To cock-a-doodle-doo or not?

What's a rooster's crow between neighbours? Well, it can be bad blood and I think it is between Patrick Chong and Rob Maggiotto in Wimbledon Grove, Garden Suburb. Patrick can't accept that his beautiful Barnevelder rooster, Roger, causes as much disruption in the Maggiotto home as the Maggiottos claim, and the Maggiottos believe that they should not have to tolerate the disruption. And so Rob Maggiotto has been writing long submissions to Lake Macquarie City Council and has taken up a petition seeking the banning of roosters from suburbia.

I see myself as a rooster advocate, as my longtime readers will know, and I've had perhaps 10 roosters over the many years I've kept chooks in Cooks Hill and Merewether. Not only have I never had a complaint, I have had many neighbours tell me they enjoyed hearing the rooster. That said, some roosters are noisier than others and some are more inclined than others to crow, and when the two qualities merge everyone has a problem. I've had to, err, dispose of two such roosters. And having heard Roger crowing while I was on the phone to Patrick, he seems to be a loud and frequent crower.

Keeping chooks is an integral part of the emerging age of backyard food production, a passion for the Chongs, and for many keeping a rooster is an important part of that. And there are more roosters about in suburbia than you might realise. The cackle of hens and the crow of a rooster are becoming just part of the urban noise we tolerate as part of living in cities and towns, and many of us enjoy that noise.

Still, it is important that a rooster's crow is not a problem for neighbours, and so I've suggested in my column in the Herald today that Patrick Chong get a quieter rooster, move his coop further up the back, line the coop with noise insulation and not let the hens and Roger out of the coop into the run until later in the morning.

As we do with barking dogs, and, by the way, Mr Chong says he would never complain about Mr Maggiotto's two yappy white terriers, it is a matter of minimising the impact on our neighbours. I hope there's a happy resolution.

Should the keeping of roosters in suburbia be banned, tolerated or encouraged?

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