Significant Design Award for Old Collegian

August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Hens that have spent their lives in ‘battery-style’ farms look set to get a new lease of life with a design that could allow them to recover and lay eggs for many years after being retired from commercial farms.

Former student Stacey Kenny, who has just graduated with 1st Class Honours from her industrial design course at Massey University, has come to the attention of the design world resulting in a nomination for a prestigious international award.

Stacey designed an urban sanctuary for hens called the Nest Urban Hen House during her final year of university study. Stacey’s hope is that hens earmarked for destruction after a lifetime of laying eggs on battery farms will get a good quality of life in their ‘retirement’ years rather than be destroyed. Stacey designed a rotating cage that gives the hens access to fresh grass while the light in the roosting perch can be adjusted to help the birds, which are typically light-sensitive when they are first released from commercial farms. Stacey said she was inspired to come up with this design after sharing a flat during her university years with two vegetarians and a vegan who opened her eyes to the plight of animals in our food chain. This set her on a year-long research path to design a hen coop that has the ethical treatment of the hens uppermost in the design.

Stacey’s kitset design aims to encourage first-time hen keeping and provides support to ensure keepers understand everything they need to know about the hobby and how to get the best out of it for themselves and the poultry. She identified damage to property as a key deterrent from keeping hens so designed the hen house to rotate 360 degrees. To achieve this, the house is mounted on top of a ground spike. A bearing shaft protruding from the bottom of the hen house then slides into the ground spike and rotates on a system of bearings.

Ideally, she would like to work with a hen rescue agency to relocate commercially farmed hens and then be able to provide everything from feed to vaccination supplies with a ‘one-stop’ hen house that should appeal to city dwellers. She would like to get more people interested in the plight of battery hens while encouraging families and future generations to learn about food traceability and where food comes from.

Stacey’s design has been recognised by the design world. The kitset hen house first featured at Exposure, the annual end-of year-design and art exhibition held as part of the BLOW creative arts festival at Massey University. Her design went on to be entered in the internationally recognised Red Dot Awards for Product Design which receives entries from over 50 countries. Stacey received one of the top prizes, ‘Best of the Best Award,’ a prize reserved for the best products in a category; in this instance awarded for groundbreaking design. The Red Dot competition for Design Concepts and Prototypes is held annually in Singapore. The highest award for the best of all concepts is the Red Dot Luminary which includes prize money of $5,000. Stacey is one of three in the world who has been nominated for a Luminary out of over 5000 entries. The final judging will take place at the Red Dot Museum in Singapore in late October.

The design was also featured on TVNZ’s early morning breakfast television. We look forward to hearing news from the October Award Ceremony in Singapore and wish her well. 

Photo supplied with thanks to Massey News.


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