You can keep up to 50 chickens on your land without registering with DEFRA. However, following the avian flu outbreaks, a poultry register was established in 2005 and you are required to register with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) if you keep more than 50 poultry, so you would need to consider the total number if you already keep geese, ducks, turkeys or any other form of poultry.

Even though it is not a legal requirement, it would be in your interest to register so that you can be advised of disease outbreaks such as Avian Influenza. For example, you would be advised if there is a requirement to keep birds under cover.

There may be local by-laws that prevent you from keeping livestock and your council can advise you on this. If you are a tenant, you would need to check whether there are any covenants that apply to stop you keeping chickens and the deeds of some properties may state that you are not allowed to keep livestock, which would include chickens.