Californians Rise Up to Keep Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) in the Backyard. But NO Roosters!

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Yes on Measure M Campaign Sign in City of Yreka

Unease spreads across the land as a $15.7 trillion national debt balloons relentlessly…chaos lurks behind the decaying borders of the Eurozone…another round of bank collapses looms like thunderheads on the horizon…homeowners hoard gold, guns, and toilet paper…

In times such as these, citizens wary of social unrest turn to the hope of backyard chickens for a steady supply of eggs.

For less ominous reasons, people are raising backyard chickens so they know the source of their food. And kids in 4-H clubs and homeschooling kids are keeping backyard chickens as an educational exercise and a way to learn responsibility. In fact, I would suggest that backyard chickens are becoming a bit too trendy. (For more information about raising backyard chickens, go to

But wait: government stands in the way again! People have been fighting for their right for backyard chickens in residential neighborhoods of various California cities, with recent high-profile successes in the City of Sacramento and City of San Diego and new local movements springing up weekly.

According to the University of California’s California Agricultural Tourism Directory, “raising chickens is rewarding” and “among the California cities that permit backyard chickens are San Francisco, Anaheim, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield and San Diego. Last summer, the Sacramento City Council passed an ordinance that allows citizens to raise up to three chickens in their backyards.” But be warned about the authoritarian whims of government: “Before bringing home chickens, check to see whether they are permitted under local ordinances where you live.”

In one California city, the PEOPLE will decide tomorrow (June 5, 2012) about backyard chickens.

Voters in the City of Yreka (in far northern Siskiyou County, California, near the Oregon border) will vote on a ballot proposition (Measure M) that allows residents to keep up to six chickens in their backyards after acquiring a free city permit. After months of community controversy and a 2-2 deadlocked vote on October 6, 2011 (one city council member was absent), the Yreka City Council voted 4-1 on December 15, 2011 to put it on the June ballot. (Looks like one city council member voted NO because he didn’t want to spend taxpayer money on a ballot measure and felt the council should have resolved the issue.)


Yreka City Council Talks Chickens – Siskiyou Daily – April 11, 2011

Hen Debate Back On – Siskiyou Daily – November 17, 2011

Hen Measure Set for June Ballot – Siskiyou Daily – December 19, 2011

The Yes on Measure M campaign has a Facebook page:

Yreka City Chickens

But be warned: few cities allow backyard roosters, for obvious reasons.

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