Last fall, I designed a chicken coop for a competition. My entry (called NeSTCooP) didn’t win, but it did get some recognition from the judges.

For a while, I was thinking that I would try to develop the plans and sell them myself, but I’ve found that there are lots and lots and lots of chicken coop plans already on the web. Some are free, others are for sale, but it’s already a crowded field.

Instead, my neighbor and I are working out trying to start building and marketing these in some form or other, and I’ve created a Facebook page for NeSTCooP. We’re getting close to building a prototype for someone who is interested in having one built.

The version pictured is the chicken tractor version, which can be moved around the yard, instead of having to always be in one place. There are also other variants that can be built. Part of the intent with this design was that it would be possible to have different arrangements depending on individual needs, and that it would be possible to modify the coop if configuration changes were necessary.

Maybe we’ll sell these as kits, with materials and assembly instructions, as an IKEA-like flatpack. We don’t have that worked out, but we’d certainly be interested in feedback about the idea.

Chicken coops are turning up all over. The growing popularity of chicken coops even made it into an article on Custom Home. I’m also contemplating doing a Kickstarter project for NeSTCooP. If we do that, there may be some fun things we’ll come up with besides full-built coops or kits.

If you’re interested in chickens and coops, follow NeSTCooP on Facebook; I’ll be keeping things on that front updated there.

(ETA: And yes, there is a reason behind the goofy orthography in the spelling of the name ‘NeSTCooP’)

“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.


There are a couple little things I’m working on.  These aren’t the big glamorous projects all the cool architects in TV and movies are working on; it’s not even terribly green. But even small projects and little things can have their own meaningfulness.

One thing I’m working through are some ideas for re-roofing a cottage in Canada for a friend of mine.  I’m likely to help with the installation of this, as well as trying to weigh different options for materials, though that’s not going to be a deciding factor in the selection.  This is for a roof roughly 9 squares (900 square feet) in area; no valleys or complications other than a stone fireplace chimney in the middle at the ridge.  Originally the plan was just to do a tear off of the existing shingles (which are at least a couple decades old at this point) and put down some ice & water shield in some areas, make sure the underlying sheathing boards are all still in good condition, and put on new asphalt shingles.

But I mentioned having seen some salvaged green-glazed roofing tiles (while I was researching another Inhabitat article) that are available from a building materials recycling facility, and that started the gears turning and the ideas being considered.  I don’t know the cost of the material (though I expect even as salvaged material it wouldn’t be free) and it would still require shipping.  If we’re going to do the installation ourselves, the amount of work required would also be a consideration.

If we’re considering alternatives to shingles, then metal roofs are also worth considering.  Metal would be lighter weight (which might be a consideration) but would also have a longer life than asphalt shingles.

In any case, it’s probably going to be next year’s project.  I like the idea of something non-asphaltic, especially given how close this place is to the edge of Lake Huron (we’re talking feet, not miles).  Since it is only occasionally occupied, the idea of something durable and low maintenance is certainly appealing.  I’m concerned about branches or other debris causing problems for the tiles.  And, of course, cost is a consideration, as well.

The other project is a chicken coop competition.  The competition has been set up by the Poultry Project, which is a charitable organization in the US and Uganda helping families affected with HIV/AIDS to have small-scale poultry businesses.  Since I’ve already designed and built a coop that houses the chickens we’re currently getting our eggs from (over at the neighbors’ house), I’m probably already one project up on most of the entrants.  It’s an October deadline for that one.

I drove an all-electric version of a Chevy Equinox a few weeks ago and have now posted my review and a couple of pictures on Ecogeek. I still find it confounding that I have ended up writing about cars, but I enjoy the chance to see some interesting vehicles from time to time.

I am headed to Washington DC for a few days to be on a peer review panel for the EPA, so it’s likely to be quiet here for the next couple of days.  This is the second year that I’ve been an EPA peer reviewer.  It’s interesting to take part in these panels and to find out about some of the developments and technologies that are being explored.

When I get back, we’re going to have the Workantile charrette to examine ideas for renovating and adapting the space once Mighty Good Coffee moves out and up the street a couple of blocks to their new space. It’s not going to be any sort of extensive reconfiguration; Mike and Trek want to make things more workable and find a way to adapt the additional space in a way that’s going to work well for the coworking environment. I’ll have more about that coming next week.