Feldman found Waters' company, Handcrafted Coops, to be an awesome alternative to the Eglu, which is quickly become the most popular coop for amateur backyard enthusiasts, the--"Frank Gehry-designed modernist coop," as Feldman calls it. The Eglu is made of polyethylene plastic and shaped like a spaceship.
Waters' coops--of which there's just one A-frame model--are the complete antithesis. "The look of the coop is based on a traditional design used by a lot of henkeepers in Britain," Waters says. "But that ark A-frame structure -- that was just a design experiment." The handcrafted coop is a simple but sleek little chicken home.
How did someone get from TV news to handcrafted chicken coops? For Waters, it started with the Park Slope Food Co-Op, one of the oldest in the country and a cultural touchstone for new Brooklynites. That, and the increasingly inescapable presence of what we can call the Michael Pollan School-"eat food, not too much, mostly plants"-of eating. "People are becoming more and more aware of wanting to control the source of their food," Waters says. "It was both a design desire and seeing a need that was lacking." Waters' coops are manufactured by a local woodshop and pack flat for shipping to anywhere his customers are; typically hippy places like Madison, Wisconsin; Portland, Oregon; and Austin, Texas are big on his waybills.
Feldman isn't sure how his experiment is going to pan out, but one thing's for certain: it looks like we're en route to a chicken coop coup.