I am so so new at this. First off how do I find out the rules of chicken in the city of Castro Valley. I couldn;t find the city in the list. I know it is unincorporated so perhaps that is why...nonetheless does anyone know? I am renting a house on a horse ranch off of Crow Canyon Rd. We are a large family (9 people total, 7 kids) and of course finances are tight so we are trying to lower our grocery bills. We are considering raising chickens for the eggs. I am not sure I can stomach killing them yet. My kids eat a ton of eggs anyways. How many would I need to start out with? I am not so thrilled about the idea of having a rooster so close to the house. There is a rooster someone on this ranch as I have heard it crowing in the morning, at night, in the afternoon-that thing crows all the time. Would having a rooster somewhere on the ranch count or would I actually need a rooster to live with my brood to keep my hens acting like hens. Anyways, we are renting a house out with a fairly large dog run. We went to convert the dog run into a chicken run (we are not allowed to have a dog) and place a coop in it. Would this work. The dog run does not have a roof on it. Planning to chicken wire the top to make a roof. I dont know a thing about incubating the eggs and worried about starting a fire with a heat lamp. I guess we would have to place the chickens in the laundry room for awhile. I have kids with severe allergies to cats, dogs, etc and have asthma ...would they be allergic to chickens too? I just want to know in case they want to pet them eventually. For now the eggs and chicks would be in laundry room until we can get the outside area setup. It gets pretty cold up here in the canyon. How do I keep them warm during the winter? I am planning to go to Alamo Hay and Grain to see what I can get there in terms of supplies etc. Thanks so much in advance for your help and encouragement.