Cluckin’ for a Cause! Tales of a First-Time Tour d’Coop Host

By Ingrid Fromm, originally posted on June 18, 2018 on Carolina Coops

My husband and I were so excited to be a part of this year on the 2018 Tour d’Coop as coop hosts. It’s a wonderful event that benefits Urban Ministries of Wake County and highlights various chicken coop set up around the city of Raleigh, NC.

The yearly event attracts thousands of visitors to check out chicken coops, gardens, and bee hives. The objective of the Tour d’Coop is to show people the right ways to have a healthy, secure flock. With many gardens on the 19-coop tour this year, it also highlighted urban farming and a sustainable food culture.

First off, it was a huge success and raised more than $20,000 for Urban Ministries of Wake County. The organization helps feed, shelter, and provide healthcare to about 30,000 neighbors in need. It is a fun day for a family outing, with food trucks and various attractions at many of the stops.

We were lucky enough to have a very popular (and delicious) taco truck, Gonza Tacos Y Tequila, at our location.

I didn’t know what to expect, but I did expect there would be a steady stream of people and there sure was. We have a huge front and side-yard garden and our chicken coop set up is also on the side of the house. All this makes our stop (and our house in general) very unique and I hope, interesting to people.

We got this lovely tweet from MegHereAndThere, for which I was humbled and appreciative.

1 of the coolest houses I saw on @tourdcoop. I was wowed w/ how env conscious these folks are. Of course immediately I noticed the solar panels, then all the veg & herbs that they’ve opted to grow in front yard instead of a typical lawn. And the cool coop! #TourDCoop #Raleigh

Many people seemed impressed with our American Coop and pergola add-on. I have to admit it was easy to sing the praises of our chicken coop because we recognized right from the beginning how well made and thought-out it is.

But what peaked many visitors’ interest is whenever they heard me say, “Oh, I don’t have to clean out my coop, I hardly do anything, I use the deep litter method with my chicken coop.”

People were fascinated by the fact that I haven’t cleaned out my henhouse since getting the chickens in September 2017. By using industrial hemp in the our coop, which is designed for the deep litter method, as are all Carolina Coops chicken coops, there isn’t much to do. I just break up the litter with a hoe each day and sprinkle more hemp on top every two weeks or so.

It’s also important to note that it’s the construction and design of the chicken coop that greatly lends itself to this hands-off deep litter method. The henhouse has high ceilings and lots of ventilation — these factors are key in having dry, odor-free litter, and subsequently, healthy birds.

So is the chicken coop’s construction; drop down doors on the egg hutches, lift-off henhouse doors, deep litter henhouse, and high quality hardware cloth and lumber, all made people take notice. Some were getting inspiration, others wanted to replicate some of the features, others just asked questions to learn more about chicken keeping.

Another highlight was our rain barrel and waterbar for the chickens. We explained that it a heated water bar in the winter, so we don’t have to deal with the water freezing. This also gained a lot of interest among chicken keepers, who hate lugging pails of water repeatedly in the winter. And yes, even in North Carolina, we have to deal with water freezing.

People loved our edible landscape garden too. My husband spent a lot of time fielding garden and rain barrel questions, while I answered chicken and coop questions with Kristen, from Carolina Coops. It was hot and humid, (Many people said, “Oh look, chickens pant when they are hot.”) a quick rain shower occurred, and of course there was the taco truck much to everyone’s delight.

I can’t tell for sure how many people visited, but I’m guessing around 500 people. They were kind, supportive, complimentary, sweet, impressed, and just a lovely and interesting bunch of people who really appreciated all our sustainable and environmental efforts as well as our chickens and coop set up.

So a huge thank you to all who participated in the 2018 Tour d’Coop — the hosts, the volunteers, the owners of the food trucks, and all those who took time to come out on a hot, humid day to support the tour and Urban Ministries of Wake County.

I recommend looking at all the photos and amazing coops on the tour.

We had such a great time and can’t wait to do it again next year.

Sign up to be a coop host this year!

Ingrid Fromm works as a web content marketing specialist for Carolina Coops