Posts tagged with ‘Materials’

 

Article on using recycled materials for your chicken coop

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

The Portland-based website Neighborhood Notes has another good article, this one focused on how to best incorporate recycled materials into your chicken coop project.

I’m quoted in it, but what I’m more excited about is that they reached out to a local chicken keeper who used The Garden Coop plan as a foundation for his coop. He also made use of lots of recycled building materials including windows, hardware, and paint. The photo here is one he sent me when he finished.

One of the main things I emphasized is something I’ve heard from many who’ve used our plans — that having a complete materials checklist to start with makes finding recycled materials so much easier. Check out the article for more pictures and ideas.

Have you used any recycled materials in your chicken coop? Let us know in the comments!

Make It Your Own: Steve’s Garden Coop and DIY chicken watering system, Seattle, Washington

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Steve H. in Seattle sent in pictures of his completed Garden Coop along with instructions for making a homemade chicken nipple waterer. The rest of this post comes straight from Steve:

» UPDATE: We now offer push-in poultry nipples as well as fully assembled nipple waterers. Have a look!


Building a backyard coop using plans

Building The Garden Coop

I enjoyed building the coop and am enjoying the chickens even more. The plans were great. While I have some experience building, the plans freed me up from having to do any framing calculations, which alone was worth the price.

Tool rack added to the side of The Garden CoopI added a tool storage rack fashioned from a 2×8 and some old railroad spikes attached to the right side of the coop. It’s under the overhang, so the tools stay dry, and I can always find them (at least in theory). I also made some finish changes (bigger egg door, full access door on left side, different ramp, out-swinging door, etc.).

Nipple Waterer for Backyard Chickens

I designed and made a very simple watering system that makes the urban chicken farmer’s life a lot simpler. Below is a photo of the nipples in action. (Or watch a brief video here.) If you push the metal pin at the bottom at any angle, water dribbles out. (more…)

Make It Your Own: Anna & Matt’s Garden Coop, San Francisco, California

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Along with pictures of their completed backyard chicken coop, Anna and Matt sent a very thoughtful review of The Garden Coop chicken coop plans and a summary of their building process and decisions. So without further ado, the rest of this post comes straight from them:

Anna and Matt built their own backyard chicken coop using The Garden Coop plans

Finding the right chicken coop plans

After much research, Matt and I finally settled on purchasing both The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark plans. We had never built anything from scratch — our prior building experience topped out at putting together some cheap bookshelves and a coffee table. We had considered coming up with our own plans based on pictures of random coops available online, but we quickly scrapped the idea when we realized that we wanted to build something that was actually aesthetically pleasing.

There are quite a few books out there detailing coop plans, along with other plans that could be purchased via Internet download, but none of those plans would produce a coop that came close to the simple beauty of The Garden Coop. . . (more…)

Winter Chicken Coop Care, Part 3: Outfit your chicken coop for the winter.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

This is the third in a four-part series on getting your chickens and coop ready for the winter.

Now we turn to the coop itself. In mild climates, chickens need only basic protection from the elements year round. If your coop keeps your hens dry and away from drafts, chances are you don’t need to make any special changes to it for the winter. If you expect temperatures to dip below freezing for a sustained time, you may want to take some added precautions to winterize your chicken coop: (more…)

Make It Your Own: Cheris’s Garden Ark, Austin, Texas

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

“I have never had so much fun totally ignoring my children.” So begins Cheris’s blog post about building her own chicken coop with The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop plans. Of course, once your coop is built, it’s often the kids that will enjoy it most. . .

The Garden Ark Mobile Chicken Coop Plans helped Cheris in Austin build this chicken tractor!
(more…)

Make It Your Own: Lila K.’s Texas Garden Coop

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Texas Chicken House Built With The Garden Coop Plans

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.

Lila used 4x4 posts for additional anchoring for the chicken coop frame

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.

(more…)

Roll with it! Covering the henhouse floor with vinyl, linoleum, or marmoleum

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A step up from painting the floor of your poultry house is covering it with vinyl, marmoleum, or linoleum flooring. These materials are exceptionally durable and will resist standing moisture far longer than even the best exterior paint. I’ve heard from several people who’ve used our chicken coop plans that they’ve added linoleum, marmoleum, or vinyl to the floors and love it.

Here are a few pictures of chicken coops where the floor of the henhouse is lined with a durable flooring material: (more…)

To paint or not to paint? That is, the henhouse floor.

Monday, August 9th, 2010

A glimpse of the painted hen house floor of The Garden Ark chicken coop, B.C. (before chickens).

You know you need to protect your chicken coop from the elements outside. Wind and sun, rain and snow take their toll on your poultry pen over time, and a good wood sealer or exterior paint on the outside of the hen house goes a long way toward preventing this damage.

But what about protection from the “elements” inside the henhouse? Face it, a lot more comes out of a hen’s vent than just fresh eggs. And depending on the design of your henhouse — whether you have a special poop tray, a slotted floor, or a bare floor covered in bedding — you have to consider whether you want to paint the hen house walls and floor to make cleaning up their droppings easier. Listen in and/or read on for our thoughts. . .

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(runs 2:30)

Should you paint the floor of your hen house?

The Garden Coop and Garden Ark chicken coop plans call for a simple henhouse floor. That is, there’s no poop tray or slotted floor in these designs, though you could certainly add them. What you have, then, is a basic plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) floor. Both of these are bare wood products, which means that if they get wet, they will begin to absorb moisture.

+ Read more about the henhouse design in The Garden Coop and The Garden Ark chicken coop plans.

+ Read more about choosing the right kind of sheet wood for a chicken coop.

Painting the floor will protect it from moisture and everything that can come with it — rot, mold, mildew. Even just the swollen and raised fibers of the wood can make brushing out debris go less smoothly. Seal the surface well, and any soiled bedding should brush right out.

That said, painting the henhouse floor is not a must. Your choice may come down to cost. If you have the right paint handy, by all means use it. But if you’re trying to save on the cost of building a chicken coop, a quart or gallon of quality paint may cost more than the piece of wood you’re trying to protect.

Whether you decide to paint or not, what is a must is that you maintain a layer of carbonaceous bedding (straw, pine shavings, shredded paper, dried leaves, etc.) to collect the chickens’ droppings. This is important for both absorbing moisture and keeping odors down. As the chicken manure collects in the bedding, the mixture of the two is a lot easier to remove and add to the compost.

Painted vs. unpainted

We have a coop in which we painted the floor and another in which we left the hen house floor unfinished. We keep a layer of fresh bedding in both, and since the hens’ droppings fall onto this bedding, the moisture doesn’t readily soak into the plywood. (A bit of chicken trivia, not that you asked for it: A chicken’s urine comes out the vent with its feces. It’s the whitish stuff mixed in with the droppings.)

Here are a couple pictures of those hen house floors. The first is of the unfinished floor. The second is of the painted one.

This floor is OSB and has never been painted. Ive brushed away some of the bedding to reveal the surface. The dust is a mixture of diatomaceous earth, straw, and dried droppings.
The floor of the raised hen house on this Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop is made of OSB, is a couple years old, and has never been sealed or painted. I brushed away some of the straw bedding to reveal the surface. The gray dust you see is a mixture of diatomaceous earth, straw, and dried droppings.

The inside floor of this Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is painted with white exterior latex paint. Ive brushed back the bedding to show the floor. Notice it looks about the same as the unfinished henhouse floor pictured above. But I could wipe this one down to its original smooth condition. (If I wanted to.)

The hen house floor of this Garden Ark mobile chicken coop is painted with white exterior latex paint. I've brushed back the bedding to show the floor. Notice it looks about the same as the unfinished henhouse floor pictured above. But I could wipe this one down to its original pristine condition (if I ever wanted to.) The smoothness of the painted floor does make it a little easier to sweep out the soiled bedding.

Now, while the floors in both these coops are holding up quite well, we do find that the painted floor is easier to clean. It’s definitely easier to tell when it’s clean, and my guess is that the painted surface will outlast the unpainted one.

Painting the henhouse floor

To paint the floor of your chicken coop, simply apply two coats (or more) of a durable exterior latex paint. The coop should be so well ventilated that any gradual off-gassing from your paint won’t harm the chickens, but you may still prefer to use a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, especially if you’re painting the floor piece indoors. If you have a primer, applying that first will improve the adhesion and coverage of the paint.

Hens like to go barefoot and rarely trim their nails, so plan to use a paint that’s tough enough to hold up to the constant scratching. As for color, white or a pale shade is best, as it will make it more obvious when the chicken coop floor needs to be cleaned.

What about the hen house walls?

Since the interior walls don’t get soiled like the floor, we’ve left them bare on all of our family’s coops. But if you have the paint or a durable flooring material like vinyl or linoleum and the time, you might cover them anyway just to brighten things up.

Some final tips on painting the inside of your chicken coop:

  • Your choice may come down to cost. If you have the materials and the time, you might as well paint or cover the floor of the henhouse.
  • Make sure you apply any paint or floor covering to the henhouse floor before the chickens move in.
  • Also, paint the floor and walls at the right time in the construction process. If you’re using our chicken coop construction plans, we note in there when it’s a good time to paint. If you’re building without a plan, keep in mind that it may be easier to paint the floor or wall sections before you install them.
  • Let the paint dry or cure well — and then some — before inviting the girls in. They’ll tear it up without a second thought (without a first thought, actually). Refer to your product’s literature for proper drying times.
  • Our coop designs call for raised henhouses. If the floor in your coop design will be subject to both human and chicken foot traffic, consider the most durable hen house flooring option first, then work back based on what you can afford.

Let us know what has worked for you. Did you paint your henhouse floor or not? Any particular paints or sealers work well on your chicken coop floor? Leave your comment below!

Make It Your Own: Mary’s Garden Ark, Atlanta, Georgia

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Easy to build chicken tractorThis Garden Ark in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood is a good example of how anyone can use our chicken coop design plans to create something wonderful. According to Mary, “I did it all by myself with no help. . . I had never used a circular saw before this project!”

Not only did the plans help Mary build the coop herself, they also gave her the skills and confidence to take the design even further. Her adaptations include:

  • Using 2×6 for the skids and 8″ wheels
  • Adding a ladder and changing the placement of the perch
  • Adding a reclaimed window instead of the egg door
  • Outboarding the nesting boxes
  • Covering the floor of the henhouse with vinyl stick-on tiles
  • Building and connecting an additional run
  • Shortening the double doors to work with additional run

Fruit crate nesting boxes

Recycled Fruit Crate Makes Perfect Nesting BoxOne of the features that adds a personal touch to her chicken coop is the old wooden fruit crate Mary transformed into outboard nesting boxes. “I removed the top two of three slats on the side facing the henhouse and covered it in plywood,” she says. “I made a shelf with some extra 2×6 lumber and two corner braces to attach the boxes. I’m not sure the shelf was necessary, but it is nice to put things down on.”

Extra chicken run

Mary also added a modular run that attaches to her Garden Ark with carriage bolts. “The run is twenty square feet, so it increases the girls’ total space from fifteen to thirty-five square feet,” she says. “Although they didn’t seem to be crowded in just the ark, I think they’ll be pretty happy with the run.”

So how was the experience overall?

“The instructions were very good,” Mary says. “There was nothing frustrating about them. And as I have said, I have practically no building experience. I didn’t even know what a corner clamp was. (Very useful, the corner clamp!) I am very happy with the way it turned out.”

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your pictures and tips. If you’ve built a coop using one of our design plans and have ideas or photos to share, leave a comment here or send us an email.

Make It Your Own: Matt’s Garden Coop, Long Beach, California

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

The Garden Coop, Long Beach, CaliforniaMatt modified his Garden Coop to fit on an existing concrete slab next to his home. He also added in a loft for his Birmingham roller pigeons, a unique way to make added use of the structure. More about the pigeons later in the post.

First, some of Matt’s comments about building his chicken coop:

I must say, this was the biggest construction project I’ve ever undertaken, and your plans were worth every penny. It was fun and fairly easy.

I have my coop on the side of my house on a concrete slab. This made it easier because it removed the need to dig a trench. I put wood shavings down on top of the concrete.

Henhouse Siding With ArtworkThe biggest modification I made was to shrink the coop’s depth to make it fit. I have only three hens and they have plenty of room. Narrowing the coop like this, I had to make the door swing outward, otherwise there is not enough room to move around easily with the doors open.

I used cedar fence boards for the siding and added battens to the hen house. The battens help insulate and give it a nice look.

Thanks, Matt, for sharing your ideas and pictures. . . and for teaching me something about roller pigeons. Here’s a video link Matt sent showing what roller pigeons look like in flight. Apparently, their flips are caused by some sort of seizure they have as they fly. This anomaly makes for some dramatic aerobatics. . . but please, don’t let these pigeons drive the bus.

Make It Your Own: Dan’s Garden Coop, Madison, Wisconsin (VIDEO)

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Madison, Wisconsin. Where the winters are mean and the chickens are many. I got a note recently from Dan Marleau, a customer in Madison, who wanted to pass along this video tour of his backyard chicken coop, built using The Garden Coop plans and adding some of his own modifications. Take a look.

I asked Dan if he would share more of his experience keeping chickens in cold climates, specifically, what extra steps did he take to prepare his Garden Coop and his flock for the Wisconsin winter. Here’s what he had to say. . .   (more…)

Guest article at The Urban Garden Project

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

I’ve got a guest article up at The Urban Garden Project offering seven tips for building a garden-friendly backyard chicken coop. Check it out, then click around The Urban Garden Project site for more tips on backyard gardening, square foot gardening, chickens, and more.

Thanks, Ben, for inviting me to post!

The importance of sanding when building a chicken coop

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Sanding mill glaze off chicken coop lumberThere’s something about sandpaper. In the excitement of building the ideal chicken coop, DIY coop builders often either don’t realize or underestimate the role of sandpaper in building a coop that lasts. But if you’re planning to apply a preservative, stain, paint, or other sealer to your chicken coop lumber, sanding it first is a must. Especially if the wood you’re working with is new and smooth.

I should mention first that most plywood should be ready to go as is. What I’m talking about here is dimensional lumber (2x2s, 2x4s, etc., called “timber” outside of the U.S.). The reason that lumber needs to be sanded first has to do with how it is milled and something called “mill glaze.” (more…)

Birds of a feather. . . get together!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

There’s a good post at UrbanChickens.net with resources for finding others in your area who are keeping chickens.

This was a necessity for us when we were just starting out. We’d read all the books. My wife even had experience with chickens on a farm as a kid. But until we met neighbors who were keeping chickens and found a group of locals online to turn to for answers, we stayed on the side of the pool.

Of course, having help and advice really comes in handy when you’re building your own coop. Whether you use plans or create your own design, being linked in can help you find deals on materials, get a helping hand or a work trade, and learn how to prepare your coop for your climate. 

As with most things, the whole endeavor is just so much more fun when you’re doing it with others. So if you feel like you’re the only one in your area keeping chickens or wanting to keep chickens, put out some feelers. I bet you’ll find plenty of company.

Cooped up? Coop up!

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

“We’ve finally decided to get chickens next spring. Is fall or winter too soon to start building a coop?” —Jackie

Build A Chicken Coop In Your GarageThere are some real advantages to starting your chicken coop in the fall or winter. I know many people, myself included, who’ve built their coops in less than ideal weather. But you don’t have to get cold or soaked to build a chicken coop during the gloaming seasons. Build your coop inside. Apart from the initial steps of cutting and sanding the wood, you can prep and assemble a backyard chicken coop the size of The Garden Ark in about half the space of a typical single-car garage. (more…)