Hens, rabbits… What are the rules when building a small backyard at home?

“What are the rules governing the installation of a backyard at home? Are all animals concerned (chickens, geese, rabbits)? », Edmond wondered. France has about 80 million pets. If these words traditionally refer to dogs and cats, they can also refer to birds and mice.

For the latter, the construction of a chicken coop or hut may be necessary. What regulations govern these constructions and the reception of these species? Western France answering you

Animal welfare first

Like dogs or cats, some breeds of hens, geese and rabbits are pets, meaning animals. “property of a species which has undergone changes, by selection, on the part of man”​, explains the site service-public.fr. They become pets when they are “held or intended to be held by a person for his pleasure”.

The first thing to respect is the welfare of these animals. Article L214-1 of the rural and maritime fishing code specifies that “Every animal is a living being and must be kept by its owner in conditions compatible with the biological needs of its species”. A proposal reinforced by article L214-3, from the same code. “Mistreatment of domestic animals as well as domesticated or captive wild animals is prohibited. »

Chicken houses, sheds: framed constructions

Regarding the living space of the animals, it must be large enough to allow them to thrive and its installation must respect certain rules. In the case of a mobile structure, ie light and easy to move, “no prior declaration to town hall planning department” is unnecessary, explain Le Figaro .

On the other hand, if you want to build a fixed structure, the standards related to the area are imposed. For example, a building permit will be required if “the works have the effect of creating a floor area or a footprint of more than twenty square meters”can we read in the Town Planning Code.

For constructions whose size is between five and twenty square meters, it is required to make a preliminary declaration at the town hall. Finally, for a structure less than five square meters, no permit is required.

In any case, it is strongly recommended to contact your town hall, as some municipalities have set up a specific local urban plan (PLU). “Your project must comply with PLU rules, even if it is not subject to preliminary declaration”, refers to the Ministry of the Interior on its website. In other municipalities, the rules are similar: people who want to build are required “respect the rules of the town planning document”.

Finally, your construction must respect a certain distance to neighboring residences. It depends on the number of animals you own. Below ten, no rule is defined. In contrast, “Poultry and rabbit farms are not located at a distance of less than 25 meters for farms containing more than 50 animals”underline the health regulations of the department of Ille-et-Vilaine.

There are specific rules for people living in a housing unit. It is best to consult with them before starting work, at the risk of being banned.

Specific health and safety rules

Once your animals are settled, hygiene standards apply. To find them out, the owners must turn again to the health regulations of the department. That of Ille-et-Vilaine explains for example that “Facilities containing live animals, in particular cages, chicken coops and dovecotes, must be kept in a good state of cleanliness and care at all times”. For this, “They are disinfected and disinfected as often as necessary” and “Dung should be evacuated so as not to disturb the neighborhood”.

Regarding safety rules, it is best to notify your town hall as soon as you have animals, regardless of type or number. “Everything is declared, people should come and see us if they have animals”, insists Yannick Le Goff, mayor of Graces in Côtes-d’Armor. The goal? “Expect problems, especially the risk of animals escaping”continued the aedile.

Far from a small risk because, as underlined by the Rural Code and maritime fishing, “it is forbidden to let domestic animals and wild animals stray or to keep them in captivity”.

The mayor can also intervene in case of noise and odor related problems. “Usually, this is settled in a discussion”our conversation ends.

As part of the fight against avian flu, additional policies have been introduced by the health authorities. They also concern individuals, as we explained in this article published a few days ago.

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