ChickenCrib
Rusty Lamer has the bio you'd expect of someone who designs mansions for chickens. After graduating in 2007 from UC Berkeley with a Master’s degree in landscape architecture, he worked as a clown in a traveling circus. On returning to the Bay Area, he found an “urban agriculture scene that had totally blown up.” He cannily realized that at-home livestock was a natural evolution; and previously, while touring the U.S., he'd already fallen in love with a “goofy, curious, and fun” brood of chickens who'd slept alongside him, in a barn. So he teamed up with former Berkeley classmate Andreas Stavropoulos to create a stylish coop for city folks called the ChickenCrib.
ChickenCrib
"We posted on Craigslist to see if people would be interested in having coops made and got a bunch of requests in the first 24 hours,” explains Lamer. The first ChickenCrib prototypes were made from salvaged materials. But orders outpaced supply. Lamer and Stavropoulos looked for a quicker and cheaper--but still eco-friendly--method.
ChickenCrib
In the end, they designed the Crib from panels of sustainably grown, outdoor-rated Oregon plywood, cut to precision specs with a computer-controlled ShopBot at a small facility in Oakland.
ChickenCrib
The coop’s triangular shape allowed them to use as little construction material as possible--just three sheets of plywood for each unit. The Crib’s roof and roost-area floor are made from domestic recycled polyethylene and galvanized metal screening.
ChickenCrib
Each ChickenCrib costs $550 and ships as a kit. Once set-up, it can accommodate three or four hens who’ll lay about a dozen eggs a week. Don’t have a backyard? (Stavropoulos actually lives in an Airstream trailer.) The company’s planning to donate coops to various schools and city gardens.
ChickenCrib
As for the best place to find chicks, think rural. While ChickenCribs’ biggest competition--the Eglu--provide hens as part of the purchase price, Lamer and Stavropoulos believe it’s important for prospective urban agriculturalists to personally source their fowl.
ChickenCrib

“One of the best parts of owning chickens is developing a relationship with a farm,” explains Lamer. “You should have an idea of where they’re raised.”

[Pictured: A flap for viewing the hen's in their nests, and the eggs they're laying]