the poultry project


March 16th, 2012

Due to an underwhelming number of entries for our second chicken coop design competition, the Poultry Project decided to make some changes to the competition guidelines and relaunch the contest.


THE GIST: Design a coop for 10-15 chickens. A large coop. A coop that can be used in a community garden (one near you, perhaps?) or by  farmers growing their flocks. And don’t worry about modifying your design for use in Uganda. We’ve eliminated the Uganda coop modification requirement for entries, as we’ve realized this component of the contest results in most applicants submitting two projects. That’s a lot of work, and we want to make this competition simple and accessible to a wider audience.

ENTRY FORM: download CCDC2012 Entry Form. (learn more here)

DEADLINE: August 1, 2012

Send questions to



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Design Competition Deadline Extension

January 2nd, 2012

Good news fellow procrastinators…we’ve extended the deadline for the 2011 Chicken Coop Design Competition from 12/31/2011 to MARCH 1, 2012!

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Kansas State Students’ Coop Design Exhibit

November 22nd, 2011

Kansas State University architecture professor, Katrina Lewis, contacted the Poultry Project last year after the 2010 Chicken Coop Design Competition (CCDC) expressing interest in getting her students involved in the next coop design competition.  Almost immediately after the 2011 CCDC launch, Katrina’s second-year architecture students started working on their designs. A few weeks ago, the students shared their coop design models with the community at their “Chicken Coop Celebration.” The students are still working on the Uganda modifications of their coops. Here’s a look at their exhibit.  THANKS KANSAS STATE!!!!!

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2011 Chicken Coop Design Competition

August 17th, 2011

It’s been over a  year since we launched the first chicken coop design competition and we’re ready to do it again! We are still ironing out the details, but to all the eager designers, makers, chicken keepers, architects and creatives out there — plan on an end of the year (2011) deadline. Check back in the next few weeks for competition details, application form, entry rules, and all that good stuff.

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Meet the Team: Emily Axtman

June 15th, 2011

Emily Axtman (a DesignCorps fellow) submitted one of the winning designs for our Chicken Coop Design Competition. We asked Emily to work on a design for a chicken coop that could be used by our farmers in Uganda. She jumped at the opportunity, because she is committed to public service and she believes that design can promote social, economic and environmental change. Before her work in Uganda, she designed and built chicken coops for migrant farmers in rural North Carolina. After Uganda, she went to Austin, TX where she’s participating in the Public Interest Design Program. She’s part of a growing community of architects and designers making big change with small scale projects.

In the months leading up to her volunteer stint in Uganda, she read books on the region and HIV/AIDS in Africa, researched materials and construction methods common in rural Uganda, communicated with our partners in Mbale to learn more about Ugandan poultry farming and building practices and designed a model for the Poultry Project coop. Once in Uganda, Emily and the team got to work. Emily conducted a workshop with Poultry Project farmers to refine the coop and make sure it fit the farmers’ needs. With a few changes and three days of hard work, the demonstration coop was complete and the on-site coop builds at farmers’ homes began. Emily helped train the build team and together, they built 7 coops.
Emily exudes creativity, curiosity, ambition and compassion. She approaches her work with the utmost sincerity, humility, dedication and focus. She never presumed that she had all the answers and she frequently sought feedback from the build team and the farmers. She rarely put down her hammer to take a break. I loved watching her teach the Poultry Project farmers and beneficiaries how to build, use and maintain the coop. It was amazing to see a group of people turn a pile of wooden poles, a roll of wire mesh, papyrus, nails and a tin roof into a gorgeous, streamlined chicken house. And after the roof was put on the coop and the last touches and adjustments were made, we drove away from the home feeling proud about what we built, together.

Emily created this graphic to illustrate how a Poultry Project farmer uses their initial flock of 5 chickens to generate a lasting source of income and nutrition.

“The chicken coops that were built over the course of the project stand as a tangible product representing a system designed to provide the necessary resources for the participants to bring themselves out of poverty.”  – an excerpt from Emily Axtman’s blog.

Emily loved learning how to use a panga, so much that she took one home in her suitcase. The fresh pineapple in Mbale made her happy and before she left, she walked to the market to buy one for us to share. We wanted her to cut it up with her panga, but she used a kitchen knife instead. She’s saving the panga for building more life-changing, community-enhancing structures. Thank you, Emily!

[Photos 1, 3, 4 by Emily Pavlick; Pineapple photo by Kevin Kopanski]

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Coop of the Day: Urban Poultry Service

February 24th, 2011

A team from Chicago’s ARCHEWORKS, an alternative design school that replaces traditional curriculum with real life problem solving by challenging students “to work in multidisciplinary teams with nonprofit partners to create design solutions for social and environmental concerns.”  Not only did they design a chicken coop, they created a model for community engagement, economic development and strengthening local food systems.

The Team:

Michelle Ruiz
Lindsay Banks
Luis Garcia
Philip Syvertsen
Eric Heineman
Jared Lauridsen
Christopher Korycki
Meredith Vlahakis

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Coop of the Day: Chicken Sandwich

February 2nd, 2011

Designed by Ashley Kennedy of Vermont:

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Coop of the Day: Elementi 6 + 9 Accessori

January 11th, 2011

Alessandra Bolis, an architecture student from Italy, designed this colorful, flatpak coop.

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Coop of the Day: Cart Coop

January 7th, 2011

Shopping cart meets urban agriculture in this ingenious chicken coop design by New Orleans design firm, Crooked Architecture.  Zach Lamb and Carey Clouse worked together to find a new use for the shopping cart – a portable, pretty home for a small (1 0r 2) flock of backyard hens.  A favorite of the design competition jury, the Cart Coop won over the visitors at the exhibition and took home the People’s Choice Award for favorite chicken coop design.

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Coop of the Day returns after holiday break!: Bamboo Coop

January 6th, 2011

Tri Dang, a student Orange Coast College, designed this thatched coop after researching traditional Ugandan methods of shelter design and construction.  This egg shaped coop was a favorite of the judges for its simplicity and beauty.

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Coop of the Day: Modular System

December 16th, 2010

Camilo Cerro of Brooklyn, NY designed this modular coop.  Here’s what he had to say about it:

The idea behind this design is to create a chicken coop that is modular, made of recycled materials and that solves the programmatic issues in a better way than the coops presently on the market. By creating a modular system, we allow for the design to expand in an unlimited manner. This capacity gives the owner alternatives in terms of the location and evolution of the coop. In terms of materials, I propose to recycle wood into MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) or wood-chip boards as the primary material for the coop, this then would be painted to protect if from the elements. And finally the design is set for adaptability. Each module has all the components to be set as a corner condition, central condition, to have an access ramp to the upper level or to stand alone. When not in use by a module, the ramp becomes the circulation floor for the upper floor. Sliding doors at each side of the module allow for circulation from module to module or to close off the corner modules. Two access doors allow for independent access to the nest and feeder (for both water and feed). And the mesh panels on the lower level are removable to allow for some to betaken out when the module is placed in a central portion of the coop. The lower level stands on the ground allowing the chickens to have access to grass and dirt while kept enclosed. Because of its simplicity the module is compact, light, easy to carry and clean.

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CCDC Top Ten, Finalists, Honorable Mentions

December 13th, 2010

The judging of the Chicken Coop Design Competition had three phases – I. top 10 II. top 3 (#1 pick plus two honorable mentions) III. selecting winner from finalists (the #1 picks).  As promised, here are the top 10s, finalists and honorable mentions:

Top 10 Lists:


  1. Pivot
  2. Poulle Belle
  3. GOA
  5. Steven Zambrano
  6. Hugh Macguire
  7. Emily Axteman
  8. Karachi B
  9. Henry Foch
  10. Cart Coop


  1. Karachi B
  2. Poulle-Belle
  3. Hugh Macguire
  4. George Acock
  5. Henry Foch
  7. Steven Zambrano
  8. Philip Proefoeck
  9. Anna Scheffer…
  10. Emily Axteman


  1. Tri Dang
  2. John Ha
  3. Cindie McDonald
  4. Steven Zambrano
  5. Anna Scheffer..
  6. Eric Rochon
  7. Phillip Proefoeck
  8. Henri Foch
  9. Nguyen Ngoc
  10. Karachi B


  1. George Acock
  3. Cart Coop
  4. Tri Dang
  5. Emily Axteman
  6. GOA
  7. Jennifer Hiser
  8. Hugh Macguire
  9. PIVOT
  10. Poulle-Belle


  1. Emily Axteman
  2. Sustainable TO
  3. Lawrence Duck
  4. Hali Knight
  5. A. Kennedy
  6. Ben Grist
  8. Ella Stelter
  9. Karachi B
  10. John Ha

The next round, judges were to narrow down to top pick plus 2 honorable mentions:

Gauri – top pick – torn between Emily Axtman and University of Karachi B. honorable mentions: Hugh MacGuire, Henri Foch
Lynn – top pick – University of Karachi B. honorable mentions: Tri Dang, John Ha
Joe – top pick – University of Karachi B. honorable mentions: Hugh MacGuire, Henri Foch
Tim – top pick – Lawrence Duck. honorable mentions: Ben Grist, ARCHRIOT  (other selections: Emily Axtman, Hali Knight, Ella Stelter, University of Karachi B, Ashley Kennedy)
Matt – top pick – Emily Axtman. honorable mentions: Hugh MacGuire, GOA Eclectic Coop

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Coop of the Day: Nelson Chicken Coop

December 8th, 2010

Designed by architect Michael Nelson of Nelson Design Group, this henhouse is already built and in use in his suburban backyard.   Nelson lives in Birmingham, AL and has 5 chickens.

Nelson’s description of the design:

The Nelson Chicken Coop is a suburban backyard henhouse comprised of two levels, a lower ground-level run and a raised, upper area for feeding, nesting, & perching. Each level is approximately four (4) feet wide by six (6) feet long in plan, providing a total of forty-eight (48) square feet of area. The upper level is covered, enclosed, and raised to provide protection for the hens. Ventilation is provided by an operable front window running the length of the coop, hardware cloth floor, an enclosed lower-level run, and venting at the ridge on the roof. There are two (2) nesting boxes and four (4) linear feet of perch in the upper level. Access to the coop includes an egg door & feed/water door on the upper level and two (2) clean-out doors on the lower level. All doors are secured using surface-mounted, manual bolt latches. Building materials used include 2x wood framing, ¾” plywood, and galvanized metal roofing. Galvanized hardware cloth (1/4”) is used to enclose the run in the lower level, to floor 2/3 of the upper level, and to secure the upper level ventilation window when open. The center section of the upper level has no floor to allow vertical access between the levels. The siding on each end of the coop is fabricated from wood shims and stained for protection from the elements. An electric utility light is added to the interior of the coop as needed to bolster the lighting during the winter season.

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Coop of the Day: Poulle-Belle

December 6th, 2010

When we were in the early stages of planning the Chicken Coop Design Competition, we talked about wanting IKEA to come up with a simple, easily assembled, flat-pak coop product.  Well, this group of architects from Paris decided to repurpose an IKEA kitchen cabinet as a chicken coop.  They even took time to send a letter to IKEA pitching their design.  This coop was a favorite of the jury for its innovation and creativity.  Bravo!

Poulle-Belle by Alice Dufourmantelle + Juliette Mesnage + Eleonore Morand

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The winner is…

November 28th, 2010


After several days of intense deliberation, the jury chose the University of Karachi Group B’s portable coop design as the winner of the The Poultry Project 2010 Chicken Coop Design Competition.  Another coop was a close contender, so the jury created a runner-up award for Emily Axtman’s design – she actually built the coop in North Carolina as part of her fellowship with DesignCorps.

In addition to the jury prize and runner-up awards, we invited visitors to the Exhibition to vote for their favorite coop design for the People’s Choice Award.  There were 63 designs to choose from and 73 ballots were cast.  The winner of the People’s Choice Award is the Cart Coop by Carey Clouse and Zach Lamb.


Congratulations to EVERYONE that participated in the competition.  The jury spent hours assessing, discussing and comparing the designs.  And the designers put so much time, talent and effort into their amazing, meticulous, gorgeous coop design submissions.  We are so pleased with the enthusiasm and interest in our first coop design competition – so pleased that we plan to do this again next year.  Thanks again to the jury and coop designers!

Loads of gratitude to our generous event sponsors/vendors – Lucky Penny Farm (donated delicious medjool dates stuffed with their signature chevre); Covered Bridge Gardens (donated delicious popping corn); Beckwith Orchards (donated a bushel of apples; DJ Flower Mantis (incredible music); Wooltex Gallery/Artefino (thanks Karen for being an amazing, attentive host!).

Over the coming months, we will post a coop design a day and we’ll announce the finalists and honorable mentions.  The coop posts will feature photos and descriptions of the coop designs and designer bios.

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Meet the Jury…

October 30th, 2010

With over 60 entries to the review and assess, the 2010 Chicken Coop Design Competition jury is hard at work.

The multidisciplinary jury:

Lynn Rodemann is an urban farmer and educator in Northeast Ohio.  She runs two large community gardens -one in Detroit-Shoreway and another in Jefferson Park called Devil’s Backbone Market and Educational Herb Farm – and keeps over 30 chickens.  A founding member of  LEAF (Lakewood Earth and Food community), Reimagining Cleveland grant recipient, herb vendor to area restaurants and food trucks and a slow food activist and doer, Lynn works hard to bring good, locally produced food to her community.  Lynn resides in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two sons (the chickens live in Cleveland).

Joe McGuier is a young architect living in Brooklyn, NY. Joe’s professional focus is on reintroducing thoughtful, reasonable and contextual design as a profit-inducing component of small-scale urban residential developments. Through this, Joe hopes to affect positive change on the urban fabric of his beloved New York and reposition the architect as a central player in urban multi-family developments.  Joe was born and raised in Ohio and attended the University of Cincinnati for his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Architecture. As a child, Joe ate so much chicken his mother thought he might wake up with feathers one day, so this design competition is near and dear to his heart.

West Virginia born and bred, Matthew Miller is Project H’s “MacGyver-in-residence” and Studio H co-founder and instructor.  An accomplished fabricator and metalworker, he has worked for several emerging practices including Architecture for Humanity and HousingOperative.  Matthew studied at the Bauhaus, holds an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee and a post-professional Masters in Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the College of Creative Studies and UC Berkeley, among others. He is the ultimate designer/builder, with a range of projects extending from the ghettos of Detroit to the agrarian slopes of southwestern Uganda.

Gauri Torgalkar is a native of India who received her her M.Arch. degree from Kent State University in 2003, and after almost a decade in this city, considers herself a Clevelander. Her thesis research focused on environments of healing, and her project for permanent, supportive housing for the homeless was developed in conjunction with a network of Cleveland community activists. Gauri first started working at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) as a student intern before becoming a full time employee. She has worked on numerous projects, including the STEPS bike & pedestrian maps, CSU Masterplan, Re-imagining a more sustainable Cleveland and Pop Up City’s events. Gauri is also actively involved in social, environmental and civic organizations including the Cleveland Coalition, Bioneers Cleveland, Architecture for Humanity, and Sadguru Shri Aniruddha Upasana Trust. Gauri also participates in the CUDC curriculum, teaching a course in graphic techniques for urban design and serves as a capstone adviser for M.UD students.

Tim Malinich is a horticulturist, chicken farmer and the Horticulture Extension Educator for the Ohio State University Lorain Extension.   Horticulture is defined as the science and art of growing fruit, flowers, ornamental plants and vegetables.   Throughout Northeast Ohio, Tim teaches people how to grow their own food, raise egg-laying chickens, compost, fertilize and control pests.   Tim resides in Lorain, Ohio with his family and his chickens (he built his coop from scratch).

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Tell your friends!

October 26th, 2010

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2010 Chicken Coop Design Competition

October 19th, 2010

In an effort to connect the local food movement (especially urban chicken keeping) and the design community with our work in Uganda, we launched a Chicken Coop Design Competition.

On July 21, 2010, we invited farmers, inventors, architects, designers, artists – ANYONE – to design a small-flock, backyard chicken coop that integrates aesthetics with utility, creatively (re)uses local materials and is ideal for urban settings.

The deadline for submissions was October 10th and the entries came in from all over the world — Italy, UK, Serbia, Pakistan, France, Quebec, Spain, India, South Africa and several of the 50 states!

A jury will pick one winner, up to 4 finalists and 10 honorable mentions.  There will also be a people’s choice prize winner.

We hope to modify the winning design(s) and build coops for our project participants in Uganda.

All of the chicken coop designs will be on display for public view at an exhibition in Cleveland on Friday, November 26 – more details to come.

Thanks and good luck to everyone that entered the competition!

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Fresh – urban agriculture event in Tremont

September 11th, 2010

The Poultry Team @ the Tremont Farmers Market

We’ve been attending farmers markets and local food events in Northeast Ohio throughout the summer promoting the Chicken Coop Design Competition.  Tomorrow, we’ll have a booth at Fresh – a local food event in Tremont (Cleveland, Ohio).  Come see us!  Here’s more info about the event from the Visible Voice bookstore (event host) blog:

Fresh : going local in an urban environment – Saturday, September 11, 12-9pm

We are pleased to present Fresh : going local in an urban environment, to take place on Saturday, September, 11 from noon-9. The event will include three screenings of the new documentary, Fresh, along with several presentations throughout the day by local foods activists and educators. In addition, there will be several in store promotions, samples from local farms, local wines will be featured in our wine bar and various nonprofits will have booths in our Garden Courtyard. $5 suggested donation (proceeds to benefit City Fresh).

The schedule for the day (subject to change):

Presentations (to be held in the Garden Courtyard, weather permitting)

12:30 – Lynn Rodemann of Devil’s Backbone Market and Educational Herb Farm
3:30 – Ohio City Near West on the new Ohio City Farm Project
6:00 – Tim Smith of the Cleveland Greenhouse Project
6:30 – Jody Lathwell of the Tremont Farmers Market and Josh Klein of Gordon Square Farmer’s Market and City Fresh
7:00 – Jonathan Hull from Green Triangle
Q and A

Fresh, The Movie Screenings (to be held in our meeting/performance space)

Film times are 1:00 pm, 4:30 pm (indoors) and 7:30 pm (outdoors weather permitting). Times subject to change.

All screenings are 25 people maximum. Reservations are required (please call the store).

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A Lesson in Creative Chicken Coop Design: Michael Thompson’s Car Coop

August 23rd, 2010

With the Poultry Project’s October 10 Chicken Coop Design Competition deadline fast approaching I thought I’d take the time to remind folks to get those submissions in and provide a little inspiration for those of you struggling to come up with a creative idea.

The coop pictured here was designed by Michael Thompson using half of a dead 1970 Morris Traveler, a vehicle designed by Britain’s Morris Motor Company (no worries, you won’t be competing against Thompson’s coop in our competition). This baby is pretty slick and proof that possibilities for a really creative design are limitless.

More photos of Thompson’s design are available at

For further information regarding the Poultry Project’s Chicken Coop Design Competition please go to

We anxiously await your submissions and appreciate your support and participation in the Chicken Coop Design Competition.


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