Thursday September 26, 2013 | 06:58 AM

Before I welcomed a flock of chickens into my life I spent time looking at chicken-raising guides, ogling over fancy coop plans, and talking with people who have chickens. On multiple occasions I was invited over or invited myself over to see what my chicken rearing friends had constructed for a coop. Weighing in my budget, the flock size I was considering (12), and my landscape I came up with a plan.

Knowing how valuable being able to look at other people’s coops was to my experience I organized the First Annual Maine Chicken Coop Tour, which will take place this Saturday 28, 2013 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
*Full disclosure: I’m the organizer and am making zero money off of the event. There are no fees or sponsorships associated.

This self-guided tour will showcase an array of backyard chicken coops that display a variety of construction designs and materials, from recycled to custom designed coops. Inspired by the Funky Chicken Coop Tour in Austin, Texas, I hope to bring together chicken enthusiasts while encouraging community and education about local food.

The tour is for anyone planning to start their own backyard flock, and/or curious about why keeping backyard chickens is so popular. It is free to attend and open to the public.

What tour goers will see: Different styles of coops including an old farmhouse coop that has been customized, several coops made from unassembled and assembled kits created by the Maine company Roots, Coops & More, and coops created from plans found on the Internet or in a book. Some coops are stand alones, some are built into a barn or other farm structure.

Visitors are encouraged to ask owners about using reclaimed or recycled materials, brooding chicks, protecting a flock from weather extremes, choosing a breed, predation prevention, and even composting coop litter.

Along with chickens, tour goers will have the opportunity to see honeybees, gardens, sheep, goats, and donkeys.

Due to insurance reasons, homeowners are unable to let participants use their bathrooms or enter their homes. Tour goers should plan accordingly and leave pets at home. Additionally, for bio-security purposes tour goers are asked to refrain from handling birds or touching structures, bedding or equipment during their visit.

Click here for a list of the locations or visit the Tour Facebook page for updates.  Click here for a map of participating locations. 

My feathered friends and I hope to see you on the tour! *Some of the coops I modeled my plan after are on the tour. Have fun!

About this Blog

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About the Author

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, deliciousmusings.com.

When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse.

In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more.

Sharon can be contacted at kitchens.sharon@gmail.com or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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