Urban Chickens

Springfield residents are allowed to keep a limited number of chickens on their property, provided they follow a few basic rules.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is responsible for enforcing sections of Springfield's urban chicken ordinance related to the animals themselves, including the number of birds, at-large animals, odors and abuse or neglect. The City’s Building Development Services Department is responsible for enforcing requirements for chicken enclosures and distances. BDS also will investigate reports of roosters or other fowl. The number to call for complaints is the City’s main service request line at (417) 864-1010.

Springfield's urban chicken ordinance contains the following rules and requirements:
  • Six hens is the maximum number allowed per tract of land regardless of the number of dwelling units. 
  • No roosters. 
  • No breeding or fertilizer production for commercial purposes. 
  • No at-large (free roaming) chickens allowed. Must be kept in an enclosure or fenced area at all times. Chickens shall be secured in a henhouse or chicken tractor during non-daylight hours. 
  • Enclosures must be kept in a clean, dry, odor-free, neat and sanitary condition at all times so as not to cause odor or noise problems with neighbors. Enforcement is complaint-based. 
  • Enclosures must be located no closer than three feet from property line and at least 25 feet from another residence or business. Enclosures must provide adequate ventilation and adequate sun and shade and must be impermeable to rodents, wild birds and predators, including dogs and cats. 
  • Enclosures shall only be located to the rear of the dwelling or other main structure and may be located in the rear yard as required by the zoning code. 
  • The chicken owner shall take necessary action to reduce the attraction of predators and rodents and the potential infestation of insects and parasites. 
  • Chickens found to be infested with insects and parasites that may result in unhealthy conditions to human habitation may be removed by an animal control officer. 
  • The chicken owner must provide for the storage and removal of chicken manure. All stored manure shall be covered by a fully enclosed structure with a roof or lid over the entire structure. No more than three cubic feet of manure shall be stored. All other manure not used for composting or fertilizing shall be removed.
Salmonella & Safe Health Practices
It’s common for chickens, ducks, and other poultry to carry Salmonella, a germ that naturally lives in the intestines of many animals and is shed in droppings or feces. Live poultry may have Salmonella germs on their bodies (including feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean. The germs can also get on cages, coops, hay, plants, and soil in the area where the birds live and roam. Additionally, the germs can be found on the hands, shoes, and clothing of those who handle the birds, or work or play where they live and roam.

Symptoms of Salmonella may include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and/or abdominal cramps. Severe infections can lead to hospitalization. Infants, elderly persons, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and because they are more likely to put their fingers or other items into their mouths.

  • Do not let children younger than 5 years of age handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry without supervision. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Avoid touching your mouth before washing your hands. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. 
  • Adults should supervise hand washing for young children. 
  • Wash hands after removing soiled clothes and shoes. 
  • Do not eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam. 
  • Do not let live poultry inside the house or in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, pantries, or outdoor patios. 
  • If you have free-roaming live poultry, assume that where they live and roam is contaminated. 
  • Clean equipment and materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry, such as cages, feed containers, and water containers, outside the house, not inside.