Make It Your Own: Susan and Ryan’s Garden Coop, Vermont

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Susan and Ryan's chicken coop built using The Garden Coop plans.
Susan and Ryan used The Garden Coop plans to build a chicken coop in the yard of their beautiful Vermont home. You can read all about their coop and home here. They were also kind enough to share some photos and notes on how they modified their Garden Coop to fit their needs — including adding a few solar LED lights. The rest of this post comes straight from them.

Our modifications

We changed just a few things to make the coop our own:

    Susan and Ryan's chicken coop built using The Garden Coop plans.

  • We added insulation since it gets so cold here in northern Vermont.
  • We put the hen access door on the side rather than underneath the henhouse as you and others have suggested to reduce drafts in the winter.
  • We planted sunflowers around one corner of the coop in the hopes of providing the chicks with some shade.
  • We added solar-powered LED lights to both the outside corners of the coop (stakes in the ground) to help us see if we ever needed to trek out to the coop in the dark and a string of smaller solar-powered LED lights around the interior of the henhouse.

More about the solar lights in our chicken coop

Solar light collector on the roof of the chicken coop.The solar lights provide a nice, soft glow inside the coop, and we have heard much less squawking at night since we’ve added the lights. (I don’t think our chickens liked the dark!) They also help encourage them to put themselves to bed at night.

The solar collector sits right up on the roof, by the way, and we ran the tube of lights through the hardware cloth to keep it aloft. We’re really happy with how it turned out and would recommend it to anyone interested in adding some light to their coop. The light string cost about $30 from Home Depot and the in-ground lights were about $3-4 each.

Thanks again for all of your hard work on the plans and for the wonderful customer support. We could not have done it without you!

–Susan and Ryan, Vermont

Many thanks to Susan and Ryan for their ideas and pictures. Do you incorporate any solar lights or other solar-powered systems in your chicken coop? Share your ideas and experience in the comments below!

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4 Responses to “Make It Your Own: Susan and Ryan’s Garden Coop, Vermont”

  1. Ann says:

    Hi, Thanks for posting your coop. It looks great! I am considering using the Garden Coop and also live in Vermont. I’m wondering how the coop is holding up (especially with our winters) and whether there is anything you advice doing differently. Thanks!

  2. Susan Hayes says:

    Thanks for the question, Kathy! We just used sheets of foam board insulation and cut them to fit in the spaces between the exterior and interior walls. Very inexpensive and easy to cut/install…and on those mornings here in VT when the temp is in the teens or even negative digits, I’m definitely glad we took the time to add it in!

  3. Kathy says:

    Great looking coop.
    What type of insulation did you use? Was it easy to put in?

  4. UgaVic says:

    Neat coop and thank them so much for sharing their updates. It is very helpful for so many of us facing the same issues, cold and possible night time visits!!

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