Chicken McMansions: Atlanta's tour of chicken coops

8:27 PM, Sep 14, 2012   |    comments
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Anne-Marie Anderson, outside her Decatur chicken coop.

DECATUR, Ga. -- Robert Leonard is still completing the house he's built in the woods near downtown Decatur. "I wanted something sexy, but practical," Leonard says.

Leonard says he built the house for his girls: A flock of twenty hens. They will live in what may be the most hifalutin' chicken coop in metro Atlanta.

"We called it quits on the stain glass window," Leonard jokes as he shows off the the porch, deck and egg-laying areas, accessible via an outdoor latch.

Leonard and the twenty residents of his Chicken McMansion will be a featured stop on a tour of Atlanta urban chicken coops that will take place in early October.

Anne-Marie Anderson is a tour organizer, a woman whose Decatur back yard chicken coop is a step down from Leonard's -- despite its plant-growing green roof, rain barrels and way more space than her chickens need.

"On a scale of one to ten, this one is about a seven," Anderson says, gesturing toward the upscale coop in her sloping back yard. "You can tell when a chicken is happy. They strut and they look happy and they cluck."

And a happy chicken seems to beget a happy chicken owner and happy neighbors. Complaints from neighbors, Anderson says, are nonexistent.

Anderson says her coop cost about a thousand dollars to build. Leonard says his chicken coop probably cost twice that. Not that he's competitive.

"You've heard of pecking order? Well the girls, they have a pecking order. You have an Alpha bird," Leonard says. "Usually the dominant ones will go up on the very top" of the coop's roosting areas.

Likewise, Leonard doesn't shirk the possibility that he may be metro Atlanta's Alpha chicken coop owner.

Backers say the tour of urban chicken homes grows each year -- a testament to the charm of their residents, and a taste for life's finer things.

The Atlanta Urban Coop Tour takes place October 6 and 7.  For more info, go here.  

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