The Sh­ef­fer Chicken Coop

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature Gorgeous Coops -

When you grow up deep in the heart of a big US city, you don’t see chicken coops so when Brook­lyn-born ar­chi­tect Stephen Cas­sell was asked if he would con­sider designing one for a client, it meant do­ing some ba­sic re­search into the lives of hens.

He looked at the space needed by dif­fer­ent poul­try breeds, ven­ti­la­tion and heat­ing re­quire­ments, nest­ing box de­sign, ac­cess for both birds and peo­ple, and ease of clean­ing.

His con­clu­sion: form fol­lows fowl. Stephen came up with three op­tions, in­clud­ing one that was all con­crete and very sculp­tural. He knew he def­i­nitely didn’t want it to be the more usual kind of coop which is mostly all func­tion.

The win­ning de­sign is now known as the Sh­ef­fer Chicken Coop. It’s framed in tim­ber and steel, and has cedar boards for the end walls and lining the in­side.

The floor is con­crete to keep out foxes and other preda­tors. But this is an ar­chi­tect-de­signed, high-spec con­trac­tor­built coop in an ex­clu­sive farm­ing com­mu­nity, so it’s an up­mar­ket kind of slab with ra­di­ant floor heat­ing to keep the coop warm. A cold night in the East Hamp­tons can see tem­per­a­tures fall to be­low 0°C, and in bad win­ters to be­low -15°C, so they didn’t want to end up with “a bunch of dead chick­ens in win­ter,” says Stephen.

The out­side is clad in alu­minium shin­gles, each with its cor­ners turned up. That doesn’t fol­low fowl but just looks beau­ti­ful says Stephen, cast­ing shad­ows across the coop through­out the day. The walls have vents built in so air flow can be reg­u­lated on hot days with­out caus­ing a cold draft.

In­side, the coop has eight nest boxes - one for each hen - and roost­ing perches for sleep­ing. Ma­nure boxes sit un­der­neath and can be eas­ily re­moved for clean­ing.

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