Haute Homes for the Birds and the Bees

Timothy Riffle describes himself like this: “I’m the Johnny Appleseed of chickens.”

Riffle builds habitats ranging from standard housing to couture coops. His Cleveland-based Hive and Coop has famously fashioned a roost after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, among other notable designs. Riffle creates the coop and beehive designs and his associate, Chuck Gliha, from Civitas Cleveland, organizes the labor.

Hive and Coop is a labor of love, run to support the local economy, sustainability and local food. Riffle does it, too, for the simple fact that chickens are cool—“pets with benefits,” as he calls them.

“They are less work than a dog, but they give you eggs in return,” Riffle said.

Riffle started Hive and Coop five years ago with the idea of carrying on a family tradition. His grandfather raised rabbits in Ohio and in 1933 founded Riffle Rabbitry. Riffle likes to connect Hive and Coop to a lineage that services the homesteader.

Hive and Coop can install a chicken coop “almost immediately,” Riffle said, if it’s one of his standard models, a few of which are always in stock and start at around $550. Custom designs take about a month, he said.

At the Coit Road market he now sells scratch, feed, bedding and other supplies needed to keep chickens. But if he has his way, he will soon be “appleseeding” there, too. Riffle is working with the East Cleveland city government to start a chicken co-op at the market. Think of it as a community garden for chickens. If beekeeping is your thing, there could be space designated for that, too.

For more information, visit HiveAndCoop.com.