Screen shot 2011-07-12 at 3.37.01 PM.jpg
Photo by Lyanda Haupt
A hand-drawn sign welcomes visitors to the Haupt's garden and coop.
This year, Pittsburgh hosted their first urban chicken coop


Seattle's 6 Coolest Chicken Coops (and 4 More from Around the Country)

Screen shot 2011-07-12 at 3.37.01 PM.jpg
Photo by Lyanda Haupt
A hand-drawn sign welcomes visitors to the Haupt's garden and coop.
This year, Pittsburgh hosted their first urban chicken coop tour, aptly named "chicks in the hood." Hats off to Pittsburgh, but the city is way behind Seattle, where Seattle Tilth has been organizing coop tours for over a decade. Nonetheless, it's a testament to the increasing number of cities around the United States that have seen a boom in the number of urban chickens. Last year, Seattle passed a city ordinance increasing the number of backyard birds allowed from three to eight. In Los Angeles, an unlimited number of birds are allowed, and New York City, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, and New Orleans (to name a few) permit chickens within certain guidelines.

This past weekend's Urban Farm and Chicken Coop tour put on by Seattle Tilth featured 47 sites around Seattle of city-dwelling ducks, goats, bees, sheep, geese, and plenty of coops. The self-guided tour let participants choose which sites to visit to learn about urban agriculture first-hand. Friendly hosts fielded questions about the cost of birds (low), level of maintenance required (not much), and number of eggs produced (usually about one per hen per day). Stacey Brewer, who has a coop in Lakeview, said the eggs are much richer, with "deep orange yolks. They taste like they already have cheese added."

Seattle Tilth event manager Chris Iberle said the addition of 18 sites and their diversity prove that Seattle is at the forefront of the urban chicken movement. But this trend isn't one confined to the Northwest. With more people around the country building backyard coops as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly option, we were interested to see how Seattle coops stacked up. The following are our nominees for Seattle's best chicken coops, with a few contenders from the rest of the country too.

Seattle Coops

1. Mezza Luna Farms

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Photo by Julia Waterhous
The Fels' coop in View Ridge houses three hens that produce about a dozen eggs a week.

2. Price Family Farms

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Photo by Ken and Phoebe Price
Ken and Phoebe Price's coop in Magnolia.

3. The Tangled Nest

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Photo by Lyanda Haupt
The Haupts use coffee-bean chaff instead of wood chips in their coop in West Seattle.

4. City Arts Farm

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Photo by Joan Engelmeyer and Steve Irish
The Chicken Castle in Columbia City has withstood the test of time and raccoons, according to owners Joan Engelmeyer and Steve Irish, who said they had over 100 tour participants come by on Saturday, July 9.

5. Susan Gregory's Coop

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Photo by Julia Waterhous
Gregory's coop in Wedgwood features two doors. One below for cleaning, and one up top for easy feeding without the hassle of stooping over.

6. Stacy Brewer's Coop

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Photo by Julia Waterhous
Brewer's coop in Maple Leaf, number 1050 1/2, features a rooftop garden so no garden space is lost. It is planted with chicks and hens.

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Photo by Julia Waterhous
Inside Brewer's coop are framed pictures of Gonzo the muppet and his chickens. Adorable.

Non-Seattle Coops

7. The Chicken Tractor, Los Angeles

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Photo from 100xbetter
The Chicken Tractor by 100xbetter in Los Angeles has an open bottom and wheels, so once chickens have fertilized one area of the lawn, it can be moved to supplement another area.

8. Mid-Life Crisis Coop, Pennsylvania

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The Mid-Life Crisis Coop, aka the "Taj Mahal" of chicken coops, features a framed family photo and chandelier inside. From: user todtrac at

9. Dresser Coop, New York City

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Joshua Levine's New York City coop uses an old wardrobe to house his hens. For Levine's analysis on the cost-effectiveness of urban chickens, check out his article at

10. The Build-Your-Own Outhouse Coop, Everywhere, U.S.A.

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After all those coops, you're dying to build your own right? This handcrafted coop from Billy Robb even has a beer-can roof. Check out his post at to find out how to build yours.

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