Williams-Sonoma brings to mind beautiful china, gourmet kitchen tools and pricey pots and pans. Chicken coops? Not so much.
But handmade hen houses are part of a new line of home and garden goods, launched last spring. The avian abodes are made by several vendors, including Laughing Chickens, a Northern California company.
"Our agrarian collection offers products that support a lifestyle of healthy living and brings the virtues of homegrown and homemade into our customers' everyday lives," a Williams-Sonoma spokesperson told us in an email.
Backyard coops are a popular trend, although not every city allows them, according to The New York Times. As previously reported in Squid Ink, raising chickens in LA County is "mostly legal." (But if you live in a community with a homeowners' association, you should probably check on their policy before you adopt a bunch of feathered friends.)
Laughing Chickens rustic coops are made from reclaimed redwood fence boards, which would most likely end up in landfills, if co-owners Cael Kendall and Kristian Hansen didn't grab them first. The wood typically is left over from construction projects, such as fences, patios and decks.
"Redwood is one of the best outdoor woods," Kendall and Hansen explained in an email. "We do not paint our coops, like many of our competitors. We don't think paint is good for the environment or your chickens (they will peck and eat paint chips.)"
There are other chicken coops in the marketplace, but many of those are made from plywood treated to look old. Laughing Chickens doesn't have to do anything artificial to "make our coops look rustic because in fact their provenance as 50-year-old fences has accomplished this task."
Kendall and Hansen grew up in the redwood forests of Marin. All of the Laughing Chickens coops are made by hand in Mill Valley, north of San Francisco. The pair told us: "As conservationists, designers and woodworkers it seemed like a no-brainer that saving trees and reinterpreting them into backyard chicken coops should be happening here in Northern California."
The coops, which cost between $400 and $1,200 are only sold online. And, no, they don't come with chickens. But Williams-Sonoma offers some basic guidelines and several books to help you learn how to get started. The Los Angeles Public Library has a good selection, as well. And there's always Raising Chickens for Dummies.
Creating a poultry safe haven can be a rewarding and unique experience, according to Kendall and Hansen: "Young children, neighbors, friends and family all share in the delightful bounty that arrives with chickens. If you have kids and want to teach them about animals and responsibility then there is something special about incorporating our coops into your backyard."
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And the fresh eggs are nice, too.
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