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Space-saving chicken coop includes rooftop veggie patch


November 21, 2010

The Kippenhouse chicken coop roof is deep enough to grow vegetables (Credit: Traci Fontyn)

The Kippenhouse chicken coop roof is deep enough to grow vegetables (Credit: Traci Fontyn)

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Having chickens and vegetables in your backyard is great for self-sustainability, but what if I want both in a small space? Seattle-based architect turned-self-starter Traci Fontyn has the solution in the form of the Kippen House; a modular chicken coop with a rooftop vegetable garden that creates a looped ecosystem to benefit both your home-grown veggies and eggs.

The Kippen House (“chicken-house” in Dutch) is a modular chicken coop that comes in two main types; the Garden Roof Chicken Coop – a coop with a roof garden 8” deep, enough to grow small vegetables; and the Vertical Garden Chicken Coop – a coop with a sloped roof directly run-off rain to a vertical garden wall with containers for small plants like herbs or strawberries. The coops are designed with three foot interchangeable panels that can be assembled according to the requirements of each yard and covered with the material of choice; either wood slats, wire, egg hatch door, wood gate, wire gate or with external vertical garden. The modular design leave the option open for expansion in the future.

Apart from its modular design, the advantages to the Kippen House are numerous. It's multi-functional, providing twice the food opportunity in half the space and the chickens are kept insulated from extreme temperatures. It utilizes permaculture principals and creates a looped ecosystem – manure and eggshells are composted and used as organic fertilizer in the garden, garden scraps are fed to the chickens, and you get to eat the veggies and the eggs. Win-win!

Traci makes each chicken coop to order, needing 1-2 weeks lead time, and 2 days to assemble on-site. For $875 (+ $80 delivery charge within 50-200 miles of the Seattle area only), your customized 3' x 6'7” Douglas fir coop comes with:

  • 1 x roof choice
  • 6 x wall panels
  • 1 x nesting box
  • 3 x roosting poles
  • 1 x feeder box

Traci is diversifying with the addition of new products; a compost bin, a garden box on casters, a bee hive, an extra chicken run attachment, and garden trellis.


Great idea! Saves bending over tending the vegetables.

I think the same idea could be applied to rabbits, without the eggs of course... Most people think of rabbits as meat or fur, but their best asset is under capitalised. Rabbits are natures recyclers, and that means most of what they eat is passed out as nutrient rich manure.

Rabbits save the world?

Facebook User

Nice design .. although the concept is limited by the need for the plants to get sunlight. Normally, one would want the animals up top, so that products of their \'internal combustion\' systems would then be gravity-fed to plants below. Unfortunately, such a design would compromise sunlight on the veggies.

One answer might be to separate the units: imagine moving the top \'floor\' to the side. This gives the same available \'ground living/storage space but now with the advantage of gravity-feed and sunlight to plants. This approach\'s drawback might be that it does reduce direct sunlit ground-space area.

tkjtkj@gmail.com design consulting: inventathing.com


I love this concept!! As food prices continue to rise, more and more folks are looking to return to growing their food. I hope they add a winter box to the roof kit so you can grow all year long!

Green roofs are really popping up everywhere. Recently, it has been subway roofs (http://cleanerairforcities.blogspot.com/2010/05/transbay-transit-center-green-roof.html) as well as bus shelters!

My only criticism is that $895 is pretty steep. I wonder if they would be willing to sell the plans to individuals for something like $300?


Thanks for the comments!

@tkj The only problem with directly delivering the poo to the garden is it needs to be composted first. Fresh poo will burn the plants. But it would be great if there was a way to make it that easy!

@gormanwvzb Winter box is definitely on the list of to-do\'s....as well as figuring out a way to flat pack ship for your assembly. Selling plans is a bit lower on my list as I\'m unsure if I want to go that route yet. So much to do, so little time!

Traci Fontyn

Although it seems that the government wants to know how much garden space each citizen is using. Do they want to regulate this, too, I wonder? And why?

Julie Achterhoff

I remember reading on the instructable DIY website about raising chickens at home for meat and eggs... and the difficulty in doing so.

After all the hundreds of dollars were spent, and all they got were a few eggs...before the coyotes and foxes ran off with their chickens: the person lamented about how just expensive those few eggs were!

Some things are just better off centralized, unless you have the farmland and the modicum of expertise to keep farm animals alive, for cheap.

Matt Rings

For free plans, just google \"free chickne coop plans\". There\'s a lot out there. Make sure that your city allows backyard chicken coops. Most do, nowadays. Also get your neighbors\' okays as some chickens can be noisy. There are breeds that are fairly quiet. I keep getting the urge myself to build a coop and obtain a few chickens. We travel a lot and I hate to ask the neighbors to manage my fowl pets but maybe I could entice them with the free eggs? We do have a small garden that the one neighbor takes care of and gets the free veggies. It is a great idea in these uncertain times to have chickens and a garden. A small greenhouse would be great too for wintertime gardening.

Dean Mindock

Very innovative idea! When building a chicken coop it\'s a good idea to have some plans. DIY chicken coop plans are a good way to go. For other ideas on building your own chicken coop plans check out http://www.diychickencoopplans.net/how-to-build-a-chicken-coop-with-diy-instructions/

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