“It is just as desirable to build a chicken house as it is to build a cathedral.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

I entered a chicken coop design competition a couple of months ago.  The Poultry Project is an organization in Cleveland OH that held a chicken coop design competition earlier this year. While they promote urban chickens in the US, the Poultry Project works with a non-governmental organization in Uganda to promote poultry farming as an income source for HIV/AIDS-affected children. The Poultry Project’s competition was to design a coop for an urban or suburban backyards.  And the winning design is slated to be adapted for use in Africa for Poultry Project families.

“The Poultry Project is committed to empowering HIV/AIDS-affected children by giving them an opportunity to earn income as smallholder poultry farmers; this is achieved through direct collaboration with an indigenous Ugandan NGO, TASO.”

My project didn’t make the finalist round, but I was on two of the judges’ Top Ten lists. In any case, it’s nice to get a little recognition. And, if you’re in the market for a chicken coop, a few of these may end up getting built.  I’m working with a neighbor of mine to see about building a few of these for sale next year through a local farm supply store. Drop me a line if you are interested in finding out more.

Read on for the project description and a copy of the presentation boards.


NeSTCooP is a system for scalable chicken coops, starting with a small, 3-bird coop, but able to be easily expanded for additional birds. A movable “chicken tractor” configuration can also easily be built, incorporating both coop and yard in a simple structure.

The legs and other angles in the design are all based on 3-4-5 triangles, which can easily be laid out without need for calculating angles. This also makes it easy to add other components to the system. Furthermore, the design can be readily adapted to other systems of measurement or adjusted in size to make use of available resources.

The A-frame configuration requires fewer materials for construction, making it easier and more efficient to build. The A-frame also allows for efficient ventilation to keep the coop from overheating in warm weather. At the same time, the more compact space will stay warmer without needing added heating in cold climates.

Food and water can be kept in shade underneath the raised coop, and shelter for the chickens is also incorporated in this fashion. The nesting box is at the opposite end from the entrance. It is raised above the coop floor and has a hinged lid for access allowing egg collection without having to disturb the coop.

The NeSTCooP is designed to be assembled with screw components, so that it can be readily disassembled for transportation and re-assembly. This also makes it easy to gain access to the coop for cleaning.

NeSTCooP-boards (PDF)