May 28, 2012

Tour de Cluck 2012

Bawk, bawwk, buh-gawwwk! Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day for Davis' third annual Tour de Cluck: A Bicycle Chicken Coop Crawl.

Signage at one of the Tour de Cluck stops

We started the day at Tour Central (down at the Davis Farmers Market), where we checked out the silent auction art tent, listened to some chicken poetry and watched four city council candidates strut their chicken-clucking stuff on the "Courage to Cluck" stage.

Tour de Cluck headquarters at Central Park

After the opening ceremonies, we hopped on our bikes and headed out to ride the various coop loops. The south Davis coops were amazing, Rancho Layena being a particularly inspiring stop. Since Willowbank is outside the city limits, residents aren't limited by the city's six hen rule, so Rancho Layena--situated on a full acre with beautiful mature trees and garden paths to make me green with envy--had 13 lovely ladies in a sprawling coop next to a goat enclosure. I can dream, right?

Rancho Layena's coop

Then it was on to the east Davis coops, where we stopped at Charlie's teacher's house to check out her coop creation.

Charlie & Ms. Hansen

Ms. Hansen's coop was built with mostly repurposed and recycled materials, including a perimeter foundation made of pavers to discourage critters from entering the coop.

The Copper Top Kibbutz coop

Ms. Hansen had also rigged up a great compost pile enclosure using materials on hand in the garden. I took a photo so I could try to recreate it here at Banyan's End. You can never have too many different types of compost piles, in my opinion.

Compost bin

Chateau de Vieux Clucks, also in east Davis, is a sort of chicken sanctuary. Right now it's home to a few formerly feral chickens that were living on the Davis Cemetery grounds.

Luxury living for some lucky hens

On the central Davis coop loop, Stacie and Lucas Frerichs' coop proves you can raise hens even in a relatively small urban space (a temporary gate is put up between the houses during the day to give the hens room to roam in the side yard.)

Shepherds Close Coop

Anna Leslie showed off her coop and dog kennel-to-chicken run conversion. She has a solar-powered automatic coop door opener that runs on a timer, allowing her to go on vacation without needing to hire someone to let the birds in and out of the coop every morning and evening. Handy!

Anna and her "Hummin' Hens A Workin'" coop

By 2pm, we finally made it over to the west Davis loop and quickly checked out the four coops in that part of town. One interesting feature was this sand floor at Fort Chix, with a poop collection box under the roost (filled with wood shavings). Erica at Northwest Edible Life uses sand on her floor and you can read about that here, but I'd never seen one installed. The Fort Chix owners seem happy with its functionality and cleanliness.

All in all, it was a great day and a cluck-tastic tour! My only feedback to Tour organizers would be that it's difficult to make it to all 18 coops in the five hours allotted for the tour; we only saw fourteen.

It's especially hard if you're on a bicycle, break for lunch, bike with kids, like to ask questions of coop owners here and there, and have attended the opening festivities at the market and therefore don't arrive at the first coop until close to 10:30am. I realize it's a long day for the families whose homes are on the Tour, though, so I understand the decision to end at 3pm.

Sign at the Coop du Rhone

Did you ride the Tour de Cluck: A Bicycle Chicken Coop Crawl this year, or are you planning to snag tickets for next year? What was your favorite coop?


  1. Chicken coops - yes, but I also enjoy seeing the back yard gardens, the architecture and styles of the various homes, etc. Conversations with homeowners and other people on the tour are also really fun. So sign up for next year's tour; it's GREAT!!!!!!!

  2. Banyan's End will have to be one of next years stops!

  3. We went on the tour for the first time this year! I would agree, it is tough to make it to all of the coops in five hours; we started out on the bikes, then loaded them up and finished the tour with the car. We did some U-turns, as the map lead up to a couple of dead-ins that only bikes could travel through.

    Like Thea, I agree - the yards and gardens were fantastic....I think we enjoyed those as much as coops! People were friendly at each location and were happy to talk about their coops & ideas. This tour is perfect for those considering backyard chickens or are new at the hobby. Our meet-up group from Lodi (Delta Backyard Poultry Meetup) had about 20 members attend.


    1. Hi Cherie. Wow! Twenty of you from Lodi? That's awesome. Glad you enjoyed the tour, and I agree that seeing all the gardens is just as fun as checking out the coops.

  4. I was on tour de cluck, my families' coop is fort chix, and I think it was really fun having people see our coop. ( even though one of our hens was in the nesting box the whole time.silly chicken. : p )

    1. We loved your family's coop! It's great that you enjoyed showing it to people. Our kids think it would be fun to be on the tour some day, too.

    2. which 1 savvy?

  5. Cool, Savvy! I'll participate next year. :P

  6. me too!