Whether you think of yourself as a Locavore, Naturalist, Health Food Enthusiast, Animal Rights Person, Recycler, Preparer, Natural Gardener or just recognize the psychological benefits of high touch activities like chickens in the low touch high tech world we live in, chickens make sense at a personal level for a great variety of people. And they have for 10’s of thousands (if not more) of years…and there’s no end in sight.
- Chickens and their interaction with people are good for the soul. They can somehow ground us in a world that can at times be crazy.
- The thought of building homes for chickens and promoting small flock urban chicken keeping is pretty much a religion to us. We’re fanatical about our commitment.
- We don’t want to make and sell junk. Committed tax paying workers lovingly build your coop from the best materials we can reliably source, overwhelmingly from the US. There are for sure cheaper coops you can buy. We won’t argue that. Better? We could argue about that 🙂 Our coops will be built to last and provide a safe domicile for hard working hens.
- Our pricing should allow us to run a healthy business. Our goal is not to get rich building chicken coops. We DO however want to be able to run a business that can afford to do things well and afford to be a leader in urban small flock chicken keeping. We will balance our prices and the commercial realities of operating a great business (exemplar customer service and industry leading products) balanced with our goal of making small flock chicken keeping affordable for as many people as possible.
- We respect chickens. While we recognize the incredible technological feat of large multi-million bird farms and the purported impact it has on reducing costs on eggs and meat, it has a long list of drawbacks too. A list that, in our opinion, outweighs the benefits. We are of the opinion that whatever drawbacks there are to mass adoption of widely distributed urban small flock chicken keeping, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. We accept that there will be many people who don’t want to own chickens : ) however foreign of a thought that would be to us… we do realize it. So while we will not actively disparage large scale chicken farming, we will spend our efforts promoting the benefits of urban small scale farming and let the poop fall where it will.
- We accept there are broad opinions on chicken keeping and celebrate any view that “respects the chicken”. If curtains are your thing, how fun! Diapers, swings, leashes… its all in a days work during conversations with our customers. Chickens live commercially in less than a square foot each in many circumstances. So we’re confident that whatever your viewpoint is on raising a chicken in your small scale farm or backyard, it will be a serious improvement over the lives of many chickens. How awesome!
- Poultry is a huge part of feeding humans. Huge! Its why it is such big business. We raise meat birds for food and enjoy fresh eggs just the same. Just keeping it real. As committed as we are to small flock egg farming, we see a future in small flock meat birds too. It won’t be for everyone, but knowing where your food comes from makes a lot of sense.
- Hand-washing after handling any livestock (including chickens) is smart. Proper hand-washing mitigates bio-security concerns for otherwise healthy people. It is much more common for chickens from different flocks to make each other sick than it is for a chicken to make a person sick. Its one of the potential advantages to keeping more chickens in smaller distributed flocks rather than multi-million bird farms.
- Chickens can literally change the world. Between the psychological benefits, eating your food scraps and keeping food waste out of dumps, eating bugs, providing true organic eggs to you, keeping traffic off roads and on and on…chickens are a powerful force for the future. Really! Some forward thinking governments around the world have already realized this. Its almost impossible to exaggerate this point.
- When a person can do a job as good or better than a machine, we want to hire a person and teach them carpentry skills, not turn into mechanics who work on machines that build chicken coops. If it makes sense to use a machine then fine, but our default mode will be to provide a job and teach a skill.
They’re easier than dogs, as interesting as cats, and put food on the table. They’ll eat your table scraps too : ) And, you’re not the fringe crazy person next door. People have been doing “backyard chickens” for centuries. It’s only been in the last 50 or so years that it was different than the previous who knows how many. We literally believe that chickens have the ability to change your life for the better. That cannot be said of many things.
The Twinings live in the ultimate product development and testing environment. They keep chickens, a lot of chickens, in their back yard just like their customers do. Not just one breed of chicken either, but dozens of breeds. They are constantly tinkering with ideas and improvements to Urban Coop Company coops and dreaming up new accessories and designs. There is nothing on earth they love more than meeting the people they build coops for…yes, they are customers, but many become friends too.
Several years back Dyan & Montie seriously considered the purchase of a medium sized egg farm only to come to the conclusion that it was too outdated and fixing it would not make financial sense. In December 2012 they revisited an earlier idea to get into the backyard chicken keeping rebirth, but were not sure of the right approach. They finally settled on the idea of building a very particular backyard chicken coop that met a series of design goals. Best available materials, integrated waterers and feeders, predator strong, multi-climate design, pretty and able to be shipped nationally. They had personally been dissatisfied with coops they themselves could purchase. Urban Coop Company was born. From the initial conception of the idea of the company to the day-to-day operations everyone in the family was to play an important part. Several notions were key in the Twining’s leap of faith into the coop business. Most convincing was a deep belief that the locally produced food movement was for real and the renewed realization that having chickens made a lot of sense, to a lot of people, for a lot of different reasons, was not a passing fad.
As a life-long entrepreneur, it was important to Montie for his children to grow up understanding the precepts of business and the value of customer service. He’s done everything from running publicly traded consulting companies, to building multi-million dollar super yachts (Calixas Yachts) to running commercial and residential construction companies… and a half dozen other ventures between. He’s an inventor with several issued patents. People who know him best describe him as a “beaver”… always building something and can’t really help himself.
He designs the Round-Top Chicken Coops™ from the ground up with consultation from Dyan 🙂 the Texas A&M poultry department, industry experts and oddly, FedEx. They had to be able to ship right to customer’s doors. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of fabrication and assembly of the coops. He’s passionate about building a quality product and oversees a team of dedicated workers who, like him, think it’s fun building chicken coops. During the peak season, their staff swells to a dozen or so mostly aspiring musicians from nearby Austin. He’s constantly innovating some new idea and plans to file more patents around coop innovations.
Call on the phone and it’s likely that you’ll talk with Dyan, “the chicken lady” in the family. She enjoys answering questions about coops and chickens and loves interacting with customers. She is a voracious reader and has a crazy volume of chicken facts swirling around in her head. She prides herself in providing support after the sale and is dedicated to making sure every customer gets up and running as quickly as possible after buying a coop. Not really a “salesman”, Dyan is most happy helping someone find the right coop for their needs, even if it’s not an Urban Coop Company coop. But, she’s a little biased as she and her girls use their coops daily and that feedback loop goes into continued evolution of the designs and assures that customers get highly refined features. She really knows coops. The local vets even refer customers to her for sick chicken questions. Its crazy. And if that’s not enough, she also heads up the local and county 4H chapters and, as you might imagine, is heavily involved in… you guessed it. Chickens!
Teenagers Olivia & Cassandra are officers in their local 4H, show chickens and know more than their fair share about chickens too. They’ve been known to help cut wood, do inventory of materials and of course help out mom in the packaging department when they’re not in school. Cassandra and Olivia also have their own little business, Huevos Locos, selling hatching eggs, chicks and started pullets. They’ve also recently branched out into incubator rentals.
Their son Nathan is the head gopher and chicken catcher. They generate a lot of scrap wood around the shop and his main job is to keep things neat and orderly. He has energy to spare and he’s kept busy sweeping and cleaning.
Montie’s oldest daughter Courtney, is a fifth grade school teacher and ideas even swirl around in her head about Science and Math curriculum that can be based around chickens. In fact, several Elementary Schools have bought Urban Coop Company Coops so the idea may not be that “chicken brained” after all.
All of this is a long winded way of saying that the family behind Urban Coop Company is just as excited as you are about backyard chickens and they know what they’re doing.