Caring for your birds & poultry

Learn how to keep your birds and/or poultry safe and healthy, and where to go for help if you need more guidance.

Birds and poultry have a number of basic needs to help them stay happy and healthy:

  • a balanced diet is essential for the physical and mental health of your animal
  • clean water should be available at all times
  • regular cleaning of the enclosure to reduce smell and odour
  • scheduled feeding routines, moulting and breeding season, which may contribute to increased vocalisation
  • socialisation and stimulation:
    • spend time daily playing and enriching your bird's environment
    • ensure the cage size is suitable to allow the bird to self exercise
    • provide them with a range of toys
    • vary enrichment with chewing branches and foliage regularly
    • train
    • out-of-cage activities – if permitted.

Speak to your local avian vet about any behaviour and care issues you may have.

Excessive vocalisation

Vocalising is a natural behaviour for birds and poultry. It is their way of communicating. It is important to remember vocalising excessively can become a noise nuisance.

An animal causes a noise nuisance if:

  1. In the opinion of an authorised person, the noise unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and convenience of any person on their property, and
  2. The duration of the noise exceeds
    • more than a total of 6 minutes in any 60 minute period between the hours of 7am and 10pm on any day, or
    • more than a total of 3 minutes in any 30 minute period between the hours of 10pm and 7am on any day.

Penalties apply for breaches. To find out more, go to Animal laws, breaches & fines.

Learn what is normal for your bird and then you will know what is excessive. Generally speaking, it is unnatural for a bird to scream for more than three minutes, four or five times a day.

If high noise levels continue to be a problem, take your bird to a veterinarian who specialises in birds. Your pet may be ill or injured. If the vet gives your bird a clean bill of health, consider contacting a bird behaviour specialist.

Rowdy roosters

Roosters crow as a territorial signal to other roosters at any time of the day and can start as early as four months of age. This behaviour can be disrupting to rooster owners and their neighbours.

To reduce your rooster from crowing and causing a nuisance to others:

  • cover your rooster's cage with heavy material at night to block the light and discourage early rising, and remove when you wake
  • provide your rooster with a night box in which they can comfortably stand but not stretch – open the box when you wake
  • provide the rooster with less headspace in its cage at night by lowering the roof or raising your rooster's perch – roosters cannot crow in a low-roofed cage
  • keep roosters occupied so they have less time to get bored and crow by providing treats that take time and effort to find and eat – like corn on the cob, or hidden food scraps such as lettuce under the straw or in baskets above the perch
  • decrease the number of roosters in your coop – keeping more than one rooster encourages competition among them, which results in an increase in crowing
  • consider caponising or neutering them.

Find out more with the keeping of poultry fact sheet(PDF, 275KB)