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

‘There is a pecking order:’ Raleigh tech CEO keeps chickens, pig

Justin Miller is one of the most interesting men in the Triangle. He’s 6-foot-4, covered in tattoos, and he makes money as the CEO and co-founder of the insanely poplar app, WedPics, which helps couples aggregate photos taken by their wedding guests.

He isn’t married, nor does he have children, but the North Carolina State University graduate has 13 dependents.

Miller, 36, has nine chickens, three dogs and one pig at his Raleigh home. On a breezy afternoon last week, Miller sat among his brood in the backyard, just a few feet from the coop he made for the birds to live in.


Empathy and respect for others

By M’Liss Koopman

The first thing you need to know is I’ve spent a great deal of my life learning about animals. Which is why I was so surprised, as a Tour D’Coop Host, when the 2nd and 5th and 21st person to visit my coop asked me the exact same thing—“How do you get eggs without a rooster?!!” For the record, you don’t need a rooster, and the 21st visitor was by no means the last one to ask—which is one of the best things about volunteering as a Tour D’Coop Host. People are really curious about the natural world, and eager to learn about backyard chickens.

Read more on »

Sign up to be a coop host today »

Ten things that happen when you attend Tour D’Coop

Tour D’Coop, coming on June 4, 2016, is a one-day community tour throughout Wake County that educates visitors about keeping hens, while also inspiring prospective urban farmers. The Tour raises needed funding for Urban Ministries of Wake County to continue programs working to alleviate poverty by eliminating hunger, providing quality healthcare, and a pathway home for the homeless.
1. You get to Hang out with Chicks all Day
Tour D’ Coop encompasses more than 20 coops throughout Wake County, featuring various breeds of chickens.
Read the rest of the reasons on »

Enter our T-shirt design contest

Entry Guidelines

Entries must embody the spirit of the event. Tour d’Coop promotes sustainable, local food sources and humane animal care while raising money for Urban Ministries of Wake County. Tour d’Coop began as a way for a few neighbors to show off their hens and coops while highlighting the benefits of urban farming and back yard poultry. More than ten years later, Tour d’Coop has grown into a one-day garden tour that encompasses more than 20 coops and thousands of visitors.

Highlights of this family friendly event include:

  • Self-guided, eco-friendly BIKE ROUTE through downtown Raleigh coops
  • A HIVE HIKE, which showcases homes with active bee hives for Tour visitors
  • The COOP CARNIVAL, which takes place at Urban Ministries’ main roost off Capital Blvd and features animal demonstrations, community partners, food trucks, craft beer and wine, live music, and more!
  • Find out more about Tour d’Coop here!

Tour d’Coop is truly a celebration of community and all things local.

Contest Rules

  • Entries must be done in a single color. Design will be printed on a heather gray tee with light gray ink and on a natural tee with navy ink.
  • Design will appear on the front of the shirt, in a single color, and may not to exceed 11″ wide and 12″ high.
  • One design per entry; One entry per person.
  • The design must include a reference to “Tour d’Coop” and the phrase “Benefiting Urban Ministries of Wake County” must also appear on the shirt.
  • The Raleigh Screen Print logo must also appear on the shirt – it can be small, set below your design, etc.
  • Your design must be wholly original. By submitting a design you are guaranteeing that you hold rights to everything in it and that it does not
    contain any copyrighted material.
  • Entries must be received by 5pm on Wednesday, April 22nd.
  • Submit entries as high resolution EPS file. Please be prepared to submit the original Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop file in the case your artwork is chosen. We reserve the right to make adjustments to the winning design.
  • Email entries to with the subject line “TDC Tshirt Design Contest.”
  • Include your name, address, and telephone number with your submission.
  • Grand Prize winning entry becomes property of Urban Ministries of Wake County.

By submitting you are agreeing to all contest rules.

Entries that adhere to the guidelines will be displayed for online public voting beginning Friday, April 24th and closing May 1st. The winner will be announced on Monday, May 4th.


Your original design printed on 250 event t-shirts (printing done by renowned local printer Raleigh Screen Print on Cardinal Apparel tees, with cotton from the Southeast, manufactured in NC) + Tour d’Coop Swag Bag + 6 Event Tickets

4 Event Tickets + Tour d’Coop Commemorative Tile

2 Event Tickets + Tour d’Coop Commemorative Tile

Chicken Keeping 101 – Spring 2015 Classes

WHEN: Saturday, May 30, 9:30 a.m. OR Sunday, May 31, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Room 159, Kilgore Hall, NC State University

COST: A fee of $10 per person will be requested. (No pre-registration required.)
This presentation by long-time chicken-keeper Bob Davis will confirm that keeping backyard chickens is both desirable and attainable. Chickens produce eggs, are wonderful pets, and provide an earth connection for their owners. Details of their care will be covered, including sources of birds, housing, feeding, and health.
Bob will present the ‘Chicken Keeping 101’ talk on two separate dates and times. It is the same talk each time, so you need only attend one. The talk lasts about 2.5 hours, depending on questions, with time for further questions at the end.

Free parking is available in the Brooks Lot on the corner of Brooks and Hillsborough. Kilgore Hall is directly across Hillsborough Street from the parking lot (bamboo structures in front). Room 159 is located in the center of the building on the first floor. Please try to arrive a little early, so that we can start on time. Doors to the building are locked shortly after the class begins.

“Trick or Treat,” give your chickens something fun to eat!

Don’t forget to treat your chickens to pumpkins this Halloween season! Pumpkins are a yummy snack and they last for days providing hours of entertainment. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, minerals including copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, dietary fiber and protein in the seeds.

Come see us this Saturday at the Cooke Street Carnival!

Cooke Street Carnival returns to the Idlewild neighborhood this Saturday, October 18, from 1 pm – 6 pm. This year, Idlewild West bring some of the finest in country and western themed fun to both Cooke and Lane Streets.
The carnival has added a new section this year, Fatt Legg Farm, which will celebrate the local food community. Along with Raleigh City Farm, Community Food Lab, and Grocers on Wheels, we will be there with chickens and additional information about the 2015 Tour D’Coop!
There will be a big kids zone with Learning Together, Mess Makers, Enso Movement, sidewalk chalk, a silly string street shootout and more.
This year’s eating contest will consist of Moon Pies and RC Cola.
Musical Lineup:
Tab-One (from Kooley High) w/ DJ Gonzo
Wild Fur
Laura Reed
Old Quarter
The Trousers
Quality Grocery After Party from 6-8pm featuring:
Young Cardinals
More Rhythm
Food Trucks:
Chirba Chirba Dumpling
American Meltdown
Belgian Waffology
Parlez-Vous Cr�pe
The Parlour
The Humble Pig
Philly’s Cheesesteaks
Sympathy for the Deli
Pie Pushers
Bulkogi Korean BBQ
Beer Vendors:
Carolina Brewing Company
Raleigh Brewing Company
White Street Brewing Company, Inc
Food and Drink Vendors:
Benny T’s Vesta
Counter Culture Coffee
Slingshot Coffee Company
GerDan Chocolates
Monster Cookies
Love Food Raleigh
Crude Bitters & Sodas
Oscar William’s Gourmet Cotton Candy
SweetWater Ices
Citizen Pops
Happy and Hale
Boulted Bread
Studio Brigadeiro Chocolates
Art Vendors:
House of Swank Clothing Company
Porch Fly
Four You Designs
Black Bird Handmade
Tiffany Coley Artisan Jewelry
Oak City Collective
Cockamamie Jewelry
Raleigh Vintage
March Hare Gallery
Piedmont Pottery
David Carter
Wood Art
Lucky Accessories
David Eichenberger
Green City Bottles
Good Grace’s Dog Treats
Esse Quam Videri
metamorphosis metals
Oakwood Candlelight Tour
Bragg Bags and Brooches
Southern Ego Clothing
Crawlspace Press
Advice Booth
Dantanamo Designs
Zass Design
For additional information visit Cooke Street Carnival!

Thank a bee on the Tour’s Hive Hike

Sometimes events take on a life of their own and end up a little different than they were in the beginning. And so it is with the Tour D’Coop. No worries, though, because the Tour has become even bigger and better than the original founders’ could have ever imagined (they who were shocked when hundreds of visitors showed up that first year, instead of the “maybe 50” they planned for!). What started out years ago to be a day all about chickens has evolved to be a fantastically fun day all about chickens and gardens and sustainability and community and….bees!
A lot of people who are interested in urban chickens care about local food sources, too — especially uber-local, as in, from-their-own-backyard. Which means they have gardens. Gardens which need fertilizer (aka chicken poop), and pollinators (bees) and, of course, you see where this is going. So we’ve always had bees on the Tour — we’ve just never featured bees on the Tour. Finally, the time has come to give them the respect they’re due — this year we’ve created a “Hive Hike” to showcase homes with active bee hives for Tour visitors.
On the Hive Hike — which is not really a “hike” at all, unless you choose to be afoot– visitors can see first-hand how chickens and bees are literally “kissing cousins” in urban, backyard ecosystems–important players on Mother Nature’s stage, even in the city. Given that they are so complementary in town, I hesitate to think what bees and chickens are up to down on the farm (something dirtier than kissing, no doubt, as in full-of-manure dirty…), but here in the city they can exist quite harmoniously with even the most pristine of next-door neighbors.
Hive Hike mapAnd, no, you won’t get stung, but you might learn a few facts that encourage you to think a little more about bees as you go through your daily life in the city. Like how most common fruits and vegetables in US grocery stores today could disappear or cost considerably more if bee population numbers don’t soon stabilize. Or how pesticides — even the “safer” ones, widely used in our beautified, Southern, biting-insects-be-damned, yards — might affect bees. Or how many farmers actually hire beekeepers to bring bees to their fields to pollinate their crops. (Wild and domestic bee populations are struggling to survive disease, habitat destruction and pesticide usage, and pollinate over 2/3 of the world’s food crops).
So there you go. Bees and chickens on this year’s Tour D’Coop. Both contributing positively to our urban environment. Just as they have for hundreds of years, though the bees now need our help. So stop by a house on the Hive Hike and thank a bee. Then ask their keepers what you can do to help them out. They do so much for us.
Find out more about the Hive Hike »
Get a ticket »

The Coop Carnival: Entertainment, food, fun for kids, chickens and more

Tour D’Coop day is almost here (Saturday, May 17), and this year we are offering several new events, including our first ever Coop Carnival held outdoors at the Urban Ministries building 1390 Capitol Blvd, Raleigh. What? You’ve never heard of a Coop Carnival?!! Well let me explain…
The first thing you need to know is that with a name like COOP carnival, there’s gonna be chickens and there’s gonna be a coop. Of course. You knew that, right? But what you may not know is the Coop Carnival is where you go to: grab food and refreshments (including local food trucks, craft beer and wine); see a gorgeous, custom coop being raffled off to one lucky winner (don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets at any Tour ticket site); let the kids have a ball with games, activities, a bouncy house, and even a big, red, fire truck. The Carnival is also where you can learn more about the Tour’s beneficiary — Urban Ministries of Wake County — and their local partner agencies, who work tirelessly to make our community a better place to live for both humans and animals (tell them “thanks ya’ll” … they deserve it).
The Carnival kicks off at 10 am and runs until 3 pm. The Tour D’Coop runs an hour longer, until 4 pm, so you’ve got plenty of time to visit the Carnival without missing out on seeing your favorite coops. Start off your morning the healthy way, with an outdoor, group, fitness workout courtesy of Camp Gladiator. At 11 am, cheer on The Bouncing Bulldogs Jump Ropers (team members can perform hundreds of synchronized skills and dances using a combination of single and double dutch jump ropes–amazing!). At noon, take a break from the coops and stretch those tired legs with a gentle, group yoga session with Amanda Cheney, then listen to Carl Dudley, a Shaw University saxophonist as he entertains in a variety of musical styles. Last — but not least — dance, hop and generally go crazy to the rhythms of Ras Ikembay and the Vibez & Rhythms and One Tribe Rhythms Drum Ensembles.
10:00 am Camp Gladiator
11:00 am Bouncing Bulldog Jump Ropers
12:00 pm Yoga with Amanda Cheney
1:00 pm Carl Dudley, Saxophone
2:00 pm Vibez & Rhythms and One Tribe Rhythms Drum Ensembles
After all that, you’ll be ready for some food and drink. Stop by the B’Burritos or Chick-N-Que trucks for the main course. Jas Desserts will be offering up some sinfully great sweet things, or you can “head to the islands” and cool off with Big Island Shaved Ice. For a more adult version of refreshments, Big Boss Brewery and Ararat Wines will be offering a selection of craft beer and wines.
Don’t forget to take a peek inside the Urban Ministries building (if you need enticement, here it is–clean, air-conditioned, bathrooms). Staff members will also be on hand to answer your questions and give tours. Stroll by their new food garden, then check out UM’s non-profit partners and Tour sponsor booths, including Avian and Exotic Animal Care, Curtiss Coops and Yardbarns, Carolina Food Gardens, The Urban Chicken, Bryan Moore Realty Group, SPCA, Humane Society of Wake County, Whole Foods, Interfaith Food Shuttle and so many more! There might even be a few surprises, so now that you know what it is, I hope to “See ya at the Coop!” … Carnival, that is.