So How Many Chickens Can You Keep in Auckland?

The answer is:

From Auckland Council:

Urban animals provide a slice of the good life

A new Animal Management Bylaw comes into place tomorrow that supports a growing trend for sustainable living in Auckland’s urban backyards.  Collecting fresh eggs from chickens outside your kitchen window is one way to embrace the good life.

The new bylaw allows residents to keep a number of poultry and explains how to apply for a licence to have stock animals in urban areas, as defined under the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Max Wilde, Manager Bylaws and Compliance, says “More people want to keep poultry and other animals in urban backyards and the bylaw gives clear guidelines on responsible animal ownership, including any impact on close neighbours. Importantly, the bylaw promotes the welfare of all animals.”

The region-wide bylaw introduces a single approach to managing animals other than dogs, ensuring nuisance and risks to public health and safety are minimised. Guidelines and standards for managing bee hives and horse riding in public places are also included.

For residents wanting to keep animals, manage bee hives or ride horses in parks, the key aspects of the bylaw are:

Bees – responsible hive management standards and good practice guidelines aim to minimise common problems caused by bees including swarming and nuisance from bee excrement. A licence will be required for the keeping of bees on public land but not on private property.

Poultry and stock Residents can keep up to the following number of poultry without a licence as long as it does not cause nuisance issues for neighbours:

  • Properties under 2,000 sqm: up to six chickens and six quail
  • Properties between 2,000 – 4,000 sqm: up to 12 chickens or quail, six ducks, geese, and pheasants
  • Stock animals require a licence for urban properties under 4,000sqm or 1 acre
  • Where a licence is now needed, residents must apply within 12 months of the bylaw going live.

Horse riding – There are general guidelines for responsible horse riding which are in place to protect public health and safety and keep bridle trails and beaches in a good condition for other users.

School calf days – Keeping a calf or lamb for school and community pet days is a tradition in many rural communities and there is no need for a licence between June and November.  Event organisers do need to register these events for free with the council.

The new bylaw will create a consistent approach to animal management across Auckland, but it does not cover animal welfare issues.   The Animal Welfare Act does not give councils the powers to manage welfare issues. Other agencies, such as the SPCA and the Ministry for Primary Industries, work in this area.

The Animal Management Bylaw replaces 18 sets of regulations from former councils throughout the Auckland region and also revokes a clause relating to vehicle access on Karioitahi Beach, Franklin.  The Public Safety & Nuisance Bylaw has had rules in place since May 2014 encompassing very limited use of vehicle access on all beaches across the region. Kariotahi will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Public Safety & Nuisance Bylaw however from 1 September a trial to permit vehicle access on this beach will begin.  The free permits can be applied for online and will be valid for one year. For more information visit

Further Information

  • The Animal Management Bylaw does not include any rules around dogs.  Auckland Council has a Dog Policy and Bylaw 2012 and also manages dogs under the nationwide legislation, Dog Control Act 1996.
  • Rural properties or any property over 1 acre in the Auckland region will be exempt from licensing. For more information on the bylaw, please visit
  • The Public Safety & Nuisance Bylaw 2013 states that: except in the case of an emergency, or with the prior written approval of the council, drive, ride, propel or wheel or park any vehicle on a beach. This restriction does not apply to any person driving a vehicle by a direct route at a speed not exceeding 10km/h on a beach where vehicular access is permitted, to deposit or retrieve a boat in the water.
  • A permit can also be applied for Muriwai beach from 1 September as part of the trial.


One thought on “So How Many Chickens Can You Keep in Auckland?

  1. More important than the number of chickens allowed is the removal of restrictions on the placement of the coop. It used to have to be at least 3m from any boundary and 10m from any dwelling, which is almost impossible in suburban Auckland.. Now it’s simply required not to be a nuisance. i.e. use your common sense. I wish more bylaws were of that type!

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