Does living the Auchenflower Lifestyle include chooks?

Barry Osborne


Now being a Vet, you can be assured that I love my animals and really miss my farms and the animals now that I am tied to the city. I was so glad that I had the opportunity to raise my twin daughters at the farm for their primary school years so they experienced life of growing up on the farm around the animals. But I came across this story the other day from a friend and in some ways I was amazed. On verifying the story I found it has been in the Courier Mail, Westside News, facebook and also some other blogs. Now I know living in Auchenflower that a neighbour a few doors up from me has chooks and they cause no issues to me. But in that case it is a house situation. 

My concern is when living the Auchenflower Lifestyle in confined areas such as unit blocks, then you throw chooks into the mix as well.

Now I can tell you that when I was the boy growing up in Rainworth, my grandfather lived in Sunnybank and he had a reasonable size poultry operation, more than 20 chooks I believe. Don’t know what the law was 60 odd years ago. I would often go out there with my Dad, and it always seemed a job to do, collect up the eggs. I remember my biggest concern was about what I was going to be stepping into on the ground. When I moved to my first farm, I use to, as a joke, call myself a Muscovy Duck Farmer, when people would ask me what sort of farm I had. In fact, I loved the ducks and on the surface, they look very clean animals. They seem to take a real pride in themselves to stay clean. But I can say that is a different matter to their surrounds.

Just like for myself, I would like my animals having a life in wide open spaces.

I was in fact a cattle farmer and no way was I going to have ducks around the place no matter how much I loved them, as they would pollute the cattle water troughs so the cattle wouldn't drink the water. Now I had 700 acres of land so plenty of space, but the only ducks I had on the farms were a few wild wood ducks who would come to our dams. I like to see my animals in open spaces as the picture above. I have heard of grazing systems, where chooks are very useful, used as foragers following a few days behind the cattle, breaking down the manure pads.

We all can't live in houses unfortunately, particularly in inner city areas where space is in short supply. 

But now we are talking about the confined areas of the city and even worse is that a unit complex has put chooks into what little communal space the unit block may have. I see this not a real issue (depending on the site) if that was something all the owners of the block have agreed and they abide by the council guidelines. But it amazes me, in this case that a person who is an owner of a unit in a block, can have their health and lifestyle affected because the body corporate says it is okay. This situation has another major issue with my Real Estate Agent’s hat on. I sure would not like to be selling a unit in this block, by the way it is being used. It will limit the potential buyers and worse still, it will lower its value.

I have real difficulty in understanding how this can occur. My immediate thinking was that surely, something that will affect a person’s lifestyle and investment, must give them the right to have their say. The body corporate rules should be changed for issues such as this, and all owners must agree in order for it to occur. Where are the health regulations to protect people? I know one tenant here has developed emphysema from the experience.

Where is the council in all this?

I must say that after spending most of my adult life in other parts of Australia, I have been amazed at the helpfulness of the Brisbane City Council with nearly all my dealings with them. This then is strange that they would allow this to occur in confined inner city areas when other nearby councils wouldn't; such as:

  • Logan City Council
  • Gold Coast Council
  • Ipswich City Council
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council
  • Toowoomba City Council

They would not be allowing this to occur by their guidelines

These all have more detail in their guidelines such as:

  • Size of the block (6-10 chooks per 1000 m2 block)
  • Distance of enclosure from neighbours fence (1 to 1.5m from fence)
  • Distance from neighbouring residences (10m)
  • Size of Enclosure
  • Discharge of runoff

Now in the case of Brisbane City Council with the Inner City areas being so closely populated, it is strange why they are not stronger with their guidelines so these situations do not occur.

As this blog would confirm, Living the Auchenflower Lifestyle is important to me and I am sure to many others, but I think it is critical that we all consider everyone when we are doing things and ensure that what we are in fact doing is not affecting someone else’s health, lifestyle or asset base. So what are your views, please make comments below and subscribe to this blog to keep the community strong.