Keeping animals

Keeping animals can be fun. But they can impact on neighbours. Residents are entitled to keep domestic animals as pets provided they do not cause a nuisance through containment, noise or hygiene issues.

Animals are an important part of any community. But if you plan to keep them on your land, there are issues of which you must be aware of, especially where these concern their care, control and responsibilities that you have as an animal manager and owners. Poor management and inappropriate care can impact on amenity of your neighbours in terms of noise, odours, property damage, health and safety.

Where a problem is identified in relation to the keeping of animals and it cannot be resolved through consultation, Council may issue a Notice of Intention to serve an Order under the Local Government Act 1993. An Order is an instruction from Council to comply with controls imposed. Normally the animal owner will be given every opportunity to make representation to Council prior to a formal Order being issued. In situations that constitute a serious risk to public health or safety, an emergency Order may be issued without prior notice.

In response to proven complaints, Council may impose controls on the number of animals and the manner in which they are kept.

If you are planning to keep animals for commercial purposes you will likely be required to obtain development consent from Council. Please seek advice from a Council Town Planner.

Poultry (including chickens)

In accordance with the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 - NSW Legislation, Ballina Shire residents must comply with the following requirements for the keeping of poultry to avoid creating such conditions as to cause a nuisance or to be dangerous or injurious to health:

  1. Chickens and guinea fowls must not be kept within 4.5 metres of a dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food.
  2. Poultry, other than chickens and guinea fowls, must not be kept within thirty (30) metres of any dwelling, public hall, school or premises used for the manufacture, preparation, sale or storage of food.
  3. The floors of poultry houses must be paved with concrete or mineral asphalt underneath the roosts or perches. However, this subclause does not apply to poultry houses that are not within 15.2 metres of a dwelling, public hall or school, or situated on clean sand.
  4. Poultry must not be kept under such conditions as to create a nuisance or to be dangerous or injurious to health.
  5. Poultry yards must be kept clean and free from offensive odours at all times.
  6. Poultry yards must be so enclosed as to prevent the escape of poultry.

Council may consider alternative solutions which avoid creating conditions that would cause a nuisance or situations that are dangerous or harmful to health.

Residents should be aware that some subdivision covenants prohibit the keeping of poultry and fowls. Residents should check that covenants made at the time of subdivision are not breached.

Additional controls are included under Subdivision 21 Fowl and poultry houses in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008. These controls may differ depending on the land zoning of your property e.g R3 Medium Density Residential or RU2 Rural Landscape. You can find the zoning of your property at Council’s Online Maps > click on the Public-Planning Module, then BSC 2012 LEP and add the address under House Address. 

If your proposed or existing fowl or poultry house does not comply with these requirements a development application and consent may be necessary.

The keeping of roosters is not considered appropriate in urban residential areas. Roosters can generate excessive noise and impact on the amenity of an area. 

Bird Feeding

Native birds are an important part of the environment and are a valuable asset to the community. Native birds fertilise native plants, spread important seeds and provide an environmentally friendly insect deterrent while helping to maintain biodiversity.
Unfortunately, there is a belief that feeding native birds is of value to the birds and will help attract more native birds to the area. In fact, feeding native birds does more harm then good.

Problems caused by bird feeding

  • It will attract introduced birds (such as pigeons) and eventually mice, cockroaches and rats
  • 90% of birds already eat a balanced diet and the additional food can alter this
  • Increases some species, which in turn, decreases others
  • It can spread disease through a concentration of food and birds in large numbers in one place
  • Encourages birds to become dependent on humans for their survival and birds can lose the ability to find food for themselves
  • Can cause sickness and deformities in young as high quantities of salt are present in bread and processed foods
  • Can make them overweight as high quantities of fat are present in processed food and meat.

If you love birds, plant a native garden that provides them with habitat and natural foods. Plants should be planted close together to create a dense cover to make the birds feel safe. You could also provide a birdbath in a place that is safe from cats.

For further information visit the NSW Dept of Planning Industry and Environment website - How can I stop my neighbour feeding the birds?

Horses and Cattle

Horses and cattle must not be kept within nine metres of a dwelling, school shop, office, factory, workshop, church or other place of public worship, public hall or premises used for the manufacture, preparation or storage of food.

The floors of stables must be paved with concrete or mineral asphalt or other equally impervious material, and must be properly graded to drain. Yards must be enclosed to prevent escape.

Straying Stock

Straying stock (cattle, horses, goats and sheep) can be a problem in rural areas, especially if residents are absent from their property for a period of time. Stock owners are obliged to keep their fences maintained, and to keep their stock from straying onto neighbouring properties and/or public land such as roads.

Council Rangers can help if stock is on a public road and/or on public lands by removing the stock and putting them back into a paddock.

A Penalty Infringement Notice and a Fencing Order under the Local Government Act may be issued to the owner of the land and/or to the person agisting cattle on the land if a problem exists with fencing that immediately adjoins public land and/or stock have strayed onto surrounding public roads.

Straying stock issues that arise from stock wondering from private property to private property, are private concerns between neighbours. Even if stock is damaging property, it is a civil matter between both parties. Council does not get involved in these private matters and it is recommended that affected people in this situation take their own legal advice and/or visit the local Chamber Magistrate to discuss further.

Two pieces of legislation that deal with straying stock are the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998 and the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021. Under the Rural Lands Protection Act, stock is considered to be ‘abandoned’ if left unattended on a public road or public land. Abandoned or trespassing animals may be impounded by a Bio Security Officer or a Council ranger and there is a fee to have them released. A fine also may be imposed.

Occupiers of private land can impound any animals that stray onto it. If they know the owners of the stock they must inform them within 24 hours. Refer to the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 for further information.

An occupier must ensure that any animal kept on their land after it is impounded:

  • is provided with adequate food, water and veterinary care, if required
  • is kept in a place that is well drained and maintained in a clean condition
  • is provided with adequate shade for the climatic conditions
  • is kept secure
  • is separated from other animals that are diseased or, if the animal is/or appears to be diseased, is kept separate from other animals.

Local Land Services shares responsibilities for stock health with the NSW Department of Primary Industries. If you see any stock that appears to be in ill health and/or have concerns regarding stock visit the North Coast - Local Land Services website, or contact the Lismore district main office, Ph 1300 795 299.


Swine (pigs) must not be kept (and swine’s dung must not be deposited) within 60 metres of a dwelling, shop, office, factory, church or other place of public worship, workshop, school or public place in a city, town, village or other urban part of an area.

Swine must not be kept in such a place or manner as to pollute drinking or domestic water.

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The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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40 Cherry Street
Ballina NSW 2478


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