VIDEO: Clog-free way to keep debris out of your rain barrel

I changed out our rain barrel filter today and shot this quick video to show how we keep leaves and roof debris from entering our barrels.

Simply wrap a nylon stocking over the funnel between your downspout or diverter and your barrel. Insert the closed end of the stocking into the barrel and let it hang down. Debris will collect at the end, but won’t impede the flow of water (at least not for a while), since the stocking stretches and remains permeable above the debris.

Make It Your Own: Michelle’s “Hippie Chicks” Chicken Coop, Durham, North Carolina

Hippie Chicks chicken coop from The Basic Coop plans
Michelle built this adorable North Carolina chicken coop using The Basic Coop plans and hardware kit. Her four chicks moved in in the fall, and she wrote recently to say that they made it through the cold, snowy winter with no issues — and no added light or heat (or lava lamps).  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: “Krewe of Coops” Virtual Chicken Coop Tour, No. 2

It’s time again for the Krewe of Coops, a celebration of what people have been building with our chicken coop plans. This time, we’re featuring The Garden Coop design exclusively, with nine fantastic examples from across the U.S. and one from Australia. So gather your feathered friends, find a comfy perch, and enjoy the parade!

Read more and discuss »

GIVEAWAY: Enter today for a chance to win free chicken coop plans

As part of Backyard Poultry Magazine’s Giveaway Thursday promotion, you could win a free set of our chicken coop or run plans. Visit this post on their Facebook page and let them know which of our designs you’d most like to build. They’ll select and announce a winner very soon. Good luck!

PS: You’re more than welcome to leave a comment here, but you must comment on their post to enter.

VIDEO: Chickens exploring The Garden Run

I shot this just after opening up The Garden Run to our chickens for the first time last spring, expanding their secure daytime space threefold.

We’ve since added perches, grazing frames, an herb/succulent garden (on top of the half-height module), a small roof, and vining jasmine to the run. Yet even without those features in place, you can see that the hens are very much engaged in the run right from the start, moving from one “room” to another to forage together or separately.

You can configure The Garden Run however you like, building one module or many. As you can see in the video, multiple modules work together to create a variety spaces for your chickens to explore.

Instant download. Instant gift. A project to share.

Building A Chicken Coop

Okay, this last-minute gift idea will only work with someone you truly love. Because while it’d be so easy to print out chicken coop plans, put a bow on them, and say “best of luck with that,” it would mean a whole lot more if the plans came with your promise to help in the project. So gift away, but be ready to roll up your sleeves!

Enter discount code ORPINGTON at checkout for $5 OFF plans for The Garden Run – Complete Series, good through December 31, 2014.

The Garden Run is our latest design series, a modular system that connects to any coop to expand your chickens’ yard securely and beautifully. The plans for the complete series of designs are quite beefy, full of illustrations, photos, and detailed instructions — 80 pages in all! And as with all our plans, you can download, print, and gift them right away.

Click here to browse all our chicken coop plans. We wish you happy holidays and a great start to the new year.

Photo courtesy of Karen and family in Maine. You can read about their chicken coop build here

 

Introducing The Garden Run

The Garden Run chicken run plans

The Garden Run is a series of modular enclosures that attach to your coop and to each other so you can extend or create a beautiful, secure habitat for your backyard chickens, rabbits, ducks, and more.

Take a closer look here. And please help spread the word!

The three core designs include a knee-high hinged-top module, a chest-high garden-top module, and a walk-in pergola. You can build one or link a few (or more) together. They connect neatly to all our chicken coop designs and to any other coop or hutch. And they can be mixed, repeated, stacked, inverted — whatever you want. I’m really excited to see the configurations people come up with.

A big thank you to all of you who’ve shared photos and ideas, read the blog, and generally stayed in touch over the years. It takes a lot to get from an idea to a finished design — and then even more to get to finished plans. It helps me to know that the work will be appreciated. So thank you! I hope you find that these chicken run designs make keeping backyard chickens even more fun.

How to move The Garden Coop chicken coop

Moving The Garden Coop chicken coop Portland Oregon

Why did the chicken coop cross the road? 

I’d love to hear your punchline in the comments, but first let’s address the fact that sometimes a chicken coop does indeed have to cross a road — sometimes even several roads.

Maybe you’re moving and you want to take it with you. Maybe you sold it to someone in town. Either way, it’s gotta roll. And while that’s easy with a smaller coop, if you built a walk-in coop like The Garden Coop, relocating it takes planning and effort.

In this post, I cover a few things that may help:

  • Tips for building The Garden Coop so it’s easier to move later
  • How to move The Garden Coop once it’s built and in place
  • Alternatives to moving your chicken coop

Stay to the end for a special treat: Chevy’s Big Garden Coop Move pictures and video of a real-life, cross-town chicken coop move. Portlandia’s got nothing on this action.  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Sandra and John’s Basic Coop, Layton, Utah

Basic Chicken Coop from Plans

Sandra and John used The Basic Coop stand-alone chicken coop plans to build this home for their mixed flock of standard and bantam hens in Utah. They made a few modifications to suit their needs:  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Rebecca’s Basic Coop and Run

Basic plywood chicken coop built from plans.

Rebecca from just outside Philadelphia sent in a couple pictures of her new Basic Coop stand-alone chicken coop and attached run. I’m impressed by the height modification she made, her choice of siding and color, and the way she thought through the whole process to build a coop that would suit her needs. What’s even more impressive is that this is one of her first-ever building projects. The rest of the post comes directly from her. . .  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Rob and Tansy’s Veggie Garden and Chicken Coop, Bendigo, Victoria (Australia)

Rob and Tansy's Australian Garden Coop chicken coop from metric instructions
Spring is right around the corner. . . in Australia, anyway, where the season starts the first of September. In honor of that, I’m featuring the gorgeous garden and coop of Rob and Tansy K. of Bendigo, Victoria. They used the metric version of our plans to build The Garden Coop to house their chooks, modifying the size somewhat to fit atop an existing brick raised garden bed and to incorporate found and recycled materials. The result is not only a beautiful backyard chicken coop, but one with character and history right from the start. Read on for more, including a look at a regional magazine feature that showcased their creation. The rest of the post comes directly from Rob. . . . Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Rob and Family’s California Garden Coop + Goats

Chickens and goats together in a California backyard

Rob S. and his family in Davis, California, used The Garden Coop plans to build a more spacious coop for their flock of eight backyard chickens when they moved from the city to the outskirts. But chickens aren’t the only creatures in his family’s yard. “We have a mule, a donkey, and two sheep in the front pasture,” Rob says. And out back with the chickens. . . two Nigerian dwarf goats! Read on to see how they all get along. The rest of the story comes directly from Rob. . . .  Read more and discuss »

How to predator proof the open floor of The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop

How to close floor of chicken tractor coop

I’ve been working for some time on a solution to predator-proof the open floor of The Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor. The challenge has been finding a way to secure the floor without closing it off completely or permanently. After all, you need the open floor for mobility, cleaning, and access to grazing. After much trial, I finally came up with an elegant solution (essentially a version of one of these turned upside down) then put it to the test. It works perfectly, and now I’m excited to share it.  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Kristopher & Family’s Spokane Garden Coop

Spokane chicken coop with blue trip.

Kristopher and his family in Spokane, Washington, built a beautiful chicken coop using our plans as a guide. I love the attention to detail, for instance, in their choice of hinges, ladder construction, dark blue trim, and neatly attached hardware cloth. They also added a nifty PVC feeder they can fill from outside the coop.  Read more and discuss »

Make It Your Own: Heidi’s Oregon Garden Ark for Bunnies

The Garden Ark modified to house two rabbits.

Heidi in Portland, Oregon, used our plans for The Garden Ark chicken coop to build a rabbit hutch for her two pet rabbits. While the ark works well for this in both size and functionality, there are some things you’d need to modify to make it work for bunnies. To get the discussion going, here are some tips Heidi sent in for others thinking of doing the same.  Read more and discuss »