explain the issue from your point of view.
- Try to stay calm and avoid laying blame and name-calling.
- For example, say, 'When your tree branches hang over my roof, my gutters block up and overflow in heavy rain', rather than, 'You haven't bothered to lop your trees so my gutters are overflowing when it rains'.
- Try not to interpret the other person’s behaviour.
- For example, don't say, 'You're blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me angry'. Instead try saying, 'When your car blocks my driveway, I get annoyed because it’s difficult to get in and out'.
Let your neighbour tell their side of the story
- Give your neighbour a chance to give their views.
- Be prepared to relax, listen and take everything in.
- Do not interrupt when your neighbour is talking.
- Show that you are listening by maintaining eye contact, and acknowledging what they are saying with 'mmm's’ and by nodding your head.
- You might not agree with what they say, but there is nothing more frustrating than talking to someone who does not seem to be listening.
- Try working on the dispute together and work out what you both need to do to resolve the issue.
- Two or more people working on an issue together can get further than one person telling the other to change.
- Since you are taking the time to work on a problem, take the time to get a solution that is acceptable to both of you.
- Get the whole issue out in the open.
- Do not leave out anything that seems less important or is the hardest to talk about. Those are the things that will ruin any solution you come up with.
- If you can come to an agreement by talking together, that's great!
- It is a good idea to write down the details of what you have agreed to and each of you should keep a copy.
Meet again in the future
Agree to check with each other at a specific time in the future to see how things are going—and do not forget to do this catch-up meeting.
If you can not reach an agreement
If you can not come to an agreement, do not worry. Discussing the problem may have helped you both better understand each other's point of view.
If you would prefer a formal mediation process to resolve the issue amicably, please contact the Dispute Resolution Centre, which can provide free mediation to work through the issue. For more information on applying for mediation, contact your nearest Dispute Resolution Centre, or visit the Queensland Government website.
Information for the rooster owner
We understand you are not able to be at home all the time with your rooster, and you may not be aware of the rooster's behaviour while you are away. If you have received a noise complaint about your rooster and/or are trying to fix the crowing behaviour of your rooster, you can use the short letter we have designed for dropping into neighbours' letterboxes to monitor the behaviour of your rooster.
The size of the allotment where you live will determine whether you are allowed to keep a rooster/s or not and whether you are required to apply for approval to keep a rooster/s. Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011 states:
A rooster can't be kept if:
- the rooster is kept on an allotment in a residential area less than 4,000m2.
- there are more than 5 roosters on an allotment in a residential area greater than 4,000m2.
Approval will be required if:
- 1 or more roosters are kept on an allotment in a residential area.
Roosters should be relatively silent in the hours between dusk and dawn
A rooster who is crowing in the middle of the night can make it difficult for everyone else to sleep. If your rooster's vocalizations are keeping you awake through the night, you may need to carefully assess his environment and make changes so he'll spend more nighttime hours sleeping and less time crowing.
Dawn is approaching
Most rooster owners expect their roosters to begin crowing as dawn approaches. The sky will begin to lighten long before the sun actually rises -- it's normal for your rooster to start crowing as early as two hours before the sun comes up. This means that if the sun comes up at 6 a.m., then your rooster may decide to start crowing at around 4 o'clock in the morning because he senses dawn approaching.
Your rooster may mistake a bright light for dawn and start crowing because he thinks dawn is coming, even though sunrise is many hours away. If the light is constantly on at night -- for example, a streetlight -- then your rooster may crow all night. Artificial sources of light may confuse your rooster and prompt him to crow at all hours. If you think your rooster is crowing because of artificial lights, try turning out all of the lights or using a curtain or cover to prevent your rooster from seeing the light. See if that helps him stay quiet when you are trying to sleep.
Roosters naturally protect their hens. One of the ways roosters do this is by alerting the hens when potential threats are approaching. Crowing serves the purpose of alerting the hens to seek cover from a predator and alerting the predator that a rooster is guarding his flock. Predators in the night, or even just perceived predators in the night, will cause a rooster to crow.
Roosters can, and do, crow whenever they feel like it. Your rooster may crow because another rooster crows. He may crow to communicate with the hens or other animals around him. Some roosters are more vocal than others. If you have a rooster that simply enjoys crowing in the middle of the night or just feels the urge to do so sometimes, there is little you can do to prevent the behaviour from occurring.
How to keep a rooster quiet at night and at dawn is one of the most common concerns of people wanting to keep a rooster. It is commonly thought that a rooster needs to be able to fully stretch to crow – but this is not true. Various solutions to night crowing some chicken owners have employed include keeping roosters in a box in a shed or garage. Noise in the night box such as a radio playing can also help to stop a rooster crowing at a sudden noise in the middle of the night, but probably won’t stop dawn crowing. A purpose built solitary night box is a common solution to keeping a rooster without nuisance to neighbours. It is very difficult to sound proof, but it is possible to severely muffle crowing. Thick insulated walls will muffle crowing and keeping the night box light proof will also help.
Don’t house your hens and pullets in light proof night boxes with the rooster. Their laying is linked to exposure to daylight hours so if they are kept in a light proof house at night and aren’t let out until 8 or 9 am, they will think it is winter and stop laying.
Darling Downs Poultry and Pigeon Breeders Assoc
- 07 4698 7889
Feather Clubs Association of Queensland Incorporated
- 07 5499 0553
Ipswich & District Poultry Club Inc
- 0416 113 154
Laidley Poultry & Pigeon Club
- 0420 839 030
Rosewood Poultry Club
- 0400 677 978
Southern Downs Poultry Club Allora Inc
- 07 4696 2707
Stanthorpe Poultry Club Inc
- 07 4683 4196
Toowoomba Poultry Club Inc
- 07 4696 7313
Warwick Poultry Club Inc
- 07 4661 4870