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New Planning Laws for Small Scale Pigs and Poultry in Victoria

These guidelines apply to poultry farms that satisfy the following operational criteria:

  • a maximum of 5,000 chickens for egg production or 10,000 chickens for meat production 
  • a production system based on keeping poultry outdoors in paddocks 
  • a maximum outdoor stocking density of 1,500 birds /hectare 
  • mobile housing and feeding infrastructure that is relocated at least every two weeks 
  • adequate separation from waterways, residential areas and sensitive uses 
  • a nutrient management plan is in place and at least 50% ground cover is maintained  
These guidelines apply to the following planning permit applications:
  • existing low density mobile outdoor poultry farms that do not have a permit 
  • new low density mobile outdoor poultry farms 
  • expansions of existing low density mobile outdoor poultry farms

Simplified planning permit assessment for a low density mobile outdoor poultry farm


Applications that are assessed as being low density mobile outdoor poultry farms have simplified requirements for assessment and decision.

Key features of the simplified planning process include:

  • clear application requirements
  • clear standards to support decisions by the responsible authority
  • permit applications are not advertised where certain conditions are met – No Notice
  • third parties cannot appeal against the planning decision where certain conditions are met – No Appeal.

All other poultry farm operations will be required to follow the normal planning process.

4 threshold requirements for accessing the simplified planning permit

  1. Production system: The farm must be based on a mobile outdoor production system.
  2. Poultry type: The farm must be a poultry farm for the production of chicken meat or chicken eggs.
  3. Farm capacity: The farm capacity must be less than 5,000 chickens (eggs) or less than 10,000 chickens (meat). The capacity of a poultry farm is described as the total number of poultry that will be held on the farm.
  4. Outdoor stocking density: The outdoor stocking density must be less than 1,500 birds/hectare.

Low density mobile outdoor poultry farms are a type of outdoor poultry production system which, if well managed, presents very low environmental and amenity risks.

Low density mobile outdoor poultry farms are where, once old enough, poultry live outdoors in paddocks with unfettered foraging opportunities. Stocking densities are kept low and range areas are rested to allow ground cover to be maintained and to restrict the rate of manure nutrient additions to the soil.

Mobile housing is provided to protect poultry in paddocks from the elements (and to lay eggs). Birds may be housed overnight for the protection from predators. Prepared feed is provided, typically in self-feeders. The housing, feeders and watering points are regularly and frequently moved to distribute manure nutrients more evenly.

Low density mobile outdoor poultry farms may also include a (non-mobile) shed for the raising of day-old chicks to the point of being ready to range.

Planning permit requirements

In all Victorian planning schemes, a planning permit is required to use and develop land for a poultry farm. A planning permit can be applied for in the following zones:

  • Farming Zone
  • Rural Activity Zone
  • Green Wedge Zone
  • Green Wedge A Zone
  • Rural Conservation Zone
  • Rural Living Zone
  • Urban Growth Zone.

The establishment of a new poultry farms, including low density mobile outdoor poultry farms, are prohibited in all other zones.

When is a planning permit required for a low density mobile outdoor poultry farm?

The requirement for a planning permit may apply to any of the following:

  • existing low density mobile outdoor poultry farms that do not have a permit and that do not have existing use rights (see Clause 63 of all planning schemes)
  • establishing a new low density mobile outdoor poultry farm
  • expanding an existing low density mobile outdoor poultry farm to increase its capacity (including increasing size in terms of poultry numbers or adding more poultry production area).

In addition to zone controls, there may be other provisions of a planning scheme (for example, overlays and particular provisions) that have additional planning permit and development requirements, such as approvals to remove native vegetation and works approval. Applicants are encouraged to check with their council about whether other approvals are needed at the planning stage.

What information should be submitted with a permit application?

The following list provides planners with the information they should expect from a low density mobile outdoor poultry farm planning permit application.

Property Identification Code

All poultry farms with more than 100 poultry, including low density mobile outdoor poultry farms, must have a Property Identification Code (PIC), that assists with traceability and biosecurity.

A. Property and locality plan

A property plan showing:

  • property boundaries and dimensions of the site
  • paddocks where poultry will be kept
  • sheds, including housing used for the raising of young birds prior to them being old enough to range outdoors, or any packing sheds (for egg production if appropriate)
  • location of any other farm infrastructure such as feed storage areas
  • farm bores, dams and other water supply sources and waterways
  • mortality management area
  • significant slope and other topographic features, remnant vegetation and areas prone to erosion
  • areas prone to flooding
  • internal and external roads.

A locality plan showing:

  • distances to dwellings in a separate ownership and other sensitive uses (including dwellings under construction or approved by a planning or building permit to be constructed)
  • distances to waterways from poultry paddock boundaries
  • suitable scale and dimensions.

A suitably scaled and dimensioned property and location plan, including distances, should not require the employment of a consultant or surveyor. It can be developed using readily available resources such as free online mapping programs such as Land Channel.

B. Description of the proposal

A brief written description that details:

  • proposed number of poultry to be kept (including offspring and the number of poultry to be kept across various production stages)
  • the production system including:

– the raising of chicks

– the range area and number of poultry paddocks

– management, packing and storage of eggs (for egg farms).

  • design of the poultry housing, fencing, feeding and water infrastructure
  • design and details of housing for the raising of young birds prior to ranging (if applicable)
  • the prepared feed for poultry and where it will be stored
  • management of dead birds/spent hens
  • a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) that demonstrates how nutrients will be managed and ground cover maintained
  • strategies to minimise the risk of predators, pests, rodents and wild birds
  • the planning zones and any overlays applying to the land.

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