Building an urban chicken coop on the cheek

Raising backyard chickens doesn’t have to break the bank.

The rising popularity of urban poultry has Iowans searching for the best ways to house their feathered friends. While constructed coops ranging from basic abodes to elaborate chateaus are available, some chicken owners are turning into online ideas and their own scrap piles for inspiration.

Others, like Ted Scovel of Des Moines, are simply retrofitting structures already on their properties. He keeps his 20 chickens in a 12-by-18-foot garage outfitted with roosts.

“Housing for chickens can be as elaborate or simple as what you have available or can afford,” said Scovel, who has raised poultry for roughly 40 years. “It depends on what kind of time you have.”

Rules regarding urban chickens vary from city to city. Some municipalities have banned the birds; others have created chicken-specific regulations in response to residents’ requests.

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