Forget McMansions or the sleek modern homes that grace the pages of Dwell Magazine. The hot new real estate in the freakish property market is a chicken coop.
I first spotted the trend on a visit to L.A. where I caught up with an old friend and novelist, Sally Nemeth. The backyard of her cozy hacienda in Echo Park features an airy bungalow for her two hens. The birds produce two, maybe four fresh eggs a day. If you've ever tasted a fresh egg, its like the difference between a fresh tomato and a store-bought one. World's apart.
With a little scratching around I discovered a large stash of articles and websites devoted to the topic of raising backyard hens. Seems Sally's part of a growing trend of people who raise the backyard fowl to harvest fresh eggs and eat local--super local.
It's only natural that the equipment demands would trigger something of a consumer boomlet in hen houses. Designs, kits, DIY manuals. It's a fusion of back-to-nature self-sufficiency and conspicuous consumption. Whether this is part of the locavore movement, or an economic backstop, it's pretty clear that American families are taking more control over the food in their daily lives. Look for pressure on more urban districts to loosen bans on raising backyard foul.
photo courtesy of Justy