So you’ve consulted your city’s municipal code regarding backyard poultry — or just decided, “Cluck the neighbors, I’m getting chickens!” Next you’ll need a home for your birds that offers room to roam, warmth in winter and ventilation in summer, and protection from urban thugs like dogs and raccoons. (For details on space requirements and ideal bedding options, see last week’s interview with chicken-raising expert Gail Damerow.) Ideally your feathered friends’ abode will also be easy to clean and gather eggs — and easy on the eyes.
We expect Grist’s wannabe chicken keepers won’t be shelling out for the stylish-yet-pricy ($1,280!) and all-plastic (boo!) Omlet Cube, but instead will be taking a hammer to recycled materials found on Craigslist or hacked from Ikea parts. The Internet abounds with DIY coop plans and galleries on sites like Backyard Chickens and My Pet Chicken to inspire you, and many cities now offer annual tours of cool cribs: though Austin’s, Atlanta’s, Salt Lake City’s, and Alameda, Calif.’s are past, Seattle Tilth is sponsoring one this weekend, on July 11, and Portland’s Tour de Coops is July 24.
Here are some funky and/or fashionable coops for you to brood over. Feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments!
(Karen Wyeth)Cabin fever: This fancy coop belongs to Grist reader Karen Wyeth of Sebastopol, Calif. The carved ventilation panels were a garage sale find, she says, while the oil painting of a rooster, donated by a neighbor, keeps her four ladies company.
(adtindle)Little hens in the big winter: Grist reader Amy in Colorado sent in photos of this airy, 12-by-4-foot home for some hardy birds. It has an operable window and a louvered vent on the opposite side for airflow in the hot summers; the raised portion can be closed completely during snow.
(BackyardChicken)Road tripper: U.K. chicken fancier Michael Thompson saved a defunct 1970 Morris Traveller from the scrapyard — or half of it anyway — and converted it into this swell home for four ex-battery chickens, featured on Backyard Chickens.
Portland playhouse: Grist reader Stephanie Leikas built this well-landscaped, minimalist coop a year ago for her five chickens using design plans from the Garden Coop; she added an uncovered extended run.
California craftsy: Jacqueline Clemens (that’s @mizjake on Twitter) says her husband built this tidy, easy-to-clean house for their four hens in Davis, Calif.
(lauralemay/Flickr)Shed-ucational reuse: California Eglu owner Laura Lemay (@lemay) decided to enlarge her eight girls’ digs by adapting a used Suncast shed she got off Craigslist — “not as cute as the Eglu but very easy to maintain (hose it out every few weeks).”
(BackyardChickens.com)Can we live here?: This Dwell-worthy coop in Portland, Oregon, was custom built by Backyard Chickens member expomonster to house five Bantam hens. The 4-by-4-by-4-foot main coop has a person-sized door for cleanout and a ceiling window under the slanted corrugated-plastic roof.
(lordmarmalade/Flickr)Canadian chalet: Flickr member lord marmalade built this elegant little structure for his daughter’s birthday using all recycled materials, except for the nails.