Item Coversheet

W. Eric Cunningham, City Attorney

Cape Girardeau City Council


An Ordinance Amending Chapter 6 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Relating to Chickens in the City Limits and Other Animal Regulations.


This proposed Ordinance would enact regulations to allow the keeping of chickens in the city limits, and reorganize other provisions of Chapter 6 based on that amendment.

In 2010, the City Council considered an ordinance that would have allowed chickens to be kept in residential areas and in other locations in the City of Cape Girardeau. That proposed ordinance was patterned after the ordinance in effect in Columbia, Missouri. After hearing arguments from both proponents and opponents, on November 15, 2010, the City Council voted 4-3 to retain the City's ban on keeping chickens in the city limits.

On December 5, 2016, a group of citizens again requested the City Council to make a change to allow the keeping of chickens. In response to their request, the City Council directed Staff to prepare this matter for discussion at a future Council Meeting. Accordingly, a proposed ordinance to accomplish this purpose is attached to this Memorandum for your review.

The attached proposal is the same ordinance which was considered in 2010, due to the fact that it contains the same provisions contained in the Columbia ordinance requested by the group of citizens.

Several differences and other issues concerning this proposal for the Council to consider include:
  1. This proposal would permit six (6) chickens as stated in the Columbia ordinance, instead of ten (10) chickens as would have been allowed in the 2010 proposal.
  2. This proposal would make it unlawful to raise chickens for slaughter. That issue is not addressed in the Columbia ordinance.
  3. This proposal would also eliminate the prohibitions of keeping chickens contained in other provisions of Chapter 6 of the Cape Girardeau City Code, and re-organize those sections to more appropriate locations in Chapter 6.
  4. Neither the 2010 proposal nor the Columbia ordinance contain a clear prohibition on allowing chickens to run at large.
  5. Neither the 2010 proposal nor the Columbia ordinance required the clipping of a wing or wings to remove the chickens' ability to fly.
  6. The 2010 proposal contained a requirement for a person keeping chickens to annually register with the City Clerk his name, address, and number of chickens. No registration requirement is contained in the Columbia ordinance. That provision, however, has been removed from the attached proposal.


Ordinance-Chickens_2016.docDraft Ordinance
CHICKEN_TRACTOR_201612131110.pdfDefinition-Chicken Tractor