Can you have Backyard Chickens in Missouri?


In Missouri backyard chicken laws are decided on a city or county level. Below is a list some of the most populous cities in the ‘Show Me State’ and the backyard chicken laws that they have. These cities include:

  • Kansas City
  • Springfield
  • Lee’s Summit
  • Columbia

Kansas City

The city’s code of ordinances stipulates that for most people they cannot have more than 15 chickens in their backyard. Below is an extract from the code the goes into the rules around backyard chicken ownership in detail:

Number of animals or fowl; keeping of roosters. Except where fowl, rabbits or other small animals are kept for sale within a bona fide produce market, commission house or store for the purpose of trade and while so kept are confined in small coops, boxes or cages, or where such animals or fowl are kept for purposes of research in a laboratory, or in areas zoned for agricultural use, it shall be unlawful for any person to keep or maintain, within 100 feet of the nearest portion of any residence or dwelling except for a dwelling occupied by the owner or keeper of such animals, more than 15 chickens or other domestic fowl four months or more of age or more than 50 chicks or other domestic fowl under four months of age, or more than ten rabbits or other small animals over the age of four months, or more than 25 rabbits or other small animals under the age of four months. No rooster which crows shall be kept within 300 feet of any residence or dwelling except that of the owner or keeper.’

The full code of ordinances for the city of Kansas City, MO can be found at this link.

Springfield

A few of the notable rules around backyard chicken ownership in the city are below. They were derived from the city’s code:

(b) Keeping of six or less chickens.

(1) The maximum number of chickens allowed is six per tract of land regardless of how many dwelling units are on the tract.

(2) Only female chickens shall be allowed. There shall be no restriction on chicken breeds.

(3) It shall be unlawful to engage in chicken breeding or fertilizer production for commercial purposes.

(4) Slaughter may occur for personal use provided that it is conducted in a sanitary manner, does not generate noise that creates a nuisance, and is not visible from adjacent properties or any public area or right-of-way.

(5) Chickens shall be kept in a secured enclosure or fenced area at all times. Chickens shall be secured within a henhouse or chicken tractor during non-daylight hours.

(6) Enclosures shall be kept in a clean, dry, odor-free, neat, and sanitary condition at all times.

(7) Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens shall provide adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade and shall be impermeable to rodents, wild birds, and predators, including dogs and cats.

(8) Henhouses and chicken tractors shall be designed to provide safe and healthy living conditions for the chickens while minimizing adverse impacts to other residents in the neighborhood.

  • a. A henhouse or chicken tractor shall be enclosed on all sides and shall have a roof and doors. Access doors shall be able to be shut and locked at night. Openings, windows, and vents shall be covered with predator and bird proof wire of less than one-inch openings.
  • b. Henhouses, chicken tractors, and chicken pens shall only be located to the defined rear of the property as required by the zoning code.
  • c. Henhouses, chicken tractors, and chicken pens shall be located at least three feet from the property line and at least 25 feet from any adjacent residential dwelling, church, school, or place of business.

The rest of the rules outlined in relation to backyard chicken ownership can be found here in the code of the city of Springfield.

Lee’s Summit

Some of the regulations around backyard chicken ownership in Lee’s Summit are below in an extract from the city’s code:

Sec. 5-200. – Number and type of chickens allowed.

A. The maximum number of chickens allowed is six (6) per tract of land regardless of how many dwelling units are on the track.

B. Only female chickens are allowed. There is no restriction on the chicken species, as defined in Section 5-2.

C.  Subparts A. and B. of this subsection shall not apply when the chicken(s) kept are four hundred (400) feet or more form the residence of any other inhabitant.‘

To examine more of the rules surrounding backyard chicken here go to the Lee’s Summit city’s code of ordinances here.

Columbia

Below is an extract from the Columbia city’s code. It discusses some of the rules around backyard chicken ownership in detail:

‘Sec. 5-91. – Number and type of chickens allowed.

(a) The maximum number of chickens allowed is six (6) per tract of land regardless of how many dwelling units are on the tract.

(b) Only female chickens are allowed. There is no restriction on chicken species.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any chickens kept as part of an educational course by public and private schools and educational institutions with fifty (50) or more students when the chickens are kept on school property that is one-half (½) acre or more in size.

(Ord. No. 20549, § 1, 2-1-10; Ord. No. 23840 , § 1, 4-15-19)

Sec. 5-92. – Noncommercial use only.

It shall be unlawful to engage in chicken breeding or fertilizer production for commercial purposes.

(Ord. No. 20549, § 1, 2-1-10)

Sec. 5-93. – Enclosures.

(a) Chickens must be kept in an enclosure or fenced area at all times. Chickens shall be secured within a henhouse or chicken tractor during non-daylight hours.

(b) Enclosures must be kept in a clean, dry, odor-free, neat and sanitary condition at all times.

(c) Henhouses, chicken tractors and chicken pens must provide adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade and must be impermeable to rodents, wild birds and predators, including dogs and cats.’

The full code of ordinances for the city of Kansas City, MO can be found at this link.

Conclusion on Missouri Backyard Chicken Laws

Different rules apply to different cities in Missouri. People can have up to six backyard chickens in Columbia, Lee’s Summit and Springfield. In Kansas City the number of backyard chickens allowed rises to 15.

To find out more about backyard chicken laws in cities that weren’t mentioned above, make sure to contact the city in question directly.

***
This article is written for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Sources:

  • Kansas City (MO), Code of Ordinances § 14-15 (2020)
  • Springfield (MO), Code of Ordinances § 18-24 (2020)
  • Lee’s Summit, Code of Ordinances § 5-200 (2019)
  • Columbia (MO), Code of Ordinances § 5-91, § 5-92, § 5-93 (2020)

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