Photo by furtwangl via Flickr CC
Urban farming is all the rage these days, and chickens are increasingly chic. Many of us who dream of harvesting fresh eggs every day don't have the first clue about how to get started, or how to take care of a flock of layers - but a new solar-powered chicken coop design called the Front Yard Coop Full Monty just might take the guesswork (not to mention a lot of the hassle) out of keeping chickens.Developed in Katonah, N.Y., this mobile chicken coop was designed for the front yard - preferably one bounded by a fence or hedges, as it moves automatically throughout the day, ensuring that the chickens inside get some exercise, even when they're all cooped up; giving the chickens fresh forage; and spreading beneficial manure over the entire lawn. When the coop hits a dead end, so to speak, it's smart enough to reverse direction, keeping your chickens safe in your yard throughout the day.
Just fill the feed bin with grain and the water tank with water; this "smart coop" will dispense food and water at appropriate intervals, so you won't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make sure your feathered friends get fed. Roosting wastes are easily removed via a series of drawers, and foraging waste helps to keep your lawn green. Predators are repelled by an electrified fence (which won't hurt the chickens). We assume that the automatic motion of the coop also means that you can leave your flock for a few days if necessary, but as a good friend to your chickens, you'll want to let them out on a regular basis to free-range, as well.
The Front Yard Coop is available in various versions; Inhabitat reports that the Full Monty model measures 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and propels itself 16 feet every hour using energy from its (included) solar panels. It'll set you back $3,225 - but save you, of course, whatever you're currently shelling out for eggs.
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