Reinventing the Chicken Coop: 14 Original Designs with Step-by-Step Building Instructionsby Kevin McElroy, Matthew Wolpe
Build a stylishly modern home for your poultry. Backyard chickens meet contemporary design in this inventive compilation from authors Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy. Reinventing the Chicken Coop presents 14 complete building plans for chicken houses that range from the purely functional to outrageously fabulous, with designs that include water-capturing/i>
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Build a stylishly modern home for your poultry. Backyard chickens meet contemporary design in this inventive compilation from authors Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy. Reinventing the Chicken Coop presents 14 complete building plans for chicken houses that range from the purely functional to outrageously fabulous, with designs that include water-capturing roofs, built-in composting systems, and modernist architectural details.
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REINVENTING THE CHICKEN COOP14 Original Designs with Step-by-Step Building Instructions
By KEVIN McELROY MATTHEW WOLPE
Storey PublishingCopyright © 2012 Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCHICKEN COOP ESSENTIALS
During the process of designing and building coops for this book, we became accustomed to quizzical looks when explaining our latest projects. There were plenty of positive responses, but just as often came the question, "Why would you want chickens?" It was an easy thing to answer: "For the eggs, of course." However, this wasn't the question we were hoping most to be asked: "Why would you want to build a chicken coop?" What appeals to us about the form is that there's a set of design parameters for a well-designed coop, and beyond that it can really be anything. Also, most coops are informal structures and typically do not require building permits or messy bureaucracy. With coops, ordinary people can actually build something of architectural significance next to their home and be proud of the statement it makes: "I made this thing, and it brings me closer to the food I eat every day."
Along with our desire to explore the idea of what a chicken coop could be, like any thoughtful designers we wanted to be cautious and deliberate. A new idea isn't always a good one, and a classic, time-tested technique is not something to be dismissed. We wanted the design choices we made to be significant, not random, guided by the site and concept for each coop. We also wanted to experiment with conventional and unconventional building materials and to treat the chicken coop like the hybrid structure it is—part outbuilding, part outdoor furniture, part sculpture. Throughout the project we often joked with each other that our mission was to bring the coop from the backyard to the front yard.
Given the scope of what we were taking on, however, it was important to stick to our fundamental premise: To design really good coops for the chickens and their owners. An experimental design that looks incredible but functions poorly and doesn't pass the scrutiny of an experienced hen raiser would be a failure on our part. Therefore, we approached each coop project with the following design considerations in mind. The same guidelines and questions can help you when making modifications to your own projects.
GENERAL SPACE REQUIREMENTS
While there are many different breeds of chickens and, of course, different sizes, our rule of thumb is to provide roughly 8 to 10 square feet of space per chicken. This number is the coop and run space combined. Keep in mind that if you live in a cold climate where the chickens will be inside for a good portion of the year, you should increase your coop size so that it remains a healthy living environment.
Excerpted from REINVENTING THE CHICKEN COOP by KEVIN McELROY MATTHEW WOLPE Copyright © 2012 by Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy . Excerpted by permission of Storey Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy are the owners of Just Fine Design/Build, a company that produces original pieces of furniture and small structures. In 2010, they designed a chicken coop called “Chick in a Box” that went on to win an Editor’s Choice award for design at the Bay Area Maker Faire and was featured on theMake Magazineblog, theFarmhouse Modernblog, and theTreehuggerblog. Kevin lives in Oakland, CA.
Matthew Wolpe and Kevin McElroy are the owners of Just Fine Design/Build, a studio that produces original handmade furniture and small structures. In 2010, they designed a chicken coop called “Chick in a Box” that went on to win an Editor’s Choice award for design at the Bay Area Maker Faire and was featured on theMake Magazineblog, theFarmhouse Modernblog, and theTreehuggerblog. Matthew also is a Senior Mechanician for Furniture and Carpentry at the University of California Berkeley's College of Environmental Design and teaches woodworking at The Crucible, a non-profit arts school in Oakland. Both authors live in Oakland, CA - Matthew in a 120-square-foot tiny house he designed and built.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Super easy construction ideas. Half the reading is explaining first project fundamentals. Good for a first timer maybe. Almost insulting to anyone who has ever built anything in a wood shop or has a rural upbringing. Not for me. Basic principles for first project.