Why go to the grocery store for eggs when you can visit your own backyard? The Rule the Roost Coop Design Challenge aims to make high quality, sustainable and humane chicken coops accessible to every-day people who want a low-cost way to get started with chicken keeping.
This Challenge seeks a novel design for an entry level chicken coop that meets standard requirements for the welfare and comfort of chickens, as well as being cost-effective, easy to ship and assemble, and a good-looking addition to anyone’s backyard. We welcome entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, students, and anyone eager to contribute to jump into this challenge and to find a solution.
Quality chicken coops are expensive to make. For people who are new to raising chickens, it is often hard to justify the high price associated with professional set ups. Some cheaper options exist; however, these are often made with poor quality materials, treated with substances that may not be food-safe, and designed without sustainability and longevity in mind. They often don't provide adequate protection for the chickens from predators and are not user friendly.
Why Does this Problem Exist?
Like us, chickens have particular requirements when it comes to their homes. They need their homes to be safe, secure, private (for laying eggs!), and free from harmful chemicals. These features have traditionally been achieved through conventional woodworking techniques, but this results in coops that are expensive to manufacture and difficult to ship and time consuming to assemble.
Challenge sponsor Roost & Root believes that new chicken coop designs which efficiently make use of CNC router manufacturing techniques can lower chicken coop costs without compromising the quality of the chicken’s homes.
The Challenge Breakthrough
Increasing the accessibility and affordability of quality chicken coops will enable novice chicken keepers to pursue their interest in raising chickens with the confidence that their chickens have the best quality homes. Raising chickens will provide individuals and families with a fun activity and the satisfaction of local access to humanely-sourced eggs.
What You Can Do To Cause A Breakthrough
Chickens need good homes, and chicken keeping should be easy and affordable for everyone. This challenge asks you to develop and submit novel designs that use CNC manufacturing techniques to build quality, cost-effective chicken coops that will house four chickens and is suitable for beginner chicken keepers.
The Challenge Sponsor Roost & Root, takes pride in their range of beautifully crafted, durable, safe, high quality chicken coops. They want to extend their range of products to be able to offer an entry level chicken coop to budding chicken keepers who want a low cost way of getting started with raising chickens that does not compromise the quality & value of their brand
One goal of this challenge is the incorporation of cost effective CNC manufacturing techniques, which are a means of reducing production costs for many different manufactured products. CNC stands for Computer Numerically Controlled, and these machines are able to operate via a computer program to make very precise cuts in almost any flat material. This allows for panel-based construction (e.g., with notches/patterns cut into panels), which provides benefits for reducing manufacturing costs as well as paving the way for innovative designs that allow for flat-packing and improvements to overall design aesthetics and ease of assembly.
The purpose of this challenge is to take advantage of these benefits to design an entry level chicken coop specifically catered for construction using CNC techniques. In order to achieve this, important considerations for the design are provided below.
There are lots of ways that standard coop designs can be innovated but no design would be complete without thinking about the requirements of the chickens and the people who keep them.
The goal of a good chicken coop is to keep chickens safe from predators, protected from weather, while allowing them easy access to food, water, privacy for roosting, and enough room to comfortably flourish.
Below are some specific guidelines to help you meet the needs of the chickens. How you meet these guidelines is completely up to you.
Space for 4 hens on the ground in the main part of the coop – at least 4 square feet (1.2 square meters) per hen
Protection from the elements
Adequate refuge from sun, wind, snow and rain if needed while still letting some sun in to dry things up.
Protection from predators
The coop must be strong enough to withstand attempts made by animals like dogs and foxes to get in.
Built-in water dispenser
Water dispenser needs to be about 15 inches from the ground and hold enough water for at least 4 days.
Feeder needs to be easily accessible to the chickens and be big enough for the occupants and last for at least 4 days.
Access to the roost
Some form of ramp or jumping bars to allow hens to travel between the ground and the roost
An elevated space for 4 hens to sleep or get out of inclement weather.
Around 8 inches (length) of roost bar space per hen, with adequate space around the roost bar to allow the hen to gain access and perch.
Minimum 15 x 15 x 15 inches (38 x 38 x 38 centimetres)
Provide enough coverage to block out light - chickens like to lay eggs in the dark
Egg box should not be placed directly underneath the roost (chickens poop while they sleep) and optimally below roost height to discourage hens from sleeping in the egg box.
This coop will be aimed at customers new to chicken keeping. It’s important to ensure their experience is as hassle-free as possible as they learn the ropes of their new hobby.
Below are some specific guidelines to help you meet the needs of the keepers. Again, how you meet these guidelines is completely up to you.
Ease of egg collection
Easy access to eggs, preferably from outside the coop
Ease of feeding/watering
Low-fuss means of filling food and water dispensers, preferably from outside the coop
Ease of cleaning
Ability to clean all parts of the coop without requiring acrobatic skills!
Ease of chicken access
A secure opening from the run in case the keeper wants to let the chickens out for a stroll. Ability for a keeper to easily “grab” a cooped up hen is a bonus in case medical care or grooming is required.
Figure 1. Visualization of important components. Note that shape and location of each of the components in the visualization is for illustration purposes only (unless otherwise specified).
The main considerations in terms of manufacturability are safety, affordability and sustainability. In addition, the solution should be specially designed for construction using CNC manufacturing techniques.
Due to the versatility of CNC cutting, you can propose any type of building materials, as long as they satisfy the below requirements:
As much of the design should be made using CNC manufacturing techniques as possible. If not 100% manufacturable using CNC, there should be good reasons for the parts that are not. some limited hand work is acceptable. CNC machinery required must be easily obtainable and not too costly.
The total raw materials should cost less than $100 USD per coop
Materials must be durable, safe for food use/contact and not require any paint or surface treatments before being used outside
Materials should be aesthetically pleasing. For example, if the materials you have chosen have natural colours, do they work well together? Is the finished product likely to look appealing in someone’s backyard?
Raw materials are preferably sustainably sourced
Just as streamlining manufacturing costs enables these entry-level coops to be affordable, so does reducing shipping costs. Ideally, the design will be able to be flat packed to save on packing space. However, as we all know, if something comes in too many pieces and the manual is too complicated, it’s not fun for anyone! A design that strikes a good balance between efficiency in packing and ease of assembly will be a significant benefit.
Standard guidelines for weight and size limits for shipping in the US are provided below:
The more compact and light your design can be in packed form, the more affordable it will be to ship, which will be a significant advantage. However, keep in mind that the design still needs to be easily assembled and made to be strong and sturdy.
Finally, some additional features that are desired but not required include:
This challenge will award up to $10,000 to up to 5 teams, as follows:
The challenge is open to all adult individuals and private teams. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English. Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx).
No specific qualifications or expertise in the field of engineering, farming or chicken keeping is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.
To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.
Registration and Submissions:
Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, on or before the posted contest deadline. All uploads must be in Sketchup .skp (preferred) or compatible .3ds format. No late submissions will be accepted.
This challenge allows multiple submissions per individual/team. Should you have multiple entries to submit to this challenge, they will be considered separately. Whether or not multiple entries from the same individual or team may be chosen for a prize is up to the discretion of the Challenge Sponsor. You are not required to submit multiple entries, if that option is available.
Intellectual Property Rights:
As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement – Competitors will transfer the IP to the contest sponsor but, sponsor will agree to in return, give royalty free permission to use the IP so long as it does not compete with the contest sponsors commercial interests. It is the intention of the Sponsor to seek patents on any novel elements to the design and appropriately include designers as the inventors or co-inventors.
Selection of Winners:
Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the Judging Criteria section above. In the case of but a tie, the winner(s) will be selected based on the highest votes from the Judges.
In the case of no winner, Sponsor reserves the right to withhold the Prize amount. In place of the original prize amount, Sponsor must issue a Consolation Prize to the team or individual closest to the winning solution in the amount of at least 15% of the total original prize purse.
Awarding of the Prize:
The Individual Submitter or Team Captain is automatically designated as the Recipient of the prize monies. The Individual’s or Captain’s name must also match the Authorized Person on the receiving Bank Account. No changes are permitted to the prize Recipient after the Submission Deadline date. If you wish to change who would receive the prize monies, those changes must be completed prior to the Submission Deadline. View our Knowledge Base article here for how to change Team Captains.
The determination of the winners will be made by the sponsor, Roost & Root.