More pictures of The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop
See The Garden Coop in a KATU-TV Go Green feature on urban chickenkeeping. The producer and videographer came by to talk with us about the experience of raising chickens in the city. We started in the backyard, but we got to talking about home-raised eggs and somehow ended up in the kitchen. They really are delicious!
The space between the mesh at the top of the chicken run and the roofing panels above makes a great drying rack for onions or garlic at harvest time. Or build a solar dehydrator frame and slip it in. You could also store small tools up there.
Actually, the past couple of years, we've grown giant sunflowers in various corners of our yard. When the seedheads matured, we laid them, seeds down, in this space above the chicken run. Then the neighborhood scrub jays would fly in to work out the seeds. As they loosened them, many of the sunflower seeds would slip down through the mesh, giving the chickens below a share of the snack. I know, I know, it would have been more efficient to just toss the flower heads into the run — but nowhere near as fun to watch.
Because light comes in through the roof of the henhouse in The Garden Coop, you can install stained glass windows and enjoy the designs from the outside! Look for stained glass windows or hanging panels at your local art market, glass art galleries, or on Etsy.
Stained glass windows are easy to install, particularly on the inner henhouse wall of this chicken coop design. Just cut an opening the size of the stained glass piece in the plywood layer of the wall. Size the siding in front so that it overlaps the edges of the piece by 1/2" (13 mm) on all sides. Insert the stained glass art, then seal the opening from behind by attaching a piece of acrylic/Plexiglas to the plywood (predrill the holes first). Voila! Your Garden Coop is now a showcase for your garden art.
WATCH: Description of the swivel latch on the henhouse door:
Why use chicken coop plans?
Why not just design your chicken house from scratch? Well, you could. That's what my wife and I did, and honestly it was quite rewarding. But it also took a toll on us, both in time and frustration.
Working with our DIY chicken coop plans, you could start your coop this weekend and finish it over the next one or two — and have more time to enjoy your backyard flock and those garden-fresh eggs! Or use the designs as a starting off point for your own creativity.
The Garden Coop is simple to adapt for winter, though in mild climates, you probably won't have to do a thing. In the Pacific Northwest, winter brings lots of rain, so in the past, we've partially wrapped the bottom half or so of the enclosed run with plastic sheeting. It took me about 15 minutes to do, and kept the ground drier by keeping out the blowing rain. Turns out, it helps just as well with snow and cold winds.
That said, we've also gone through weeks and months of wind and freezing without wrapping the chicken coop at all. So it's an option, but not necessarily. . . um, necessary. (For future reference, here's our four-part series on winter coop care.)
WATCH: Snow! It was below freezing in Portland (Oregon) for over a week (12/08), and the chickens were as happy as ever.
More pictures of The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop/tractor
We love our mobile coop design, The Garden Ark! This is not your typical chicken tractor — it's functional, efficient, mobile, and stylish. The Garden Ark pictured below was a Grand Prize in the 2009 Portland Tour de Coops raffle, with proceeds going to Growing Gardens.
Save your pennies! The Garden Ark plan calls for securing hardware cloth to the chicken coop frame with poultry fencing staples. On this one, I also used screws and pennies-as-washers for a buttoned look at the front. (This is perfectly legal, by the way. Just don't try to spend those pennies later!)
More pictures of The Basic Coop stand-alone chicken coop
We are thrilled to be introducing The Basic Coop, our most affordable coop design (which says a lot, since they all give you so much for you money!) and a stand-alone option for those who prefer it. I worked on this design over the course of three years. Pictured below is the first completed prototype of the final design. That was a good day!
Hang one of our 1-gallon nipple waterers in the space between the nesting box and the front door. That way, the water stays clean, it's easy to get to for refills, and you don't use up any floorspace. You can also tuck or hang a feeder under the nest box. This placement prevents the chickens from perching atop the container (and pooping on it -- there, I said it).
A hook and eye will keep the chickens's pop door open during the day. At the pop door, your birds can simply hop the short distance to/from the ground (my preference, for simplicity), or you can fashion a ladder or step if you prefer.
Another hook and eye on the front door will keep it from catching the wind as you have it open for care and cleaning.