Wednesday, March 7, 2012

a chicken in every yard

a chicken in every yard
Last weekend I dropped my daughter off at a sleepover with a family that had a huge chicken coop in their backyard.  I fell in love with these cute little chickens and the bossy colorful rooster.  How wonderful to wake up to fresh eggs every morning!  Now I am dreaming of building one in my own back yard this summer.  
This certainly wasn’t the first time I have seen a chicken coup but when I was growing up in Nebraska, coups were always on farms.  They were huge, dirty,  and noisy.  There has been a surge in urban farming over the last couple of years here in Portland.  Along with that - chicken coop design has gone high style.  

The design for this coop can be purchased on line at The Garden Coop dot com
If you want to design and build your own there are plenty of places to go for inspiration.  There are books, videos, and real life working models available for you to see.  You can take a garden tour of coop designs around Portland in the summertime.  

Inexpensive classes are offered at ‘the urban farm store’ on Belmont where you can learn how to keep chickens. You can even buy your chickens here.  I am going to take my children with me.....what a great thing to learn!

The architecture firm I worked for when I first arrived in Portland, called SERA Architects,  hosted a chicken coop competition a few years ago to benefit PICA - the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.  There were some amazing entries...the winning entry is shown below.  This week I begin my Architects in Schools program and will be teaching a 5th grade class all about architecture for a quarter.  I may have them design chicken coops!

Winning Design: Hen Hedge (by Gary Gola + Jeanie Lai)
The modern box offers elegant housing for the chickens, along with a style that blends into the discerning homeowner's exterior decor. The green roof and green wall provide shading along with blending into the landscape, and the design featured the option of either tractor or fixed coop, depending on the needs of the owners.

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