Industrial design student Stacey Kenny with her urban hen house.


Spent hen coop a design coup

Spent hens look set to get a new lease of life with a design that could allow them to recover and lay eggs for many years after being retired from commercial farms.

Final year industrial design student Stacey Kenny’s urban sanctuary for hens, called the Nest Urban Hen House, ensures hens earmarked for destruction get a good quality of life. Ms Kenny designed a rotating cage that gives the hens access to fresh grass, while the light in the roosting perch can be adjusted to help the birds, which are typically light-sensitive when they are first released from commercial farms.

The kitset hen house features at Exposure, the annual end-of year-design and art exhibition held as part of the BLOW creative arts festival.

The 21-year-old’s kitset design aims to encourage first-time hen keeping and provides support to ensure keepers understand everything they need to know about the hobby and how to get the best out of it for themselves and the poultry.

Ideally, Ms Kenny would like to work with a hen rescue agency to relocate commercially farmed hens, and then be able to provide everything from feed to vaccination supplies with a  “one-stop” hen house that should appeal to city dwellers.

“It’s definitely one of my main objectives to get people more interested in hens,” she says.

“I want to encourage families as well as future generations to learn about food traceability and where food comes from.”

Ms Kenny identified damage to property as a key deterrent from keeping hens so designed the Nest hen house to rotate 360 degrees. To achieve this the hen house is mounted on top of a ground spike. A bearing shaft protruding from the bottom of the hen house then slides into the ground spike and rotates on a system of bearings.

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