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A Sneak Peek at the Third Annual Tour De Coops Self-Guided Open House and New Bike Tour on Saturday, December 3

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The third annual Tour de Coops, presented by the Valley Permaculture Alliance, is planned for 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, December 3, at coops all over metro Phoenix. We got a sneak peek at some backyard chickens, ducks, and quail.

Check out our preview of Boho Farm and Home's layers and meaties after the jump.

Caroline Van Slyke of Boho Farm and Home let us into her backyard last week for an early visit of her coop, her garden, compost piles and the chickens, of course. She tells us that the Tour de Coop is basically a self directed open house where you can come and ask questions but more than anything, get inspired. For those who want more detailed instructions on how to get started, the volunteer-run, non-profit Valley Permaculture Alliance hosts classes (like this one on December 10) on how to get the ball rolling with your own backyard chickens -- usually hosted by Rachel Bess.

There are over 20 coops around the Valley on this tour and Van Slyke tells us there's a new bike tour this year. The bike tour tentative route starts 7 a.m. at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market for breakfast with registration at The Grow House, coop touring around town, lunch at Lux, more touring and ends at 7 p.m. at La Grande Orange.

Van Slyke started her whole urban homestead about 4 years ago. She put her carpentry savvy husband to work to convert their backyard shed into their main coop. They removed two sides and replaced them with metal studs and chicken wire. They added the porch screen door, a chandelier, a picket fence, some coordinated paint and other flourishes to create a beautiful home for their little birdie friends.

This will be the first year that Van Slyke and family will be slaughtering their own birds to cook. "I need to conquer it - my grandmother did it," she explained. David, Van Slyke's preschool-aged son has begun telling visitors about the chickens. He's started plainly declaring, "yeah, those are the meaties, we're gonna eat those." The meaties have their own special coop on the opposide side of her backyard. This temporary coop was created using a portable dog cage, a pallet and a grill cover to keep the rain out of the chicken's home - smart. Van Slyke wanted to create a physical separation to begin the emotional separation process as well as preventing possible parasites and other unfortunate maladies.

If you've already hit up some of the homes on earlier tours, Van Slyke encourages folks to return to some of the coops so that they can "come see the homestead evolve." This "whole lifestyle" of chemical free gardening, coops and composting isn't for everybody, but it is certainly a labor of love for those who care for their urban coops and lifestyle.

Registration is now through Saturday. You can order tickets online and then bring your printed ticket to either Duck and Decanter (16th Street and Camelback location) or The Grow House. Tickets will be sold at both locations Saturday until 2 p.m. or until sold out. There are 1,000 tickets available. $10 per adult and kids under 18, free with an adult. Take note, they're asking you please bring cash or check if you plan to try to snag tickets on Saturday. Please see tourdecoops.org for more details.

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