Keeping poultry in the backyard - Welfare and registration

The Welfare of your Poultry

Under The Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is against the law to be cruel to an animal and you must ensure that the welfare needs of your animals are met.  These include the need:

  • for a suitable environment (place to live)
  • for a suitable diet
  • to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • to be housed with, or apart from other animals (if applicable)
  • to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

By law, the minimum age any person can buy an animal is 16.

Registration of 'Flocks'

If you are considering keeping 2 or 3 hens to provide a year round supply of fresh eggs then there are no requirements to register with anyone.

However, by law you must register with DEFRA if you own, or are responsible for, poultry premises with 50 or more birds.  This requirement also applies even if the premises are only stocked with 50 or more birds for part of the year.

At present, premises with fewer than 50 birds are not required to register, but DEFRA encourage keepers to do so voluntary.

Poultry is susceptible to many diseases and need regular checks.  One such disease is Avian Influenza which is a highly contagious viral disease affecting the respiratory, digestive and/or nervous system of many species of birds.  It is a notifiable disease and suspect cases must be notified to the local Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).



Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024