An Urban Coop Tour, Plus Other Assorted Cute Critters

Do you ever go on home or garden tours? I absolutely love them! Recently I was searching online and I stumbled across a tour that I never even knew existed, though it’s been going on in the metro Atlanta area for seven years. I emailed a friend to see if she wanted to go. This was not your average home/garden tour so I wasn’t sure if she would be game…no pun intended. 😉 She emailed back a quick, “Yes!” and was just as excited about going as I was.

On Sunday, March 29th, a beautiful sunshiny day, we headed out across Atlanta to tour 13 Chicken Coops, all part of the 2015 Urban Coop Tour. For those folks familiar with Atlanta, the coops were located in Decatur, East Atlanta, Edgewood area, the Old Fourth Ward and Grant Park. I think we made it through 8-9 of the coops–maybe more, I lost count.

UCT_8.5x11_poster

 

I’ve been working on this post for a few days. I know very little about chickens so one of the most time-consuming parts of putting this post together was trying to correctly name all the different types of chickens we saw on the tour. Some chickens, like Ameraucanas, come in lots of different colors, so it can be tricky identifying them for a newbie like me. One interesting thing we learned about Ameraucana chickens is you never know what color your chicken will be until the egg hatches.

I think I have most of them named correctly, however, if you are well-versed in all things “chicken” and you see one I’ve mislabeled, please let me know and I’ll correct it. Thanks for your help with that!

I’ll be sharing a mix of coops and chickens in this post. The coops and chickens do not appear in any particular order, so the chickens may or may not go with the coop, unless stated otherwise.

I’m going to start our Chicken Coop Tour off with one of the neatest coops we saw on the tour. It was built in an arched shape.

Chicken Coop in Arched Shape

 

As you can see, Captain, Junior, Fluffy and Chunk live here.

Coop Sweet Coop

 

Did you know you don’t have to have a rooster to get eggs? I had no idea, city girl that I am! In fact, most cities won’t allow you to have a rooster, I guess due all that crowing. Chickens lay eggs no matter if a rooster is around or not. They just obviously aren’t fertilized eggs.

See that funny little stick ladder over on the right? That’s how the chickens get to their roost area above when night falls.

Buff Orpington, Welsummer, Buff Orpington, and Plymouth Barred Rock Chickens

 

Another interesting thing we learned about chickens is when it starts to get dark, they will go inside the coop to the area where they roost all by themselves, but they don’t like to go there until it’s dark. One coop owner said trying to get chickens to go inside the roost area before nightime is like trying to herd cats. But if you go out once it starts getting dark and open the door to the roost area, they will willingly go right in.

The chickens below are a Buff Orpington and a Barred Plymouth Rock, often just called a Barred Rock.

Barred Plymouth Rock and Buff Orbington

 

The really cool thing about this coop is this little door. It’s remote-controlled. The owner said at night, she looks outside and if the chickens have gone inside to roost, she just presses a button on the remote and the door closes very, very slowly. So, if it’s raining, she doesn’t have to go down and close the door.

This coop also had a Dominique chicken and I think that’s her we see just inside, probably about to lay an egg. She looks like she’s saying, “Excuse me, can I have a little privacy here!”

Chicken Coop with Remote Controlled Door

 

The owner said the roost area is super easy to clean because the door on the back lowers for cleaning. The roost area doesn’t have to be very big because the chickens just sit on the bar at night close together for warmth.

Chicken Coop build in arch shape

 

I think this was the same house where we saw this awesome little egg rack called an Egg Skelter. We were told fresh eggs can last for a week or longer without refrigeration, as long as they’ve never been refrigerated. So an egg skelter helps to ensure you’re eating the oldest eggs first and not one that was just produced yesterday. Genius idea!

Egg Skelter Rack

 

I thought the eggs were so pretty, I took pictures wherever I saw them on display. Notice how some of the eggs are different colors. Some of the coops we visited had chickens called Easter Eggers. Easter Eggers can lay pretty colored eggs because they have the “blue egg” gene. Interesting, huh?

Eggs, Urban Coop Tour

 

If I understood correctly, I think a single Easter Egger chicken can lay several different colors. I love that! If I had a coop, I’d have to have at least one Easter Egger chicken.

Eggs from the Urban Coop Tour

 

On the table was also a bag of Oyster Shell, something chickens need in their diet in order to properly digest their food and to produce eggs with good, sturdy shells. The other things are treats, I guess. I bet they would love the live mealworms I buy for my birds.

Chicken Treats

 

Another coop…love the purple!

Chicken Coop Designs

 

All the coops we saw were so different from each other.

Chicken Coop on Urban Coop Tour

 

Another style coop…

Chicken Coop Designs

 

A cute sign on another coop…

Chicken Coop Sign on the Urban Coop Tour

 

All the coops had a place for the chickens to walk around and a place for them to hide away at night to roost, safe from predators.

Polish Crested Hen in Coop

 

This cute chicken is a Polish Crested.

Polish Crested Hen

 

Buff Orbington Chicken up close…

Buff Orbington Chicken

 

Buff Orbington Chicken

 

I believe the chicken we see in back is another Polish Crested called a Silver Laced Polish Crested. If you google those, they are really beautiful chickens. The lavender colored one up front is an Ameraucana. They are the ones that come in all colors and you don’t know what you have until it hatches.

Silver Laced Polish and Lavender Ameraucana Chickens

 

Below we see another lavender Ameraucana and either a Golden Laced Wyandotte or possibly an Easter Egger.

Lavender Ameraucana Chicken

 

The dark reddish chicken below is a Rhode Island Red. We saw a lot of Rhode Island Reds on the tour. The lighter, orangish-colored chicken is a Buff Orbington, I believe.

Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpington Chickens

 

Buffed Orpington Chickens Eating with a Rhode Island Red Chicken

 

Dominique chickens and Barred Plymouth Rock chickens look very much alike, except the Barred Rocks have a single comb where the Dominiques have what’s called, a Rose comb. It’s a much fuller looking comb, so I think this may be a Dominique chicken.

Dominique Chicken

 

Below we see a Rhode Island Red, a White Leghorn (just like the cartoon) and a Black Australorp

Rhode Island Red, White Leghorn and Black Austrlorp Chickens

 

I’m not sure what these guys are. They don’t look like Rhode Island Reds. The one on the left could be an Ameraucana or Golden Laced Wyandotte.

Easter Egger & Other Backyard Chickens

 

This beautiful girl is a Speckled Sussex Chicken. I just love her coloring!

Speckled Sussex Chicken

 

While on the tour we also saw a Honeybee box/hive. The bees were busy flying in and out.

Hone Bee Hive or Box

 

One coop owner had all rescue chickens (ex-battery chickens) and other rescued animals, including goats. I’m not sure what kind of goat this is but he seemed friendly.

Goat on Urban Coop Tour

 

This one was friendly, too. I fed him some greens from a bucket nearby.

Goat, Urban Coop Tour

 

“Got any more of that kale, Lady?”

Urban Coop Tour, Cute Rescue Goat

 

This little robin let us get pretty close to him. He’s doing his job, announcing spring is here!

Robin

 

One of the coop owners had a pot bellied pig. Meet Snoop Hoggy Hogg! 🙂

Pot Bellied Pig

 

I tried and tried to get Mr. Snoop Hoggy Hogg to look at me for a picture but he wasn’t cooperating too well. He was much more interested in belly rubs!

Snoop Hoggy Hogg, a Pot Bellied Pig

 

This was the best shot I could get. He was always on the move. 🙂

Snoop Hoggy Hogg, the Pot Bellied Pig

 

Okay, before I close this post, I have to share this Golden Laced Wyandotte taking a dirt bath. As you look at this sequence of pictures, notice how the head stays perfectly still while the back end is going to town, throwing dirt everywhere. It reminded me so much of THIS funny Mercedes commercial!

Golden Laced Wyandotte Chicken taking dirt bath

 

At one coop, the chickens were talking among themselves. I tried to capture a little in a video. Some folks were talking behind me and I couldn’t edit it out without editing out the chicken talk, too, so just ignore that part. 🙂

 

Have you ever kept chickens before? Did having fresh eggs on a daily basis make it worth the work of caring for them?

Pssst: The BNOTP newsletter, Postcards From The Porch, will be emailed out on Sunday. If you don’t currently receive the newsletter (it’s free!) and you would like to, you can subscribe HERE or via the gray subscribe box at the end of this post.

Do you remember Tonita’s adorable chicken coop? I loved the chicken-wire-designed wallpaper inside! Take a tour of Tonita’s sweet cottage and chicken coop in this post: A Dream Fairytale Cottage Comes To Life

Living a Fairytale Life In A Little Cottage Home




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Comments

  1. Wow Susan, this was a really interesting post!! I feel like I learned a lot about chickens! It’s really interesting to see how many people are keeping chickens now; I never would have thought it ten years ago. I think food has gotten so expensive, a lot of people want to learn to be more self-sufficient — what do you think? When we go to our local Dixie Classic Fair in October, we always visit the poultry exhibit — love seeing all those colorful birds. 🙂 I also love goats and pigs; they’re sooo cute, but not the best smelling of God’s creatures. 😉

    Thanks for sharing with us and have a great weekend!

    Hugs,

    Denise

    • I think also people like knowing what they are eating and how it raised. I’ve been listening to the book by Vani Hari called “The Food Babe Way” and it’s shocking some of the stuff that’s in the food we buy.
      Have a great weekend, Denise!

  2. How fun! A friend of mine who lives in the Raleigh, NC area told me a few months ago that in her area they have Urban Coop Tours…I had never heard of them until then!
    Thanks for sharing this!

    • This was the first I had heard of them, too. It’s really a great idea though, especially for folks who may be thinking of keeping chickens since they can learn a lot by seeing the other coops.

  3. I have chickens now and they are more than worth the little bit of work it takes. I know what they eat so I know how good their eggs are for me and my dogs. They are also great entertainment. I love having my girlz!

  4. Patty/NS says:

    Love your chicken coop tour, and the funny car video. The sounds they make together is so funny, always makes me smile. I so much want chickens but hubs has firmly put his foot down, no chickens! Maybe I can talk a friend into keeping them…

    • I love the sounds, too…I could have listen to them all day…murmuring as they went about their business. I love watching scratching for worms and such, too. They were really cute!

  5. Patty/NS says:

    Love your chicken coop tour, and the funny car video. The sounds they make together is so funny, always makes me smile. I so much want chickens but hubs has firmly put his foot down, no chickens! Maybe I can talk a friend into keeping them…

  6. Mary in Colorado says:

    Although this is my first comment ….I greatly enjoy you blog and appreciate
    all the very obvious work,effort and talent that goes into it on your part. It is
    always interesting(no matter what you are writing about)… Your tablescapes
    and porch in general are so well done…I love it all! Thankyou for all you do.

  7. Linda Page says:

    Although I don’t have chickens, I have friends that do and keep me supplied with fresh eggs. I have become spoiled! The eggs from one friend have yolks that are a bright yellow gold color, not the regular yellow…almost an orange. He said it’s because of the type of feed he gives them which is high quality protein feed. Also the eggs from his chickens are the jumbo size and always have beautiful brown shells. My other friend has Americauna hens that lay blue eggs. There is an art to raising chickens. Plus the fresh eggs taste so much better that those from a store. I may have to look into having a few chickens when I retire. That might be a fun hobby. I loved the commercial. This was a fun post.

  8. We keep chickens and I love to see the coops and housing others use for their chickens. Chickens are so easy to keep , they are entertaining, and fresh eggs are wonderful. ( Once you begin eating fresh eggs you won’t want the supermarket eggs anymore.) Since a rooster is unnecessary I think everyone with a small patch of land or backyard should keep at least 2. They are less trouble and mess than most dogs, cats, and exotic birds, and they eat the kitchen scraps and weeds you toss out .

    Loved this post !

  9. What fun Susan! Loved reading about your coop tour and all the chicken facts. I would love to have some chickens but sadly, it’s not permitted in our town. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I have a great fondness for chickens and people that raise them. When we were little we visited my Grandmother she would say if you are good you can help me gather eggs. We would clean out the waterer and refill it and fill the feeders and then we would gather the eggs. She would tell us to move gently so not to scare the chickens. My sister said when our Grandmother was not looking she would fluff her skirt of her dress at the chickens just to see them scatter.

  11. Sheila in Garden City, SC says:

    Susan, if anyone heard me laughing at 6:30 AM while drinking my coffee and enjoying your fun blog, they might think I’d flown MY coop! Several years ago when I saw that Williams Sonoma was selling beautiful chicken coops, I knew chickens had gone UPSCALE!

    • I had no idea they were selling chicken coops! Wow! I remember seeing one on another blog and it was super fancy…that was a few years ago. So, this seems to be a trend that is sticking around.

  12. Love all these chicken coops, along with their occupants. I’ve had a menagerie of pets over the course of many years. The chickens were actually regarded as loving and well loved pets; eggs were just icing on the cake for me. One of my chickens enjoyed riding in the car. She always new that a quick trip to the convenience store meant Doritos for her. She also enjoyed strolling along the ocean beach, and would happily greet anyone who was there, too.

    • Linda, that is the best story…I can just see your chicken now riding along in the car! That is too funny! Did she sit on the dash to see out? They do have personalities, don’t they?

  13. Peggy Thal says:

    Looks like you had a fun and unusual tour. The best part of a tour like that is you learn so much and see how it really is done. I think it would be fun to have a few chickens. They have such cute personalities. I had a baby chick for a week that my daughter had to take care of from High School. He was adorable and followed me around all day. I was getting too attached to him and very happy when he went back. That little chick probably became a rooster. Thanks for the interesting tour. What beautiful egg!

    • Oh, that’s so cute that he followed you around…love that! I’m afraid I’d get super attached, too. Apparently they live a nice long time.

  14. Chickens are easy to take care of and give so much in return. You might be interested in learning a few more facts about chickens.

    http://ginaceramics.blogspot.com/2013/01/lazy-chickens.html

  15. Back in the day, we always received colored chicks & colored ducks for Easter.As their feathers grew out they became white.We didn’t get attached to them because we knew they would eventually become fried chicken.However one year I did favor a runt, which we kept for several years. He would sit on a wooden embroidery hoop, and I would carry him everywhere in the yard.I called him “garbage pail”??? I was 5 or 6 yrs. old and don’t remember what happened to him.

  16. Thanks, you have brought back some of the good old days of my childhood

  17. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Mom had chickens once when i was little,but that has been a long time ago,but sometimes a wonder if it would be fun to keep a few,i live in town but i have heard you can have them for pets,if you don’t kill them to eat,no fear there, i wouldn’t nor couldn’t.

  18. What an entertaining and informative post! I loved every sentence and every picture. I’m going to look for a coop tour in my area!

  19. I enjoyed this post so much. I have wanted to have chickens and this inspires me to actually do it! Thanks for all the information and lovely photos.

  20. Susan, what a wonderfully fun and interesting post. Now I want to go on an urban coop tour! I wonder if they have them in Phoenix? :0) Thanks again for the delightful written and photographic content of BNOTP–you never fail to impress and entertain. BNOTP is hands-down my favorite of all blogs; visiting here is like taking a little vacation every day. Have a wonderful weekend.

  21. Christine Anderson says:

    Love this post! we do have chickens and have for about 15 years. They sort of come and go as they live about 10 years. We learned many lessons the hard way but we love them and the constant availability of fresh eggs. We only have 3 at the moment: a yellow leg horn – lays white eggs, 2 Aericauna( never saw it with an M) they lay varying shades of green or blue. Aericauna originally are from South America. Now that it is just the 2 of us we have all the eggs we need and sometimes give them away.
    They are relatively easy to care for and are wonderful for there soft clucking sounds and eggs. They will eat about anything so are great to feed table scraps. If going to Chinese or Mexican they love any leftover rice!!
    My husband refers to them as his Girls!

    Thanks again from So California

    • It sounds like so much fun, keeping chickens! I was wondering, since they get shut away at night for safe keeping, do folks have to get up really early to let them out? I’m not much of morning person, tend to work late at night, so not sure I’d like getting up with the proverbial chickens each day. lol
      Christine, you can read a bit more about Ameraucana chickens here: http://www.ameraucana.org/faq.html
      The first of the FAQ at that link is “What are the major differences between Ameraucana and Araucan chickens, so that may help explain the difference.

      • Christine Anderson says:

        Thank you for clearing this up! We do have Aericaunas. We let ours roam freely in and out of their nest area. We have an old Chain link dog run covered in Chicken wire against predator Hawks which we see often. They
        afre seldom out of the enclosure. We go in for feeding and cleaning and egg gathering !

  22. I had no idea coops could be so varied and so cute. Thanks for broadening my world, again!

  23. Love chickens, and yes we have four chickens. This chicken adventure started out for the grandchildren that begged their Papa to get some chickens. It’s been a year now and we have received many beautiful brown eggs that make delicious cakes. However, the “newness” of the chickens has worn off so guess who takes care of them now….:)

  24. I went on a tour in Raleigh, NC a few years back. It was the annual “Tour De Coup” otherwise known as “Henside the Beltway”. They’ve been doing their tours for several years. The creativity of chicken keeping is pretty amazing! Thanks for sharing your photos-they are great!

  25. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Here near St. Louis, the controversy is arguing about keeping chickens. Apparently the “haters” state that they will draw rats and other vermin, so they don’t want them allowed. We live in a semi-rural area, and have a home about a mile away that sells eggs from their hens. They have been attacked by foxes, wolves, raccoons and hawks. The owner is about to give up I hear, due to the losses of the chickens. I haven’t brought his, I’m allergic to eggs, so only have them mixed with recipes for cakes, etc. Hubby said they were too pricy at $3 a dozen, but I would pay that for freshness and taste if I could eat them fried in a bit of bacon fat! 😉 YUM! I remember that from before allergies!

  26. Hi Susan,

    I REALLY enjoyed this. We use to have 12 chickens. They are wonderful pets. We would go into the yard and just watch chicken TV. They are so entertaining. They also get very attached to humans, if they are handled a lot. Thanks for this post. I really had fun seeing these and remembering our chickens.

  27. Renee Cook says:

    I have just now had a chance to read this post and enjoyed it so much! I have been interested in raising chickens, but just haven’t taken the plunge. There is nothing like fresh well-fed chicken eggs. Fortunately, I live near Jaemor in Commerce and am able to get good eggs there. A few weeks ago, we visited LoganBerry Heritage Farm in Cleveland and bought some excellent eggs there. Thanks for sharing. Maybe I’ll even do it myself one day!

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