Tour de Cluck looking for coop submissions

Davis’ annual Tour de Cluck will be back on May 25 and is anticipated to be even better than previous years.

Tour de Cluck started as a series of fundraisers for the Davis Farm to School Connection. As the event returned each year, it grew in size and importance, and now a number of different community organizations also benefit from the event.

“The idea behind it is that we are trying to emphasize community organizations, but also how keeping chickens in your backyard is a sustainable practice, [and] how eating locally and healthy is important,” said Neil Ruud, Tour de Cluck event coordinator and UC Davis alumnus.

The main event is a self-led bicycle tour of the different chicken coops around town. However, there are a number of other events throughout the day that involve the whole community.

Events begin with the Davis Fowl Food Fair at the Davis Farmers’ Market and the Tour de Cluck kickoff celebration outside the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame. Additionally, the Tour de Cluck Silent Auction and Art Exhibit will continue throughout the day.

The only significant change this year is a change in leadership. Jacqueline Clemens now has the position of mother hen emeritus.

“We have been planning for this transition since the first event in 2010. The incredibly surprising success put us on notice that we were on to something,” Clemens said in a statement.

Davis has about 200 chicken coops spread across town. Community members who offer their coops for the bicycle tour are called Clucksters. Currently, they are looking for coop submissions for this year’s coop crawl. The deadline is Feb.15.

They are also looking for art submissions for their silent auction and art exhibit.

According to the press release, each coop will have a backyard chicken expert to provide information to those who are interested in starting their own coop.

“They [my chickens] make me feel like I’m living on a self-sufficient farm, even in my suburban community,” said Ann M. Evan, a former mayor who helped found the Davis Farmers’ Market.

In addition to the main bicycle tour, the event will also feature Chicken Skool presentations that educate people about chicken coops and the work that goes into them. These will begin before the Tour de Cluck event.

“Although the majority of the event is on May 25, there are some other things we do in the community to promote those ideas and support the organizations,” Ruud said.

Tickets for the Tour de Cluck will go on sale in April.

PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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