The Mysterious Wild Chickens that Roam Yuba City with Impunity

Photo via chickensofyubacity

If you’ve ever driven through the town of Yuba City along Highway 99 in Northern California, you may have noticed something strange. Located right in the heart of the town, you’ll likely witness a hoard of wild chickens roaming the car-laden streets. No, you aren’t seeing an anomaly. Those chickens have been there for decades.

These chickens are often seen in the parking lot of the IHOP restaurant, at the doorstep of the county visitors center, and even on Franklin Road. Despite their prevalence, the origin of these chickens remains a mystery.

According to Jessica Hougen, the curator of the Sutter Museum, which provides insight into Yuba City history, the origins of the chickens are unclear. While the chickens have become a staple in the city, their presence is not mentioned in historical records.

Hougen notes that there are various theories about the origin of the chickens. Some people believe that they escaped from a farmer’s coop, while others think that they are remnants of an old sale yard. The latter theory suggests that the chickens may have come from a livestock auction yard that was present in the neighborhood in the 1970s.

Today, Yuba City has several poultry-themed restaurants, and some may wonder whether the feral chicken population is related to them. However, Hougen doubts that this is the case. She jokes that the chickens roaming the streets are not the type that people typically eat nowadays.

Despite not knowing the origin of the chickens, Yuba City has embraced them as part of its culture. The city has even painted chicken murals around town. Whether residents love or hate them, the chickens have become a defining feature of Yuba City. In fact, there’s even an Instagram page highlighting their shenanigans around the town.

It’s worth noting that the presence of free-roaming chickens in urban areas is not unique to Yuba City. In cities around the world, including Honolulu and Paris, feral chicken populations exist. Often, these chickens are the descendants of birds that were once raised for food, but were released or escaped and subsequently established themselves as a wild population. In some cases, cities have attempted to manage or even eradicate feral chicken populations, while in others, they have been left to coexist with humans.

The presence of free-roaming chickens in Yuba City adds to the city’s charm and uniqueness. While the origin of the chickens remains a mystery, residents and visitors alike have come to accept and appreciate them as part of the local culture.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

42 Comments

  1. Yes the chickens did come from the stockyard, as a little boy we used to take cows to the stockyard for sale and mini chickens roamed throughout the property, when they close down the stockyard the chickens were never rounded up and ran free. I’ve lived here all my life and that is the correct statement about the chickens.

    1. You are correct! As a kid been there many times. The hawks keep them down some. Not many baby’s make it. But enough!

    2. I grew up in Sutter Country, also. The chickens are left over from the auction yard and small farmers in that area of Yuba City

  2. Even though as the AD states these are not the type of chickens we eat. Ok but some cultures do and if these are part of our city, community then they should be punished if doing so. Just saying ..

    1. Punished for catching and eating wild chickens? Considering theyre a public nuisance and cause damages to vehicles in most of our parking lots, id say someone eating them is doing the rest of us a favor.

    2. If the population of Chickens is left unchecked, in short order, you will have way too many chickens, There is a constant predation of the Chickens from both animals, and man, but the population keeps going up.

    3. The chickens are actually very good eating. You just need to follow this simple recipe. Find a big rock and boil the rock in a pot with a single chicken. Once the rock is soft, the chicken is ready to eat.

  3. I agree with David Sims. I too also went to the old auction yard with my Dad all the time. And the chickens were all over the place. So when the auction yard closed, the chickens just kept on roaming. They have always been here, so leave them alone. They are very self sufficient and don’t need anyone to take care of them. And stop trying to come up with other reasons for them being here. Anyone who is old enough KNOWS that they originated from the old Auction Yard.

  4. when I sold RE in the 90’s there was a vacated house near Franklin and Walton that had empty chicken coops and several chickens that were just running around, notified city but they didn’t do anything about them. These feral chickens could be from those.
    I believe that the city is trying to collect them and give to landowners that have large enough properties to take in.
    I don’t think anyone should be punished for the removal of these chickens. They are a pest to the properties surrounding this area. They are also a danger to drivers when they enter highway 99.

  5. I have seen them for decades. Every once in a while people go through and take a bunch. However they always bounce back. This year looks to be a huge year. I’m already seeing hens with lines of chicks following.

  6. Moved from Sacramento to this area a short time ago and have come enjoy watching and interacting with these often colorful birds. I think it’s pretty neat and hope they can continue roam with appreciation.

  7. Moved from Sacramento to this area a short time ago and have come enjoy watching and interacting with these often colorful birds. I think it’s pretty neat and hope they can continue roam with appreciation.

  8. CAN WE PLEASE GET RID OF THE ROOSTERS!?! These chickens are loud and noisy and invite other vermin and they are breeding out of control. Enough is enough.

  9. I don’t live in Yuba City any longer but I do visit it a lot and still have relatives who live there. I lived there in the late 60s, 70s & 80s and at that time, I do not remember there ever being any chickens. Neither does my siblings or my friends who have lived there for 50 + years. I first noticed all those chickens in the 2000s. I was kinda blown away when I was trying to get gas and all these chickens are running around. Then I saw them in parking lots, everywhere! One afternoon while getting my nails done, a chicken wondered in. Apparently, the chicken wanders into this nail salon several times a day, everyday. So they named him. Lol.

  10. I basically grew up in Yuba City, moving there in the late 60s and lived there until 1989 before moving away permently. I do have relatives that still reside there, along with a few lifetime friends. So I do go and visit occasionally. During the time I lived there, there were No wild chickens running around everywhere. None of my siblings remember any chickens either. First time i noticed them was when I was getting gas at a station near 99. Thought it was odd that a gas station had all these chickens. A few visits to YC after that, was when I noticed chickens in every parking lot! One afternoon, while having my nails done, a chicken wandered in. Apparently this chicken comes into the nail salon several times a day, everyday, so they named him. Lol

  11. I moved to Yuba City 2 years ago. My sister and I love those chickens. We even feed them. They are street wise as well I’ve only seen 1 or 2 of them ran over by cars.

  12. The town of Sonoma used to have chickens in the downtown area, which is centered around a large
    historic square. They were part of the charm of the city, very colorful, locals & tourists loved them, and there were many
    chicken-themed articles in the stores. 99% of them were completely harmless. Then one day, an aggressive
    rooster pecked a kid. He was probably habituated to tourists feeding him, and saw food in the kid’s hand.
    The town government decided to get rid of them all, instead of just the one aggressive rooster. The locals rallied and
    protested, using artwork and signs proclaiming “Save Our Peckers!!” Despite this, the chickens
    were removed. The town has never had the same charm.

  13. I enjoyed their company however it seems as though someone came through Marysville last night and wiped them all out.

  14. I’m no longer certain where you’re getting your
    info, however great topic. I must spend some time finding out more or figuring out more.
    Thanks for great info I used to be looking for this info for my mission.

  15. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this web site
    on regular basis to take updated from hottest news.

  16. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up
    losing a few months of hard work due to no backup.
    Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

  17. We stumbled over here from a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to
    looking at your web page for a second time.

  18. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to
    assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog
    posts. Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  19. Hi i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anyplace, when i read this paragraph i
    thought i could also make comment due to this
    brilliant paragraph.

  20. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and
    now each time a comment is added I get four emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Cheers!

  21. Awesome things here. I am very satisfied to look your
    post. Thanks so much and I am taking a look forward
    to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  22. I’m not positive the place you are getting your info, but good topic.
    I needs to spend a while finding out much more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my
    mission.

  23. Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there
    that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations?
    Many thanks!

  24. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea
    shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

  25. Pingback: URL
  26. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web
    site before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Regardless, I’m certainly happy I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  27. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home
    a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A great read.

    I’ll definitely be back.

  28. Spot on with this write-up, I honestly feel this website needs a great
    deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for
    the info!

  29. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog
    article or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and
    I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested
    feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Wonderful blog by the way!

  30. Pingback: view more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button