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Why did the chicken cross the road? It's an age-old question. If you are in Sutter County, the question gets asked a lot. And in Yuba City, chickens rule the road!
On any given day, you are almost guaranteed to see rooster or hens running amok in the parking lot of IHOP. The birds have left their mark on the doorstep of the county visitors center and made nests along Franklin Road. Some say the city has a chicken problem, but the origin of the chickens is not clear.
Sutter Museum curator Jessica Hougen can tell you a lot about Yuba City History. Unfortunately, historical record left out the chickens.
"Oh, the chickens are a staple in Yuba City and everyone asks about them, but we can't confirm exactly where they came from," Hougen said.
There are many theories on the birth place of the chickens. Some believe they were escapees from a farmer coop. Others believe the chickens are remnants of an old sale yard.
"A lot of people heard they came from a livestock auction yard that was in [the] neighborhood for a long time," Hougen said.
Back in the 1970's, the livestock yard is where chickens were sold. Today, Yuba City gets its chickens from a variety of poultry-themed restaurants. An unofficial count on Google Maps reveals at least a dozen different chicken eateries.
Some may question if the feral chicken population is connected to the restaurants, but Hougen doubts that.
"Uh, I don't know... that’s funny, but I don't think so," Hougen joked. "These chickens are not [the] type most of you eat these days."
Instead of trying to solve the chicken mystery, Yuba city has embraced them. They even painted chicken murals around town. Love them or hate them they are a part of Yuba City.
If you have a Yuba City Chicken theory be sure to leave us a comment. Continue the conversation with John on Facebook.