Make It Your Own: Tony J.’s hybrid coop

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I had just finished putting the wheels on one of my first Garden Arks this past July, and as I rolled it out of the garage to snap a few pictures to add into the new plan, a neighbor happened to be strolling by with his baby and dog. He stopped to introduce himself, and we started talking coops (everyone does that, right?). Although this was the first time we’d met, it turns out Tony had been considering The Garden Coop design online. . .

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I started selling plans for The Garden Ark, and when my first sale came in, I was thrilled. I even thought about framing the PayPal receipt the way brick-and-mortar shops display their first dollar—alas, another tradition made less charming by e-commerce.

Then, just a couple weeks ago, I was surprised to get an email from Tony with photos of his finished coop. Turns out he was that first customer! He explained that he’d bought the plans for The Garden Ark, but wanted to bring in certain elements he’d seen on The Garden Coop.

The results are pretty cool. Tony’s coop has doors to the run on two sides, a trap-door ladder, and vinyl flooring in the henhouse. He used tongue-and-groove cedar for the siding and bamboo from his garden for the ladder rungs. And he used a dark-green coated hardware cloth on the sides that does a lot to improve visibility into the coop.

Click here to see how others are making The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark their own.

I walked over to Tony’s house last week, and he showed me his coop up close. We talked about his plans to make it a key part of his vegetable garden, setting it over the garden beds that he’s putting to rest for the season. It’s heavier than The Garden Ark, so it’s not the kind of coop you’d move frequently. But it’s still mobile, and that was important to him. He can move it seasonally or take it with him if his family ever happens to move.

Have you built The Garden Coop or The Garden Ark and made it your own? Send us your photos and a description, or leave a comment here.

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7 Responses to “Make It Your Own: Tony J.’s hybrid coop”

  1. Art says:

    Is there a set of plans for the hybrid mentioned on this page? I like the in between size of the two.

    • Art, thank you for your question. There are no plans specifically for what Tony built. He originally set out to build a smaller version of The Garden Coop and was working from those plans right at the time I introduced The Garden Ark plans. So working from both sets, he was able to combine the elements he liked from each to get this result. There’s more of the influence of The Garden Ark, so if you were going to get just one set of plans to give you the groundwork, I’d start with those. Hope this helps.

  2. Sasha says:

    I get what you mean, thanks for the reply!

  3. Sasha says:

    I am curious about the construction of the trap door modification, does this actually close? Can you give any details about how to do this?

    • Sasha, I don’t think Tony designed his trap door to close. What I’ve seen some people do (and maybe he did the same, not sure) is attach the ramp at the opening with hinges, then raise the ramp to block the opening when they want to close up the hen house. That is, they don’t try to create a perfect closure as with a door; rather, they block the opening enough to keep the chickens in the hen house and to keep potential predators out.

  4. Tina G says:

    I really like Tony’s coop. Can you tell me what the dimensions are and an approximate weight? Could 2 people still move it? Thanks

    • Tina, it’s 7′ x 3′ and about 4′ tall, less the roof structure. It is pretty heavy, but two people can move it. I think Tony moves it only a few times a year. You could make the skids deeper, using 2x6s or 2x8s instead of 2x4s, then attach 8″ wheels to the henhouse end. That should let you tilt and roll something this size fairly easily.

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