Friday, March 4, 2011

CLUCK Tips: Creative, Helpful, Inspirational Coops (CHIC)

There are no doubt thousands of images of chicken coop designs available on the web, and the range is testimony first to the adaptability of chickens and second to the vision and creativity of the designers.  Truth is (and you can read it here first and quote it): There is no better subject for a design competition than a chicken coop. Why so?  Because chicken coops lie at the intersection of three crucial design factors: scale, complexity, and relevance. Coops are small enough that people can go beyond scale models and actually build their designs - they are manageable, affordable, build-in-your-garage scale structures unlike designing a bus station or a water tower. That means people can adjust their designs on the fly as they construct their vision. Second, they require integration of a long list of complicated constraints and functions. Because they must accommodate living critters that need good ventilation but not drafts, easy access but tough security, lots of light with dark nesting areas, etc. the design challenges are far more intricate than say a dog house or back yard gazebo. Finally, there is incredible demand for affordable, sustainable, workable coops and anyone who comes close on all three will be rewarded, if not financially, then at least with the sincerest form of flattery.

One thing about coop design: beware of coops where the design gets out ahead of the function. If it looks too cute, ask yourself if the design is designed more to impress human eyes than accommodate gallinaceous needs.

This blog entry will change as we add more examples, but here are some creative, helpful and inspirational coop designs: