Citizens petition to allow chickens in Auxvasse

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AUXVASSE - In a town of 983, a few people are looking to add to Auxvasse's population, by adding chickens.

Jessica Hooks, Christy Fasching and Fancy Gathright started a petition to change the city ordinance in Auxvasse to allow citizens to keep chickens in their backyards.

"My thought is, it's Auxvasse. We're a farming community. Most people can look out their backyard and see a cornfield or something like that, and I just think it's just, like I said, it's sacrilege," Hooks said. "We're Auxvasse. Everyone here is a farmer or has been or knows somebody who is."

The women presented their petition at the Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night. Hooks said she was impressed with the support from the community.

"We got over 80 [signatures], and that was just us girls walking the streets and people coming to us and saying, 'can I sign your petition?' So that was kind of nice," she said.

Right now, the city doesn't allow any chickens, but the petition asks the city to adopt an ordinance similar to Columbia's, which classifies up to six laying hens as pets.

The Auxvasse petition asked the city to clarify the ordinance to allow up to six or eight hens and no roosters in the backyards of homes. The petition said any eggs produced would be used by the owners only and not to sell.

The petition said allowing people to raise chickens would encourage local sustainable living and provide kids with educational opportunities.

"We have a huge FFA program in the high school," Hooks said. "Right now, only the kids kind of out in the country can do things for that. In town, you can raise a pumpkin or a tomato, but we could get work ethic. Kids could have the ability to raise something and be proud of it."

Fulton allows up to 10 chickens, and roosters are allowed as long as they don't become a public nuisance. There is no limit on the number of chickens or roosters in Jefferson City as long as they do not become a nuisance. Both Columbia and Springfield allow six chickens and no roosters.

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