As an early and active participant in Urban Chicken Advocates of Nashville, artist Megan Lightell helped with the push to make backyard chickens legal in Tennessee’s capital. And when the ordinance finally passed in early 2012, she celebrated right away by building her dream coop. The rest of this post comes directly from her. . . . (more…)
One of the nice things about The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is that you can move it around your yard or garden to focus your chickens’ grazing activity where you want it — just roll it across your lawn or place it atop your vegetable rows.
But what if you prefer to garden in raised beds? How can you incorporate The Garden Ark into your garden rotation so that your hens can graze, till, and help fertilize your garden before or after harvest?
In this tutorial, I show you how to build a raised vegetable bed that fits The Garden Ark design perfectly. (more…)
Anna and Chris’s modern Seattle home is topped with a striking barrel-vault roof. So why not build a chicken coop to match? After much research, a few sketches, plans and feedback from TheGardenCoop.com, the careful work of a local carpenter, and some personal touches, they got just what they wanted. The rest of this post comes from them. . .
Colin and Faye sent in this inspiring story along with pictures of their beautiful, rustic Garden Coop build and tips for other chicken coop builders in Australia. The rest of this post comes from them. . . .
Our Garden Coop build
We have finished our chicken coop and our six eight-week-old chickens took up residence last Saturday. Thank you for such easy-to-understand plans. For my husband Colin and I, this was our first venture in building anything, and we are very pleased with the outcome. (more…)
For the past few winters, I’ve wrapped our Garden Coop in plastic sheeting to keep driving rain and snow (mostly rain here in the Pacific Northwest) out of the run area.
I’d love to say I do this for artistic reasons, à la Christo, but it’s really all about practicality. Plastic film is inexpensive, easy to put up, and keeps your hens dry and happy. And in the spring, you can just take it down, roll it up, and store it out of the way.
There are other solutions, of course — sheet siding, acrylic panels, canvas, landscape fabric. Let me know in the comments what has worked for you. (more…)
Merri-Lynn sent in this picture of her Garden Coop build in Tennessee. She worked on it with her daughter, who, as a big Hannah Montana fan, insisted on a bright color scheme. Merri-Lynn wrote:
We couldn’t be more proud of the way it turned out. It took a number of weekends to complete as we had to wait for additional hands for a few of the steps, but for the most part we completed it ourselves. The directions were easy to follow, and I would recommend that anyone can take on this project. Our chickens love their new home — color and all!
Thanks to Merri-Lynn for her picture and comments. If you like what you see, let her know with a reply below. And tell us, what colors are your chicken coop?
Whether you’re building The Garden Coop, The Garden Ark, or pretty much any other chicken coop, the instructions that follow will show you in detail how to add external nesting boxes to your coop.
First, a little background. I designed The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark to make efficient use of space, be easy to build, and to have everything under one roof — including the nesting boxes. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of having the boxes in the henhouse, and it has worked well for us and many others for years.
So if you’re new to chicken keeping or coop building, please do not feel as though you have to add exterior nest boxes to your coop.
That said, there’s something about external nesting boxes that just captures the fancy of backyard chicken keepers. . . . (more…)
Lila K. and her husband live on the Gulf Coastal Plain of Texas. This is their chicken coop, built using The Garden Coop chicken coop design plans. It’s remarkable, not only for what you can see, but also for what you can’t. At least, not unless you’re looking for it.
The Garden Coop chicken coop design plan calls for a pier-on-grade foundation that works well just about anywhere. But if you need to adapt the design to suit local building codes or seasonal weather events, it’s quite flexible. Lila chose to modify the design by setting 4×4 posts at each corner of the coop and securing the frame to those.
Her primary reason for adapting the design was to give even more stability to their chicken coop, anchoring it firmly should it be buffeted by treacherous Gulf Coast weather. Aesthetically, Lila also liked the beefier look the posts gave to the frame.
She paid great attention to other details as well. She added a small window on the front, and she painted the trim, door stops, and roof structure a light green color that stands out against the natural wood tone of the frame. By doing this, she created really nice outlines that give her chicken coop a smart, finished look.
When Portland designer, filmmaker, and photographer Lubosh Cech was ready to build his own chicken coop, he wanted it to be a work of art. The Garden Coop chicken coop plans turned out to be the perfect place to start. Lubosh told us recently about the modifications he made to the design and how he gave his backyard coop an artful, personal touch:
Thank you for the plans! This was a fun project, and it successfully distracted me from my work for most of the month.
Because of the space limitations, I had to shorten the design and push the structure all the way to the corner of the yard. In addition to buying new lumber, I reused wood and other materials that cluttered my basement shop. Half of the paint I used is 100% recycled latex from Metro.
To make the structure more fun, I painted the Buddha on the front panel of the henhouse and decorated the roof with the Tibetan prayer flags. The Buddha is holding a golden egg over the nesting box access door.
Coincidentally, my three chicks moved in on July 6th, the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday!
Here are a few more pictures of the Hen Temple. (more…)
Chicken coop design is the focus of today’s feature story over at Neighborhood Notes, a cool website focusing on hyper-local news in Portland. The Garden Coop is featured along with four other local designs. There’s a nice slideshow at the end with more pictures and ideas.
There’s a lot happening in Portland, for sure, and it’s nice to be included in such good company.
I came across this feature on keeping chickens in the city — it’s a 5-minute interview with an urban chicken keeper in England. I like watching pieces like this that give an honest glimpse into people’s food and lifestyle choices. This guy (er, bloke) may be on the other side of the planet, but it’s a small planet. His family, mine, and many others are keeping chickens for much the same reasons.
You’ll notice that his coop is one of those prefab Eglus. I like the modern style of those coops, and he’s integrated his well into his garden. (The cost of an Eglu is a different issue, and he talks about that in the video.)
Notice that he ended up building out his own covered run to increase his chooks’ space for ranging. It’s a good reminder that, even if you start off with an out-of-the-box chicken coop, some DIY skills will come in handy as you modify your coop to suit the needs of your flock and your space.
I’ve been thinking more about the Bjarke Ingels talk I posted about last month. You know, I almost can’t believe this now, but when we were building our first coop, I wanted to tuck it out of the way in a far corner of our yard.
Luckily, a friend of mine who’s into permaculture happened to come by at the right time and suggested that we move it closer to the center instead. He explained that one of the principles of permaculture is that life happens on the edges. When you create edges, as with a garden bed or structure, it opens up new possibilities for viewing, using, and organizing the space.
So don’t hide your coop. Show it off, and see where it leads you next. Think about things like vining plants, flowers, edibles, rainwater catchment, compost bin, tool rack, hammock or sitting area, clothesline, or even housing for other animals. Have any edgy ideas to share?
If you’re thinking about building a chicken coop, you’re probably most concerned about things like predators, space, location, and cost. But you might want to add appearance to your list, as it can affect every one of the other considerations.
Where we live, four neighboring homes have views over the fence into our yard. Our first impulse was to build a coop quickly and cheaply, and, out of respect for the neighbors, keep it low and out of sight. But then we remembered who’d be staring at the coop most often: us.
Focusing on making the coop look nice actually helped us arrive at a more functional, low-maintenence, and inexpensive design. In the end, the chickens may not notice the difference, but our neighbors do. And so do we.
The neighbors’ new cat roams into our yard. She’s done this a couple times already as she’s been getting to know her surroundings. Our chickens are locked safe in their yard, well protected from much more vicious predators than this kitten. Yet while I know that, they don’t. Kitty edges closer. (more…)