Really small spaces: Portland coop

We’ve written about very small living spaces before, but this 16-square-foot contemporary chicken coop wins the all-time prize in the category.

The three hens who live in this modernist dwelling must have very refined aesthetic sensibilities. I can easily imagine them inside the coop perched atop tiny Eames shell rockers discussing the exhibition of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel collection at the Portland Art Museum.

I’ll freely admit that the coop is a thing of beauty, but not everything with a clean and uncluttered design makes your life easier. Call me crazy, but I’m actually glad I can acquire eggs without engaging in small-scale urban subsistence poultry farming. Division of labor means I can make an omelet without the concomitant obligation of having to clean up chicken droppings.

I love Dwell, but I can’t wait for the guy who runs Unhappy Hipsters to have a little fun with this.

26 Comments for “Really small spaces: Portland coop”

  1. posted by Jonathan Gardner on

    While I think this is really great, I’m with you. I don’t think I will ever be a chicken farmer in downtown Houston.

  2. posted by NancyV908 on

    Um, a little off topic, but I have to thank you for pointing me to Unhappy Hipsters! (And again for Cake Wrecks, which I also found through you.)

  3. posted by Celeste on

    Oh FOR REAL. Green Acres is not for me.

  4. posted by Lindsay on

    I would love to have fresh, guilt-free eggs every morning! But I’d love for someone *else* to raise the free range chickens!

  5. posted by Samantha on

    I love eggs, I could eat them every day and fresh laid eggs when the birds get a varied diet taste the best.

    Chickens are so much fun and believe it or not relaxing and funny to have around. Not for everyone I suppose though. And sadly not for me again for the next year while we are living in an apartment. Love the coop and the idea of the herb garden on top I will have to steal the idea and put it in my when I get a garden again file.

  6. posted by ecuadoriana on

    Hmmm… See, I don’t eat eggs, or meat of any kind because I don’t subscribe to the horrible treatment of animals in factory farm slaughterhouses.

    However, this is a place I have to disagree with Erin. I think that if one is striving for their own version of an uncluttered and meaningful life- and THAT life means that they strive to be more cognizant of where their food comes from, and more compassionate towards their fellow creatures, great and small- then backyard/urban/self sustainable farming is the way to go.

    I know many people who physically built their own homes form salvaged/recycled materials, grow their own food using the manure from their own animals, and lead amazingly happy, creative, and fulfilled lives. One couple I know, besides doing all of the above, also own their own coffee roasting business and house painting business. They also have the freedom to travel around the world. They’re in their sixties and have been having a blast all their lives together!

    Not everyone’s version of a marvelous life is blindly eating food without considering its source so that they can have the freedom to work in a fluorescent lit cubicle farm all day. For many people, myself included, being in touch with my planet earth and the way the natural cycles work in harmony IS how our bliss is achieved. We lead uncluttered lives BECAUSE we choose not to surround ourselves with 24/7 blinking gadgets and stuff we don’t need. We choose to surround ourselves with nature and all its glorious bounty. Purchasing eggs from a store after they were trucked in from a factory farm is not some people’s idea of glorious bounty or an incredible life.

    So, this urban chicken coop is A-OK with me. Even though I don’t eat eggs- or chickens I’d love to have this coop just so I can have cute chickens running around my yard, fertilizing my grass, and eating the insects that live in the lawn. (See, nature has always been uncluttered and been marvelous, we just screwed it all up with our insatiable greed of wanting more. Now we have to read blogs to tell us how to get back to living uncluttered lives because we subconsciously know that we are unbalanced as a species. Ironic.)

  7. posted by chacha1 on

    Oddly enough, one of the top three considerations for me in looking for a retirement property is, can I have chickens. I’ve always liked them. … With some chickens and a garden and a small sustainable house, cost of living goes way down – physical activity goes way up. A good combination for the later years.

  8. posted by WilliamB on

    I understand Erin’s point about not wanting to tend chickens to get eggs. But my second thought was “Chicken droppings for the compost pile!”

  9. posted by Erin Doland on

    @WilliamB — PJ wrote this one. After multiple horrific run-ins with chickens on my grandparents’ farms, I have a hatred for chickens that runs incredibly deep. We thought it best for PJ to write this post so that my negative opinion of these wretched fowl didn’t completely color the article. 🙂

  10. posted by Jacquie on

    Have a look here for the omlet UK products. Far more attractive than the one you feature, and smaller footprint, and in different colours. Also a run available so the chickens can go outside.

    Easy to clean out too.

    Not affiliated in any way, except we have one of their beehaus. Most of our bees are in real wooden hives, some in heavy duty polystyrene (much lighter to move) and our one purple beehaus. We have yet to see how they overwinter in that one.

  11. posted by *pol on

    Having a small flock of chickens (3 or 4) is on my bucket list. We are allowed to have them in city limits, but I am still working on my husband that it would be “fun” and healthy and educational.

  12. posted by rosie_kate on

    Hmmm… it’s cute, but I just can’t imagine raising three hens. Three? But then, I have 15 hens and am only getting about three eggs a day, so maybe I’m the crazy one.

  13. posted by Steph on

    Even if you don’t want to raise hens yourself, if you do use eggs, it’s good to buy them from a local free-range farmer, rather than a large factory farm. We’re lucky enough to have several sources around town to obtain eggs where we know the hens are treated with love and care.

  14. posted by Judith on

    The “Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection”–LOL! I assume you know that “Vogel” means “bird” in German.

  15. posted by PJ Doland on

    Well done Judith. I was really hoping somebody would pick up on that.

  16. posted by klutzgrrl on

    I do eat meat and eggs, because I’m evolved to be an omnivore.

    Loved the ‘division of labour’ comment – we have a veggie garden and I’d love to have chickens, but the reality is that ‘the simple life’ is NOT that simple – it’s hard work and time consuming and intellectually not all that rigorous. I’m just glad that all our doctors, dentists, and vast numbers of other highly trained essential people don’t decide to chuck it in and ‘get in touch with the earth’!

    I’d love to know what this funky coop is like ‘in practice’. Often elegant design isn’t always the most functional. The coop I have my eye on is called a ‘chickentractor’ or chook tractor, with an inelegant but weatherproof corrugated iron shed at one end and lots of wire. It keeps the foxes out, and you can move it around the garden so that they have fresh places to scratch.

  17. posted by Ange on

    Our PDX fame is now official – we’re on Unclutterer! WOOT!

  18. posted by Greg on

    Funny I have been completely fastinated by backyard coops of late. We have a small lot, but we could have a coop. I have seen some very creative structures. Thanks for sharing!

  19. posted by Paper Roll on

    I can’t keep pet fish alive, so i think chickens are out of the question. Would love to have my own coop though.

  20. posted by Sue on

    Several coworkers keep chickens, and none of them complain about it. They all seem to enjoy it.

  21. posted by Jude2004 on

    Chickens are actually wonderful to keep. My grandmother, who lived next door to me when I was a child and teen, had chickens which I regularly took care of. There are few things more fun than reaching under a hen to pull out a warm, newly-hatched egg. The work isn’t that much compared to the joy.

  22. posted by ecuadoriana on

    I need to add a few things: One, I mistakenly thought this was posted today by Erin. So, I apologize. Second, I’d like to add that for those who are seeing raising chickens, or urban farming, as “hard work” and “time consuming”, isn’t it ironic that a lot of times this blog talks about “scheduling” time for exercise! Here we have the opportunity to get two for one: Exercise AND fresh/conscientious food. And if there are kids involved this can become an educational experience as well. Educational for adults,too. One learns that there ARE benefits to physical labor, and not everything will be literally handed to us on a silver deviled egg platter.

    Klutzgrrl mentioned that raising chickens is “intellectually not all that rigorous”. Cleaning out toilet bowls and doing laundry isn’t all that intellectually rigorous either, but we have to do them anyway. And if we get Zen about it we can be grateful that we have those things in our lives like clothes and toilets and fridges, etc., whilst cleaning them. Menial labor can be an opportunity to meditate on the things to be grateful for. And rather than paying for a sweat yoga class to sit in a twisted position and say “Om”, one can shed a few pounds just by doing some rigorous work while saying “Om”!

  23. posted by Linda on

    If it’s about small living spaces, you must give credit to mainstream industrial chicken farms….

    No one keeps chickens in a smaller space than them! 😉 VERY ‘efficient’ (sarcastic, of course)

  24. posted by klutzgrrl on

    ecuadoriana, nobody is saying that raising chickens, food gardens and so on isn’t a worthwhile endeavor, it certainly is, these activities should not be presented as some sort of morally superior way of life.

    For some people they are certainly a good and productive activity, but for others it’s just frustration and wasted money.

    Not all of us are paying for yoga classes – I get more than enough exercise caring for my home, garden and family. I have plenty of Zen time cleaning toiled bowls and hanging laundry and I don’t really need any extra shoveling chook poo.

  25. posted by Dave C on

    *GASP* They have chickens AND plants… Whilst people have a romantic view of raising animals for food, having raised chickens for some time now, I guarantee that’s not going to last… For anyone considering keeping chickens, please be aware that they will scratch through your soil and dig/peck your plants until there is nothing left except mud! All too often I have seen neighbours get chickens only to get rid of them later in horror that their garden is no longer pristine.

  26. posted by Celeste on

    I loved this post! For several months, I have been contemplating having chickens and have been searching out different coop ideas. How funny that as much time I’ve been putting into it, searching, this post actually found me. You see, I have a link for unclutterer on my blog roll – but never expected to see Chickens or PDX.

    Here’s a coop that I found last night that I thought was very interesting, though NOT for me. I do have a place in my yard that a traditional coop will fit, but this one looks like it is designed for an apartment balcony! They call them “Luxury Chicken Residences”. Cute design, though I feel bad for cramped chickens and giggled at the $4000 price tag. Farming just ain’t what it used to be…

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