• French Admin - Andrew

Chickens in your back garden

You're in the countryside and you just would love to wake up to the sound of chickens in the morning, and that cock crowing at dawn.


Remember that as from 2022, the Bill that was voted upon in January 2021 in the French National Assembly, and that was passed in the French Senate, will mean that in the future when buying a house, the 'patrimoine sensorial' (or the sensory heritage) must be considered as an integral part of the property that is being bought. There have been huge increases in recent years in the number of complaints being made regarding either smells, or sounds emanating from neighbouring properties in the French countryside. In the last decade alone, there have been 18,000 such complaints that have gone before the judges in local county courts. That will no longer be possible since a clause will be included in the sale of all properties making it an obligation to accept that the cock crows and that the horse manure smells...like horse manure. Nothing can be done to stop it.


Remember the 2019 story of Maurice, the cock that crowed every morning on the Ile d'Oléron and the neighbours that took the owner to court to complain that the cock was crowing too early and spoiling their sleep. Maurice won, of course, and he continued crowing much to the delight of his owner, Corinne Fesseau, also known as 'Coco' (a diminutive of the name Corinne, and also a slang word for a chicken, so appropriately named). Maurice unfortunately later caught a respiritory disease and died. But, Maurice II inherited his legacy and the rest is history.


But, what about you in your back garden if you want to keep chickens. You can, and not much can be done about the crowing of that cock anymore. It's the countryside after all.


But, there are some regulations related to the number of chickens you have and, therefore, whether there has to be an administrative declaration.


  • If you have under 50 chickens (or 'equivalent' types of birds), then you do not have to make any declaration. If it's over that number, then you are officially a barnyard, or a farmyard and, therefore, you are a professional. 'Equivalent birds' are classed as birds such as chickens, or guinea fowl. They count as one bird. Quails count as 1/8 of a chicken. turkeys and geese are considered as 3 birds each. Partidges and pigeons are 1/4 of a chicken. Ducks are 2. This is all based on the official text of Article 1 of the Arreté du 13 juin 1994 and the classification of the equivalences of birds.

  • The coup that you have to house your birds is also under the control of the rules and regulations related to the building of outbuildings. If you have an outbuilding, then you don't need to apply for approval. If you want to put a new one in, then if it's under 5m2, then it doesn't need any declaration. If it's between 5m2 and 20m2 or in a protected/heritage site, then it needs to have a déclaration préalable made at the mairie, by downloading the correct forms. If it's over 20m2, then it needs a permis de construire, or a building permit.

  • Otherwise, for poultry under 50 birds, there is no regulation about the distance from the neighbour's property to respect. The animals are considered for personal consumption, or for personal use, or even as pets.

A chicken coup that usually houses about 4 to 6 chickens costs roughly 250-300 euros. It will probably last 3-4 years, although more expensive ones can last about 10 years. 4 hens will cost about 40 euros and the average price per hen is between 8 and 12 euros in France. The bedding costs about 10 euros per month. the feed will cost about 7 euros per month. Medication may cost roughly 12 euros a year.


If French Admin can help you, get in touch with us today and we will give you advice on what you need to do.







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