Excerpted from Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills from the How-To Experts at Storey Publishing. Illustrations by © Kathryn Rathke. Photography by ©Erin Kunkel. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.
These unconventional chicken coop designs treat the chicken coop like the hybrid structure it is—part outbuilding, part outdoor furniture, part sculpture. They are also completely functional, sometimes serving multiple purposes at once.
SYM (pictured above) is much more than a chicken coop; it’s a symbiotic urban farming system. It sits above two worm compost bins that are fertilized directly by the chickens’ manure. The chickens can eat insects that are naturally attracted to the compost and come in through the mesh floor, as well as worms taken from the bins and fed to them. The rooftop collects rainwater.
The floor of this tree-house-inspired coop sits 48 inches off the ground, allowing for easy human access and cleaning. The spiral staircase leads to the coop through a hatch door cut into the floor.
Is it possible for a chicken coop to be a gathering place? Instead of a utility structure in exile, what if a coop could be a place to commune, hang out and even sit on?
Kippen House Garden-Roof Chicken Coop
If you lack the space for a garden and chicken coop, why not have two in one? This coop has a garden bed for a roof, which also acts as an insulator that helps keep the coop interior cool in summer and warmer in winter.
This coop features a butterfly roof and post-and-beam-style joinery. The roof is angled such that rainwater is collected and funneled down to the chickens to drink.
Kevin McElroy & Matthew Wolpe are authors of Reinventing the Chicken Coop: 14 Original Designs with Step-by-Step Building Instructions. This excerpt originally appeared in the January/February 20201 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.