Saturday, June 25, 2011

Got Feathers? Tour des Coops!

While chilling at a post-work gathering last week, Amie mentioned that there was a chicken coop tour happening in her neighborhood. That's right, Tour des Coops: a free walking tour of the local chicken coops, sponsored by the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association. As someone who has never properly toured a chicken coop before, this sounded like a blog-worthy Saturday adventure.

I began my day in true chicken coop fashion: I got feather hair extensions. I had been wanting them for awhile, and I was sold when my friend Nicole told me that Fine Featherheads were cruelty-free. Thanks to Jece for putting them in:

6 feathers: 2 red, 2 purple, and 2 black & white.
Because I have very thick hair, they should stay in for 8 weeks. Sweet!
I had feathers in my hair and I was truly in the mood to bond with some chickens. I walked to the Tenney-Lapham neighborhood, which is about a mile from my apartment. On my way there, I passed this lovely window decoration on East Johnson Street:

A house is not complete without a cow in the front window.
Daily dose of cow: complete! Now, onto the chickens. I arrived at the first stop on the tour: Richard Freihoefer's chicken coop:

Two chickens hanging out in their coop.
Richard owns two types of chickens: Buff Orpington (tan) and Plymouth Rock (black & white).
The coop is in Richard's backyard. We chatted and I told him that I'm new in town and recently started this blog. Then, he said words that were music to my ears: "Would you like to hold a chicken?" I obviously said yes. As it may have already been implied, I'm a total animal lover. I never refuse an opportunity to snuggle an animal:

Complete with my feathered hair, I totally bonded with this bird (Richard doesn't name his chickens).
She let me hold her for quite awhile and enjoyed being petted.
Little did I know that it was about to get even better. Obviously getting the impression that I love holding animals, Richard asked me: "Would you like to hold a baby turkey?" Again, obviously, my answer was yes:

Meet Tom: he's a 4-week-old baby turkey.
He didn't mind being held and petted, but his real joy came from pecking at my rings. 
After bonding with Richard's birds, I decided to continue exploring the local coops. Before I left, Richard gave me three eggs fresh from the coop:

Thanks for the eggs, Richard!
I proceeded to explore other local coops (all of which are in the backyards of homes in a residential neighborhood). I saw some chickens with beautiful feathers (much fancier than the ones in my hair):

Click to enlarge the photos and see the feathers up close: they're gorgeous! 

After touring a few coops, I thought that I should go check out Lake Mendota (Madison is an isthmus surrounded by lakes). On my way to the lake, I ran into Amie, who had told me about the tour. She had also just finished touring the coops, and I wound up making a pit stop at her house instead of seeing the lake (it's not going anywhere and I'm sure I'll see it eventually). I got to meet Mr. Otterpants (a very sweet cat) and grab a snack. Thanks for the rhubarb turnover, Amie!