In Homegrown and Handmade, there will be a section on backyard poultry, and because I've never had chickens in the city, I decided to visit some people who keep chickens in Chicago. Katherine went with me because she is doing most of the photos for the book. It was a fun and inspiring day!
We visited four coops in the city and one in a suburb. They ranged from the ultimate in original green design to the ultimate in repurposing an existing structure, which is also a sustainable concept.
Because chickens are short, the coop only occupies the middle third of the red structure on the left side. The space above and below the coop opens to the opposite side and will be used for storing chicken feed, straw, and tools. Nest boxes in the coop also open to the outside, so eggs can be collected without entering the coop or run. Fresh greens will be planted in the window box in spring, so that the hens can have a snack by sticking their heads through the window. The front wall of the coop is actually a giant door on hinges and can be opened for easy cleaning. The run (on the right) is covered with hardware cloth.