Posts tagged with ‘The Garden Ark’

 

How to wrap your chicken coop for the winter

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The Garden Coop chicken coop design wrapped in plastic for the rainy winter seasonFor 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…)

Make It Your Own: Randy and Christy’s Garden Ark, Suisun City, California

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Baby Blue Chicken Tractor in Northern California

Randy and Christy used The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop plans to build a beautiful white and baby blue chicken tractor for their northern California flock. They also added an ingenious gravity-fed feeding system (made of PVC pipe) and a bucket watering system that mounts to the rear of the coop.

How to make a PVC chicken feeder

Thanks to Randy and Christy for sharing their ideas and pictures! If you have experience with a PVC chicken feeder or bucket waterer on your chicken coop, leave a comment below. What has worked? What would you do differently?

New nipple waterer for chickens

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Several months ago on the advice of a customer, I decided to make a DIY nipple waterer for our backyard chickens. Our birds were just chicks at the time, and keeping them supplied with fresh, clean water with their jar-and-saucer waterer was a frequent chore.

So I fashioned a simple waterer from a used plastic jug and a poultry nipple I bought online. The chicks took right to it, and the difference was remarkable.

No more spilled water. No more poopy water. No more worrying that their water had run dry.

When the flock graduated to the coop, their makeshift waterer went with them, and I started working on a more permanent solution for their larger space.

Here’s the nipple waterer I came up with — which I now also make to sell — and some videos showing you what you get and how it works. (more…)

Make It Your Own: Morgan’s Garden Ark, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Abby and one of her pet chickens

I got this note from a friend the other day:

John, just wanted to say thanks for The Garden Ark plans. I finally have it done and four hens happily residing. The plans were great. I made a few modifications though:

  1. I used poultry fencing instead of hardware cloth, for no good reason other than I’m a cheap bastard and I like little tiny cuts on my hands.
  2. Instead of clean, straight cuts made with a good saw, I decided to go with a more organic-wavy-line cutting style made with a jigsaw. I think I’m in a Frank Gehry phase.
  3. Instead of “reading all the text,” I often proceeded based on the photos and blind, baseless confidence in my abilities to intuit what you intended. Doors may be in the wrong place, extra 2x2s may not have been used, mistakes may have been made.

All in all, very happy. Getting three eggs a day. –Morgan

Make It Your Own: Bree’s Garden Ark, Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

This Garden Ark chicken coop was built to fit perfectly over the raised gardening beds.

Bree built her Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor to fit perfectly atop the raised beds in her Portland, Oregon vegetable garden. And she trimmed the skid ends to work as handles. Here are some notes she shared about the project. . .

I have eight garden beds the same dimensions, and my plan is to move the ark along twice a year or thereabouts, fertilizing and composting in place. I tinkered with the dimensions slightly to have it match the footprint of the beds. And I reversed the egg door and double door sides so that the full panels would be on the south and west sides for better weather proofing and optimal chicken viewing.

The plans were great! Thanks so much for such detailed instructions. By the way, I found it much easier to work with the hardware cloth on the roll. I left it on the roll as I laid it out and stapled it, and then cut it after I’d secured enough to know it wasn’t going to start curling up on me. This was especially helpful for the longest stretch of cloth covering the front and top.

Finally, I’m proud to say that as a newly single mum, I did it all myself. Every bit. I had help moving it, and that was it. It really is possible for one woman who is reasonably handy to do this herself.

** UPDATE: I’ve since created this tutorial for building raised beds that are sized to fit The Garden Ark perfectly. Take a look! **

Thanks to Bree for sharing her ideas for building and personalizing The Garden Ark. If you’ve found this post helpful, let her know in the comments below.

Review of The Garden Ark metric coop plans at imnojamieoliver.com

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Matt used our metric chicken coop plans to build this modern backyard coop in his Cape Town garden.Matt Allison of Cape Town, South Africa has posted this article about being the first in his neighborhood to start keeping chickens, adding a flock of four to his growing backyard garden. If things trend the way they have in many of the neighborhoods I’m familiar with, his neighbors will soon be following his lead.

I owe Matt a debt of thanks for pushing me to complete the metric version of The Garden Ark plans. He worked with me to review measurements, materials, and process. And his suggestions will help others avoid mistakes that I never would have caught. Most importantly, his coop turned out great, as you can see by the coop pictures at his post. Thanks, Matt!

Where in the world are you building our chicken coop designs? Leave a comment and let us know.

Make It Your Own: Blair’s Garden Ark (Melbourne, Australia)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Blair used The Garden Ark chicken coop plans to build a backyard home for his chooks.

As far as I know, Blair was the first to use our plans to build a Garden Ark in Australia. I’m very grateful to him, actually, for staying in touch throughout the process, advising me on materials available in Australia, and helping lay the groundwork for the new metric version of that plan. (more…)

How to view and store our chicken coop plans on your iPad

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

You can download, view, and store our chicken coop plans on your iPad or other mobile device.What can I say, I’ve always loved our chicken coop plans. But when I opened them recently on an iPad, well, I literally saw them in a whole new light.

The images are sharp and clear. The table of contents is clickable for easy navigation. You can zoom in and out on the diagrams and text. And you can perform all the page navigation gestures that are native to iBooks.

What’s more, you don’t need to download a special app (other than the free iBooks app) to be able to download, store, and view our coop plans — or any PDF file for that matter.

Just follow the simple instructions below, and have fun! (more…)

How to build external nest boxes for your chicken coop

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Instructions to add external nesting boxes to your chicken coopWhether you’re building The Garden Coop, The Garden Ark, The Basic Coop, 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, The Garden Ark, and The Basic Coop 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…)

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…)

Pictures from the Growing Gardens chicken coop building workshop

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Mobile chicken coop built at Growing Gardens workshop

In September, my son and I led a chicken coop building workshop put on by Growing Gardens of Portland. Twelve or so people came out to Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply to take part, I’m sure setting some kind of record for the most hands working on a chicken coop at once. We had a great day in the sun and put together an awesome coop. Read on for more details and pictures.

(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…)

Make It Your Own: Robbie Cape’s “Cozi” Coop, Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The Garden Ark mobile poultry pen, Seattle, Washington

As CEO and co-founder of the free online family organizer Cozi, Robbie Cape appreciates keeping things simple. His company has helped countless families manage their schedules (without paper calendars) and find more time for the things they love.

So when Robbie decided to build a portable chicken coop for his family’s backyard flock in Seattle, Washington, he wasn’t about to waste precious time. He chose The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop plans from TheGardenCoop.com and started building his coop right away. (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.