Make It Your Own: The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies

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North Carolina do it yourself large chicken coop from plans

Caity and family built and customized a beautiful Garden Coop a few years ago for their backyard flock in North Carolina, full of added features and decorative touches. Now they’ve completed yet another amazing coop — a Garden Loft that outshines even their earlier masterpiece. The rest of this post comes directly from Caity. . . .

We started keeping chickens about six years ago, and we built The Garden Coop. It has held us in good stead, but, as happens, we have caught the chicken bug and decided we wanted more hens—and a bigger coop.

As it turns out, this was right when the new Garden Loft plans came out, so it was a no-brainer! We made quite a few changes stylistically, but the bones are true to the original design. The plans were, as last time, awesome, easy-to-follow, and error free. And. . . . . . ta-da!

Three quarters view of Caity's backyard chicken coop built using The Garden Loft plans

The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies chicken coop art

We made several modifications to make our coop more flexible. Our ideal number of hens is 4–6, but it’s not easy to guess exactly when to get the new chicks to keep the numbers consistent, not to mention the headache of merging young pullets with older hens.

To make that easier, we essentially divided The Garden Loft into two coops. One side is for the older hens and one for the new flock, until they’re used to each other and can be merged. The side for the new flock has removable roosts, so when we’re not merging flocks we can use it to store food/bedding in a perfectly pest-free place. Using it for storage is also why that side has two large doors instead of a pop door — easy access.

Double sided henhouse in modified Garden Loft walk in chicken coop

Door to the raised henhouse on The Garden Loft chicken coop

Hen house door to backyard chicken coop

Removeable perch roost in hen house

In the event some of our older hens hang on longer than expected, the interior wall is also removable (6 screws) so we can open it up for more space. The ladder for the chick side is attached with a quick-release hinge so we can take it off when not in use. There are hooks under the hen house so we can store the ladder, unseen, when we don’t need it.

It’s not usually cold in North Carolina, but a couple weeks a year it gets in the single-digits, so the chick side is also insulated and doesn’t have a window or an external nesting box. So if we’re worried about weather, we can pop them into the chick side where they’ll be warmer.

Checking for eggs in the backyard chicken coop

Rear side of The Garden Loft walk in chicken coop from plans

As for the outside of the coop, I really liked the elevated look of the original Garden Coop, so we shortened the siding to leave it open at the bottom and did a faux board-and-batten just because I like it. We added a window with a plexiglass shutter because we like to peek in, and to add circulation in the summer.

We also made the entire footing out of cinder blocks so we could fill the run with sand. We did this with our other coop and it worked awesome both for drainage and for keeping it clean, as we scooped it once a day with a kitty litter scoop.

Side view of The Garden Loft large walk-in chicken coop from plans

Because we were cutting the henhouse in half, I added exterior nesting boxes to free up some space. I have two tots, so I built on a ladder so they can get the eggs, and it stows away for when they’re not using it (and to make it harder for the 1-year-old to get on there unsupervised). I added a gas lid support to the nesting box so little fingers won’t get smashed, and the nesting box opens up on the bottom for easy clean out.

Collecting eggs for breakfast from the backyard coop

External laying boxes for chickens

Child lifing the lid of the laying box

Folding ladder to chicken coop nest boxes

We’re in the process of adding the hardware cloth skirt, then we’ll be done! As for our old coop — the neighbors are arguing over who gets to take it off our hands. Farewell old friend!

Caity's Garden Coop backyard chook house

P.S. One quick tip: if you decide to replace the recommended roofing panels with galvanized metal like we did, add an extra panel to increase the overlap. Ours flooded like crazy and we had to go back and fix — ugh!

Many thanks to the Swifts for again sharing their pictures and notes. They’ve built and personalized another amazing chicken coop using our plans as a starting point!

Like what they’ve built? Please let them know with a comment below. Then keep browsing to see more of our Make It Your Own coop profiles.

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7 Responses to “Make It Your Own: The Loft for Our Eggstraordinary Ladies”

  1. Alex says:

    What kind of white paint was used? Flat or semi-gloss?

  2. Dave says:

    Ok thanks for the insight. I do plan to put a roof on but was thinking of mixing mulch, leaves, grass clippings, pine needles and leaves together.

  3. Dave says:

    Do you recommend using any mulch for the coop run? I have brown mulch, but not sure if I should use it. Any thoughts much appreciated.

    • Dave, I find that finer material (e.g., straw, dry leaves, pine shavings) is better at mixing with the poop to keep odors down and begin the composting process. But if your run is uncovered, and you want bedding that will be more durable in the weather, mulch works well.

  4. Adrienne says:

    Amazing coop! I am planning to build one similar this year with The Garden Loft plans. Can I ask how you insulated the one side and what you used? We live in Wisconsin and have bitter winter months. Also, do you have a photo of the opposite side of the roost support on the chick/storage side? I think it’s a brilliant idea. Thank you!

  5. Madree Page says:

    Wow! That is amazing! I love the double doors and removable roost for storage. What is separating both sides? Is it removable to give more space?

    • Caity says:

      Thanks Madree! The middle board is removable to make more space–It’s held in place only by a few screws. If you look at the picture of the removable roosts you can see that the roost support is not screwed into the 2×4 frame of the hen house, only into the removable wall, and into the other roost support on the other side (which you can’t see) which IS actually screwed into the frame of the coop. So to take it down, I just have to remove the roost support and a couple extra screws, take out the board, then screw the roost support back into the roost support for the other side of the coop.

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