In this recent TED Talk, architect Bjarke Ingels makes the case that sustainability can be fun. Or as he puts it: “Yes is more.” Rather than thinking of sustainability only as doing and using less (e.g, showering less, driving less, building less), we can also be sustainable in ways that create more. I couldn’t help but think that this applies to chicken coops as well. . . but more on that in a bit.
The best way to understand “yes is more” is to see Ingels’s work. There are a lot of nice “aha!” moments as you watch his projects evolve. In this one apartment project, for instance, practical solutions to problems open up a cascade of new sustainable opportunities. The final result is a beautiful mountain-like structure that rises up in an otherwise flat city, creating views, garden space, rainwater catchment, and community.
What’s this got to do with chicken coops?
Well, take the same idea to a smaller scale. If you build too simply in the name of sustainability or supposed economy, you may end up with an insufficient, annoying, or ugly(!) coop that burns you out on the hobby fast. But if you take the time to do it right, building it yourself to save money, your coop can be a lot more than basic shelter for your chickens.
Here’s are just some of the “mores” we’ve realized with our coops:
- more nutritious eggs
- more surface to catch rainwater
- more edges to grow fragrant plants, vegetables, and vines
- more visual interest in our garden
- more space to dry garlic and onions
- more fertilizer
- more confidence
- more fun!
What unexpected opportunities has keeping chickens opened up for you? Feel free to leave a comment.