Mobile Chicken Coop

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Empower Farms is a young, small farm with a big mission. In the words of Nicolas Miller, the farm's manager:
-In addition to farming good healthy food without chemicals and getting it to our customers while it is still fresh, our main purpose here is to incorporate people with disabilities into as many of our productive processes as possible and to give them a place to be active outside.  In addition to seeing the results of their efforts, the farms' participants learn about growing healthy food without damaging the environment, or better yet; healing it.

More than 500 people with disabilities participate in the farm as a place of learning and growth that is
both physical and emotional. The farm’s ability to work with people regardless of skills underscores the transformative mission of Empower Farms. Positioned on a narrow plot of land that runs roughly east/west in Homestead Florida, the different production areas include a nursery, vegetable garden, and fruit forest,
as well as areas undergoing habitat restoration, through re-introduction of native plants. Additionally, the increase of a small flock of chickens has created the need for expansion of space and equipment so that the farm can continue to be self-sustaining.

The Mobile Chicken Coop for Empower Farms is both rigid and lightweight so that it can be moved around the site without bottoming out or tipping over.  The mobility of the structure enables the farm to provide different foraging areas for the chickens through “free ranging” during the day. Free range chickens are generally healthier, and their roaming helps keep weed growth and insects under control.  This forage, along with grain, fruit and vegetable scraps, provide an important part of the chickens’ daily diet, and improve the quality of the eggs they produce.

The poultry house or coop provides the chickens a secure night location with protection from the elements and predators, as well as space for roosting, nesting and laying eggs.  It is designed to be easy to clean and maintain, since animal waste can make the structure smell, and promote bacterial growth and disease, adversely affecting the chicken’s health.

The design of the coop enables effective lighting, ease of feeding the chickens, egg collection and careful control of climate.  The coop also provides protection from theft, predators; (dogs, snakes, raccoons and lizards in particular), direct sunlight, rain, excessive wind, high heat or cold, and drastic changes in temperature.  In hot humid climates, proper ventilation is key to keeping chickens from overheating which is accomplished through the practical use of louvers.



Client: Empower Farms 

Students: Taylor Brophy, Rogelio Cadena, Gerardo Delgadillo, Nicolas Delgado Alcega, Maura Gergerich, Xinyu He Asrar Jasem, Adriana Mackliff, Megan Pimentel Lacey Stansel, Jessica Stefanick, Samuel Wyner

Faculty: Jim Adamson, Rocco Ceo