Resident of the Third Street Coop and neighbor of the J Street Co-op

Chickens can be found throughout Davis; a lot of people keep them in their backyards. There used to be a chicken running around loose in the 7th & F Street area, but she may have been hit by a car, eaten, or recaptured, as she hasn't made an appearance since September 2004. Two roosters have been spotted multiple times during 2006 and 2007 wandering in front of the Bargain Barn and Fleet Services. A growing flock makes it's home where Solano Park meets the Arboretum. There is a hen that hangs around the courtyard of Everson Hall; apparently she has lived there for years.

It is legal to keep up to six hens on private property in Davis. However, roosters are illegal for noise issues. The Domes has a chicken named Chamomile. Higby's in Dixon sells chicks in the spring/summer for about $2 each. They order from Ideal Poultry, and will special order any breed Ideal sells (no minimum) for you when they place their weekly orders.

If you have the unfortunate experience of a backyard chicken dying, the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System at UC Davis will perform a necropsy of the bird free of charge.

The Experimental College Community Garden encourages gardeners to keep chickens at the garden. The birds are cooped and cared for privately in individual gardeners' plots, and there's considerable oversight, but more than a few EC Gardeners have kept flocks successfully, beginning in late 2006. Sometimes the birds are ranged on weed control projects. Most recently, an EC Gardener constructed small chicken tractors for use in a Bermuda grass eradication project at the garden. Check out the EC Garden's Wiki page and read the Small Fowl and Rabbits clause in the contract, then email the Coordinator to schedule a tour today.

UC Davis Geneticists recently sequenced the chicken genome. UC Davis has an Avian Sciences program.

If you have an exceptional love of chickens, bicycling, or both you can participate in the Tour de Cluck!

If you really need a chicken fix of another sort, you can find tasty examples at various restaurants around town, including KFC. An alternative to chicken is tofu or Quorn nuggets.

To learn about other fauna that roam the streets of Davis, check out our Town Wildlife, or for the fenced in or caged animals, see our Domesticated Animals!

Somewhat Interesting Chicken Factoids

Crowing rooster at the Davis Experimental Farm, Picture by MatthewTom Dagon's backyard chicken coop built from totally recycled materials

  • Fair Oaks, California, has had free-roaming chickens in its old city center for decades. Old Fair Oaks Village, a small town near Sunrise Bridge spanning the American River, has even been immortalized for its chicken fetish in a song. Slocum House, a restaurant inside the village, is famous for its little chickens running around on the patio where you eat.
  • Chickens apparently don't necessarily need a head to survive... Fruita, Colorado was home to Mike the Headless Chicken, whose image is enshrined in a large statue in the town square. Poor Mike was going to be dinner, but Farmer Olsen cut off his head just above the brain stem and the hatchet just missed his jugular — Mike lived for 18 months beyond dinner and was fed by the guilt-ridden, but suddenly famous farmer using a dropper.
    • sorry, I don't buy that. A chicken most assuredly needs a head. - EfremRensi
    • Perhaps this would change your mind: Headless Mike
  • PBS produced a hugely entertaining video all about chickens called The Natural History of the Chicken. The piece doesn't take any political stances, but addresses amazing chickens, chicken production, crazy chicken people, and even raising fighting cocks (no jokes!). Oh, Mike's in the video as well.
  • The State of California maintains sentinel flocks of chickens throughout the state as an early warning system for vector-borne disease outbreaks.

Chicken Music

Hen at the Davis Experimental Farm, Picture by MatthewTom Chicken You Can’t Roost Too High for Me (written & recorded by Frank Stokes)

Chicken, chicken, you can’t roost too high for me

Chicken, chicken, come down out of your tree

Chicken, chicken, chicken, you can’t roost too high for me

C... in a chicken coup

H... to make a better hen

I... am a Bird

C... as the rooster’s crows

K... is the killing word

E... I’m near the end

C - H - I - C - K - E - N

That’s the way you spell chicken.


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2009-09-06 15:19:34   Anyone know whose chickens are running around 5th and F? There's a mom and three chicks. —ZN

2009-09-07 11:58:33   My husband almost got hit by a bus trying to avoid that chicken while biking and when my mom came to visit, she was just amazed that chickens wandered around the city. 5th and F chicken- you are my favorite. —EricaMacGregor

2010-02-13 22:40:55   I think that flock by Solano Park and the Arboretum came from the farm land on the other side of the tracks. They're cagey little fowl, and totally safe in a thick web of bushes. Curiously quiet too. That was in mid-2008. —TimQuick

2011-06-05 10:35:27   I loved having chickens; they're such cool little animals and so friendly if you hand-raise them correctly. However, to those of you in the city of Davis that have noisy ones - PLEASE have a little respect for your neighbors who might work odd hours in the medical field and get rid of them!! Not all the chickens, just the ones that cluck nonstop for 2-3 hours early in the morning. There are always people living out of town who are willing to take them. —mooodavis