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Neiman Marcus

11 Snazzy Chicken Coops for Backyard Poultry Farmers

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Neiman Marcus

You no longer have to settle for a boring boxy coop for your backyard brood. Here are eleven coops that break the mold.

1. The Hobbit Hole Chicken Coop

Etsy

A chicken coop with round doors and round windows? I'm sold.

2. The Nogg

Nogg

This egg-shaped sculptural coop houses 2-4 chickens. It's so pretty I'm checking my pockets to see if I have an extra few thousand dollars I forgot about.

3. The Stoop Coop

Just Fine Design

This coop is built to look like a short flight of stairs, and is made for small urban back yards. This designer's coops are all pretty great, but this one fits the bill for city dwellers who just want to keep three or four hens.

4. The Chicken Tractor

Williams Sonoma

This no-frills coop can be moved around your yard. It has a cedar shake roof and pine siding.

5. The Eglu by Omelet

Omlet

Cute name, cute house. This bright plastic coop will fit right in with your kid's garishly colored backyard playhouse. It looks like it would hose off much more easily than the wood coops.

6. The Green Roof

Williams Sonoma

For the space-conscious poultry farmer, this coop includes a rooftop garden to shade the chickens when they're in their spacious 25-square-foot run.

7. Reclaimed and Rustic

Williams Sonoma

Everybody likes reclaimed. This one is made of old redwood fencing.

8. The Little Winnebago

Modern Coops

Also made out of reclaimed wood, this coop looks a little like an old school mobile home, complete with racing stripes. The little windows in the roosting area are especially charming.

9. The Miniature House

Etsy
This chicken coop is built to look like a tiny house, complete with shutters on the windows. The linoleum inside adds a homey touch.

10. The Buckingham Chicken House

Chicken Houses World

Your very British chickens will appreciate this indoor-outdoor living experience in the Buckingham Palace of henhouses. It's made out of Scandinavian redwood.

11. Beau Coop

Neiman Marcus

Last but not least, this six-figure chicken coop costs more than the homes of many humans. Your chickens will enjoy a chandelier and other posh decor inspired by the Palace of Versailles. When you purchase the coop, Neiman Marcus will make a $3000 donation to a nonprofit that helps conserve endangered livestock breeds.

Additional Sources: DesignSwan and Curbed.

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Sylke Rohrlach, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0
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Animals
Scientists Discover 'Octlantis,' a Bustling Octopus City
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Sylke Rohrlach, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

Octopuses are insanely talented: They’ve been observed building forts, playing games, and even walking on dry land. But one area where the cephalopods come up short is in the social department. At least that’s what marine biologists used to believe. Now a newly discovered underwater community, dubbed Octlantis, is prompting scientists to call their characterization of octopuses as loners into question.

As Quartz reports, the so-called octopus city is located in Jervis Bay off Australia’s east coast. The patch of seafloor is populated by as many as 15 gloomy octopuses, a.k.a. common Sydney octopuses (octopus tetricus). Previous observations of the creatures led scientists to think they were strictly solitary, not counting their yearly mating rituals. But in Octlantis, octopuses communicate by changing colors, evict each other from dens, and live side by side. In addition to interacting with their neighbors, the gloomy octopuses have helped build the infrastructure of the city itself. On top of the rock formation they call home, they’ve stored mounds of clam and scallop shells and shaped them into shelters.

There is one other known gloomy octopus community similar to this one, and it may help scientists understand how and why they form. The original site, called Octopolis, was discovered in the same bay in 2009. Unlike Octlantis, Octopolis was centered around a manmade object that had sunk to the seabed and provided dens for up to 16 octopuses at a time. The researchers studying it had assumed it was a freak occurrence. But this new city, built around a natural habitat, shows that gloomy octopuses in the area may be evolving to be more social.

If that's the case, it's unclear why such octo-cities are so uncommon. "Relative to the more typical solitary life, the costs and benefits of living in aggregations and investing in interactions remain to be documented," the researchers who discovered the group wrote in a paper published in Marine and Freshwater Behavior and Physiology [PDF].

It’s also possible that for the first time in history humans have the resources to see octopus villages that perhaps have always been bustling beneath the sea surface.

[h/t Quartz]

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This Just In
Criminal Gangs Are Smuggling Illegal Rhino Horns as Jewelry
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iStock

Valuable jewelry isn't always made from precious metals or gems. Wildlife smugglers in Africa are increasingly evading the law by disguising illegally harvested rhinoceros horns as wearable baubles and trinkets, according to a new study conducted by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

As BBC News reports, TRAFFIC analyzed 456 wildlife seizure records—recorded between 2010 and June 2017—to trace illegal rhino horn trade routes and identify smuggling methods. In a report, the organization noted that criminals have disguised rhino horns in the past using all kinds of creative methods, including covering the parts with aluminum foil, coating them in wax, or smearing them with toothpaste or shampoo to mask the scent of decay. But as recent seizures in South Africa suggest, Chinese trafficking networks within the nation are now concealing the coveted product by shaping horns into beads, disks, bangles, necklaces, and other objects, like bowls and cups. The protrusions are also ground into powder and stored in bags along with horn bits and shavings.

"It's very worrying," Julian Rademeyer, a project leader with TRAFFIC, told BBC News. "Because if someone's walking through the airport wearing a necklace made of rhino horn, who is going to stop them? Police are looking for a piece of horn and whole horns."

Rhino horn is a hot commodity in Asia. The keratin parts have traditionally been ground up and used to make medicines for illnesses like rheumatism or cancer, although there's no scientific evidence that these treatments work. And in recent years, horn objects have become status symbols among wealthy men in countries like Vietnam.

"A large number of people prefer the powder, but there are those who use it for lucky charms,” Melville Saayman, a professor at South Africa's North-West University who studies the rhino horn trade, told ABC News. “So they would like a piece of the horn."

According to TRAFFIC, at least 1249 rhino horns—together weighing more than five tons—were seized globally between 2010 and June 2017. The majority of these rhino horn shipments originated in southern Africa, with the greatest demand coming from Vietnam and China. The product is mostly smuggled by air, but routes change and shift depending on border controls and law enforcement resources.

Conservationists warn that this booming illegal trade has led to a precipitous decline in Africa's rhinoceros population: At least 7100 of the nation's rhinos have been killed over the past decade, according to one estimate, and only around 25,000 remain today. Meanwhile, Save the Rhino International, a UK-based conservation charity, told BBC News that if current poaching trends continue, rhinos could go extinct in the wild within the next 10 years.

[h/t BBC News]

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