Rowdy roosters keeping Wiganers awake

Cock-a-doodle don't!
Cock-a-doodle don't!

BLEARY-eyed Wigan folk are making ever more complaints to the town hall about rowdy roosters.

Locals say they are fed up with having their slumber shattered by cocks crowing at the crack of dawn, because unprecedented numbers of neighbours are breeding poultry in their back yards.

In recent months we have seen an increase in the number of noise complaints from cockerels in residential areas compared to previous years

Mark Tilley

And the loss of lie-ins from the world’s original alarm clock has seen many residents turn to the town hall to register their ire. Council officers say they are doing all they can to crack down on the feathered offenders and have urged owners to consider the noise pollution impact on fellow residents.

Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure, said: “In recent months we have seen an increase in the number of noise complaints from cockerels in residential areas compared to previous years.

“This type of noise has the potential to impact on the quality of life of our residents and enjoyment of their home, especially when a cockerel is crowing at daybreak and late in the evening and we have a duty to investigate all complaints of noise from premises. We would advise any resident if they are thinking of purchasing a cockerel to consider the local community, and the potential impact that noise may have on their neighbours.”

And advice from the Poultry Club to owners of misbehaving cockerels to appease neighbours, includes the suggestion that “a gift of a dozen eggs always goes down well.”

While many may think it is funny, noisy cockerels can cause misery for local residents, with victims often at a loss about how to tackle the problem.

But experts believe many of the difficulties can be avoided with a little careful planning.

Alison Thorpe, of the local charity Lucky Hens, who rescue ex-battery hens and hand them out in return for a small donation, said owners “should only hatch unless they know they are allowed to keep them.”

Alison told the Observer: “Millions of boys are minced or gassed at a day old in the egg industry as it is so why bring unwanted boys into the world?

“There’s so many being found dumped. We’ve taken in and found homes for some but it’s very hard because of the noise situation.

“There’s a lot of back yard breeding going on and schools hatching that are causing the problems.

“We only re-home ex commercial layers that have been stuck in cages for 12 months of their lives that will otherwise end up as pet

food.

“As for the poor boys that have been hatched; if they are put in a pet carrier overnight, one they can’t stand up in, that should stop them until its a decent time to let them out say 7am.”

Recipients of a noise complaint are subjected to different levels of assessment with the last resort being served with a noise abatement notice with the potential for further criminal proceedings.

Complainants are themselves called upon to be part of the early stages of the process as they are asked to complete a “noise diary” to help town hall officers to assess the claim.

Guidance for cockerel owners - passed on by the council from the Poultry Club - advises not to position poultry houses close to neighbouring properties or to keep cockerels locked up until after 8am in the morning.

It even suggests explaining the hobby to any complaining neighbours adding “a gift of a dozen eggs always goes down well.”

Adding: “If you are not going to breed from your birds you do not need to keep a cockerel.”