Savannah's backyard chickens have a huge flock of devotees. Just witness the Savannah Backyard Chickens Facebook page, devoted to local urban chickens. It's attracted close to 900 followers.
"They're wonderful animals," said Kathryn Tanner, whose own backyard hosts a half a dozen birds ranging from Stretch, the Rhode Island white, to a Delaware named Hildegard.
If you're one of these backyard chicken followers, or if you're just wondering what all the fuss is about, you might consider joining the Dec. 7 Tour de Coops, an annual pilgrimage to selective coops around town. The event benefits the Savannah Urban Garden Alliance.
It's a chance to meet fellow Savannahians who are raising chickens in their own backyards and get firsthand knowledge on how to do it yourself. SUGA board members will also be on hand throughout the event to answer questions.
The tour will start and end in the courtyard of Southern Pine Company, and be followed by complimentary food and drinks, as well as a silent auction.
Tour de Coops began in 2009 with participation growing each year since. This time, two routes are available, one in Gordonston and one in midtown, each with half a dozen coops and their accompanying gardens to peruse. Participants can also choose between a trolley tour and a self-guided bicycle or car alternative.
Tanner, who's helping to organize the tour, describes the coops this year as not of the "curtains-in-the-window" variety but all different types, and all cool.
"Some involve more found objects," she said.
The tour is the main fundraiser for the Savannah Urban Garden Alliance, which aims to "cultivate a gardening movement in Savannah's communities through outreach and education."
Along with great manure, chickens seem to add something intangible to a garden, said co-organizer Wanda Scott.
"It's a neighborhood connectivity that goes beyond the eggs," she said. "We see it developing but we don't really understand it, either."