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.
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.
As you can see, Captain, Junior, Fluffy and Chunk live here.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
Another coop…love the purple!
All the coops we saw were so different from each other.
Another style coop…
A cute sign on another coop…
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.
This cute chicken is a Polish Crested.
Buff Orbington Chicken up close…
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.
Below we see another lavender Ameraucana and either a Golden Laced Wyandotte or possibly an Easter Egger.
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.
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.
Below we see a Rhode Island Red, a White Leghorn (just like the cartoon) and a Black Australorp
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.
This beautiful girl is a Speckled Sussex Chicken. I just love her coloring!
While on the tour we also saw a Honeybee box/hive. The bees were busy flying in and out.
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.
This one was friendly, too. I fed him some greens from a bucket nearby.
“Got any more of that kale, Lady?”
This little robin let us get pretty close to him. He’s doing his job, announcing spring is here!
One of the coop owners had a pot bellied pig. Meet Snoop Hoggy Hogg! 🙂
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!
This was the best shot I could get. He was always on the move. 🙂
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!
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?
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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