Make It Your Own: Tom’s Garden Coop, Santa Cruz, California

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Tom in Santa Cruz sent in these photos and notes about his Garden Coop build. Enjoy!

California walk-in chicken coop built with The Garden Coop plans.

We followed your plans pretty closely, yet made a few small changes:

  • Initially, I was just going to elevate the coop on the piers to compensate for the slight slope of my desired location. But I decided to just spend the extra time and build two small retaining walls from old recycled redwood that I ran through a planer and stained. I backfilled the walls with granite gravel and dug drainage trenches filled with gravel to remove surface water from the coop in winter.
  • I moved the hen entry door to the wall rather than the floor and moved the egg collection door to the side.
  • I had planned on outboarding the nesting boxes, but opted to just put them in the corner away from the entrance in the wall. This wrapped up the project a little quicker and left me the option of outboarding them later.
  • I used exterior siding rather than planks. This was a time saver and a significant cost reduction.
  • I left the last purlin long with the intention of adding a gutter. I also just like how it visually defines the rear edge. I have a 50-gallon rain collection barrel that I will be placing elevated (above the ground level of the coop floor) just uphill from the coop. I plan to use the roof/gutter as part of the collection system. The barrel will gravity feed a waterer for the chickens.
  • I chose to use clear panels for the roof. The coop receives broken sun from late morning through mid/late afternoon and then some nearly full sun for a couple of hours in the evening. I wanted to keep it from being too much of a cave in the morning.

A view of the henhouse through the run of The Garden Coop chicken coop.

Finally, a tip: When putting together the frame, I had to predrill all my holes to avoid splitting the 2x4s with my screws. This is a great task to hand off to a buddy/partner/wife/kid capable of wielding a drill. Just mark your cut lumber where you want holes and cut them loose with the drill! —Tom

Tom built this walk-in chicken coop to keep his own backyard flock in Santa Cruz.

Thanks to Tom for sharing his ideas and photos of his backyard chicken coop. If you like what he’s done with The Garden Coop plans or have ideas to share, leave a comment below.

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2 Responses to “Make It Your Own: Tom’s Garden Coop, Santa Cruz, California”

  1. Tery Gohsman says:

    2 x 4′s laid 4″ side up for chickens, especially if you have cold winter weather. Because it allows them to fully cover their feet to keep their toes from getting frostbitten.

  2. Brian Young says:

    Great lean look, Tom. I have been struggling with different suggestions about roosting bars. I’ve heard 2×4 allow hens to “rest” fully w/out needing to grasp all night but then I’ve heard a dowel-like with clothes-hanger type diameter is the way to go. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!

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