How to build a backyard chicken coop in Seattle

Fresh eggs, every day.

A wooden chicken coop in front of a large apartment building

Coops are allowed in city backyards, but should be at least 10 ft away from residences.

This is no yolk. Egg costs continue to soar in Western Washington and across the US due to the spread of avian flu and other supply issues. The price for a dozen eggs in Seattle range from $3.80 to $8 right now — making for some dang expensive omelets.

But what if you cook up your own supply? It’s totally legal to raise chickens in residential backyards here — and coops for egg production can be a sizzlin’ hot commodity (even a fancy apartment amenity). Here’s what you need to know to get crackin’ — and calculate their worth.

Research pecking orders

Official Seattle ordinances allow for up to “eight domestic fowl” on residential lotswhich is kind of a lot — and even more for properties over 10,000 sqft. But the law bans backyard roosters. Those early wake-up calls aren’t cool for your neighbors.

A group of white-feathered chickens in a meadow

Give your egg-laying friends have some room to roam.

Photo via Portage Bay Grange

Don’t just wing it

This isn’t like getting a goldfish raising and caring for poultry requires a lot of work. Be sure to review Washington’s avian health information, King County’s backyard poultry guidance (yes, that exists), and basic animal husbandry practices. If you’re still feeling clucky, you’ll need:

  • Space for a coop and enclosure that can hold a feeder, water container, roosting area, and a nesting box (secure from predators)
  • A designated outdoor area or run for your chickens to spread their skinny little legs
  • Bags of feed, which you can get at local farm supply stores like Portage Bay Grange, Urban Feed & Garden, and Hayes Feed Store.
  • The willingness to clean up poop nonstop 💩

Eggs in one basket

What should you expect when your chickens are expecting? Healthy, well-fed hens can potentially lay up to 320 eggs a year — and they’ll be as fresh as can be. Read up on safety tips before handling, though.

As for your wallet health, expect to shell out ~$650 initially, with regular expenses ~$25-$30 per month. So, buying eggs at the store is probably more cost effective — just not as much urban farming fun.

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