I want to get some chickens for my backyard.

dominiquer(8)February 21, 2008

I live in Santa Rosa Ca, in what would probably be considered a residential neighborhood. I have a fully fenced back yard, that I am growing veggies in raised beds, and various assorted other plants. My neighbors are all VERY tolerant, and do not complain about anything... they all make much more noise than I do, and are outside all day in the summer time with loud 'oom pa pa' music from about 7:30 am til dark. Lots of loose kids, dogs, and garden plots in many yards. The people across the street have a herd of rabbits that are often loose in the neighborhood. My yard is approx 30'x25', and a long stretch of sidewalk to the gate. Oh, and I rent, but my landlord loves me and lets me do whatever I want here, because of all the improvements I have made to the property. There are people down the road who keep chickens, goats, horses, but they are a bit more rural residential than I am, and certainly have bigger yards. I cannot seem to find the zoning laws for my area, does anyone know of a free way to look those up? Also, is it practical to think about having chickens here? I am thinking 2 silkies, free range with a chicken tractor for sleeping in/ protection. I have 3 small cairn terrier dogs who will and do keep any other critters out of the yard, they have "treed" an oppossum several times now. They are pretty tolerant of any animal they view as "mine" but everything else better stay outta their yard... no rodents here:)Any advice?

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vinnyc(7 LINY)

You have plenty of room, but the dogs will definitely kill the chickens. Maybe not immediately, but it will happen.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 3:37PM
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Silkies would be a good choice because they don't fly or roost so won't end up in your neighbors yards.
The down side of that is that they can't get away from predators. They will need something solid to protect them from possum and such.
Silkies always remind me of little poodles when they are out running around...lol.
You will have to supervise the dogs with the silkies. They can be good for a long time....then something will excite them and you better be right there to call them off.
Sounds like a great neighborhood!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 5:20PM
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We have free-ranged our chickens for three years now without any problems with predators. We do have roosters in our flock and that helps, I'm sure. I haven't seen where possums ever bother grown chickens and we find them in the coop every now and then. Ours are locked up at night only.

With dogs, as long as they are fully aware that the chickens are part of their family, I don't think you would have to worry about predators at all even without a rooster. We don't have a dog but do have two cats that keep rodents out of the coops.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 5:37PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I was able to find the City of Santa Rosa's zoning codes here:


You want section 4, page 17. It basically states that you can have up to 25 chickens on a certain sized lot, and does not specifically exclude roosters--but that online code is dated 2004-2005, so it may have changed--call the City's zoning department and check for sure. Usually chickens/roosters are a noise nuisance and that's what they fall under for most cities' zoning codes.

As has been said, FENCE AND COOP your birds very securely. Loose dogs WILL kill your birds rather sooner than later. Do not EVER use chicken wire/poultry netting, it's way too flimsy. I use welded wire hardware cloth and have never lost a bird or had to repair the wire in the 13 years here.

With roosters, the big issue is not daytime noise, but that 4:30AM crowing that is the deal killer for the neighbors. If you do keep a roo, make sure he is securely cooped at night in an enclosed area that deadens the sound, you and your neighbors will be happier. Hens are quiet at night, but do cackle when laying an egg.

You MUST keep your birds in a secure coop at night, one that has a floor. The tractor is great for daytime, but predators can and will dig under wire at night. There's nothing more heartbreaking than coming out to a massacre in the morning and knowing you could have prevented it--we've read numerous stories to that effect here. You'll become very attached to your birds. :) Especially Silkies! Silkies are small, docile, calm and sweet. I currently have two Silkies hens in my flock. But be aware that your terriers may not be able to overcome instinct (you know your dogs better than anyone) and Silkies tend to not see too well because of their crests, and can be easy prey. I'd keep chickens and dogs separated to eliminate any possible problems.

We have possums here, and they are nasty nighttime predators. They killed one of my hens one night when we got home a bit late and hadn't closed the coop door before dusk. :( Our birds free range in the backyard during the day, and are cooped at night. Our yard is surrounded by a cinderblock fence.

You're going to love keeping chickens. :) It's a blast, very entertaining. Plus nothing beats spending time petting a chicken, it's an instant stress reducer. Chickens have loads of personality and make great pets, which comes as a big surprise to most people who tend to think of them as dumb animals. I have a chicken info site here that might help:


I'm in the suburban Los Angeles area and also rent, the neighbor kids call our house a 'farm' just because we have chickens!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 11:33PM
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I also wish to have 4-5 chickens in the backyard, and have read a lot online (thanks everyone for posting on the topic, especially Velvet. I feel much more confident now). I would like to hear your suggestions about my plan.

I am considering the following breeds to get started:

1. Delaware
2. Buff Orpingtons
3. Barred Rocks
4. Australorps
5. Wyandottes

Our criteria are:

1. docile, calm and friendly (I have a 6 year old daughter and another boy coming this summer).
2. good egg layers (prefer brown egg, but will take white). I was leaning towards Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns earlier, but after some more reading I start to worry about handling them.

I will build an elevated 4'X4' coop, with 4'X8' or 4'X10' attached pen in a chicken tractor setup.

thanks in advance. any suggestions or comments appreciated.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 1:09PM
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presmudjo(z9 Osceola FL)

You could always call zoning and pretend you are from out of the area and interested in buying a house in your area. Any for sale signs around, use that address. Then ask your questions about animals. I say that because I don't trust any county or local government offices. Somebody could jot down your address for brownie points if what you want is not covered in zoning. Then your neighbors may end up having to get ride of their animals too. Sounds like you have a great neighborhood. I have a great neighborhood too, but know some of these critters around here are not allowed and I don't want zoning nosing around and my neighbors having to get rid of their animals. It is a sad truth, but it only take one nosey body to ruin everything. I hope it all works out and you can get your chickens home and happy!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:01PM
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ltnunes(9 CA)

Backyard chickens are wonderful. I also live in Northern California - across the bay from San Francisco. Our two Gingernut Rangers (cross between Rhode Island Red and Sussex) are great). We have modified free-ranging to make it so they have their part of the yard and we have a vegetable garden and landscaped areas that aren't trashed by scratchy feet and pecky beaks.
With your terriers, you will have to make some accommodations to make is so the dogs can't snack on your hens. There are ways to introduce the dogs and train them that the hens are off limits. Would be very happy to talk with you future if you'd like.
BTW - hens are just fine in Santa Rosa...as others posted; it's roosters that are the issue. It's a good idea to get pullets so you know which sex you're getting.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 12:57PM
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I am considering the following breeds to get started:

1. Delaware
2. Buff Orpingtons
3. Barred Rocks
4. Australorps
5. Wyandottes

Our criteria are:

1. docile, calm and friendly (I have a 6 year old daughter and another boy coming this summer).
2. good egg layers (prefer brown egg, but will take white). I was leaning towards Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns earlier, but after some more reading I start to worry about handling them.


We have 3 barred rocks and 1 buff orp. Interesting enough, the Buff that we took in at age 1 is more docile and less skittish than the 3 PBRs we raised from 7 days. Maybe my 3 kids traumatized the PBRs :-)

My dog does great with our chickens, but I wouldn't trust my neighbors' dogs for nothing.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 9:34AM
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