Suburban Chicken Keeping

Chicken keeping in the suburbs is considered a trendy thing to do these days. But this “trend” is almost a hundred years old, as seen in this Lay or Bust Yearbook and Almanac from 1921.

illustration from the Lay or Bust Yearbook, 1921
collection of Terry Golson,

This coop style remains a practical design, and books from that era give directions for how to build them out of piano crates.


  1. Makes me nostalgic for good old American “know how” and thriftiness.

  2. Such a great picture of the nuclear family, with the father looking off into the future…

  3. Hard to tell for sure, but I’ll bet the wife is wearing pumps with that apron.

    • That’s the one that I was telling you about. It was a classic coop back around 1915 to 1930. Perfect design. Airy, light, easy to clean, flexible both as a brooder and as a laying hen coop. New England is dotted with them. With a slight variation they were the coops used for the big laying hen farms that kept the hens on pasture. For those they were built on skids and were moved by teams of horses to fresh ground.