FAQs

 

How much room should I leave around my chicken coop when I build it?

Saturday, January 16th, 2021
Narrow Garden Loft chicken coop modified from plans

If you have the space in your yard to build a walk-in chicken coop, I’d leave at least two to three feet of working room on all sides of it. This will make construction easier, particularly when it comes to attaching hardware cloth and siding. And after the coop is built, having that space will make it easier for you to access the entire exterior of the coop should you need to. But what if you don’t have that much space to spare? Read on for some ideas. . .

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What kinds of roofing can I use on my backyard chicken coop?

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021
Corrugated roofing on a chicken coop

All of our chicken coop plans call for corrugated polycarbonate roof panels. But whether you’re building one of our designs or something else, you have plenty of options. Many backyard coopers use corrugated metal, corrugated asphalt, or shingles over plywood instead. Read on to decide what’s the best type of roofing for your chicken coop. . . .

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How to add a window to your chicken coop

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020
Colorado Chicken Coop from Plans

All of our chicken coop designs have an open-air ceiling in the henhouse, so there’s typically no need to add windows for ventilation. But if you’re in a really warm climate, want to look in on your flock from time to time, or just like the look of a window, there are a few easy ways to add one to your chicken coop.

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How to secure your chicken coop in a high-wind area

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

The open design of our walk-in chicken coops means that wind can move easily through the structures, so there’s less chance for damage than with something like a solid-walled shed or mobile home. That said, if you live in a high-wind area, there are some simple ways to anchor your coop and lock down your roof.

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How can I modify The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop to be larger?

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

The Garden Ark chicken coop is designed to be an efficient, portable, all-in-one chicken tractor for housing a small flock of 3–4 standard-sized chickens. But what if you want to house a few more hens than that, yet still stay mobile? Or what if you just want to give your small flock a little more space?

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Chickens roosting in the run at night rather than the henhouse?

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Three of our coop designs (The Garden Loft, The Garden Coop, and The Garden Ark) have an integrated henhouse and run. So your chickens are free to move between the two areas as they wish. (You can add a door between them if you like.) In some cases, this means that your flock might choose to roost in the secure run at night, rather than inside the henhouse.

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How to move The Garden Coop chicken coop

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Moving The Garden Coop chicken coop Portland Oregon

Why did the chicken coop cross the road? 

I’d love to hear your punchline in the comments, but first let’s address the fact that sometimes a chicken coop does indeed have to cross a road — sometimes even several roads.

Maybe you’re moving and you want to take it with you. Maybe you sold it to someone in town. Either way, it’s gotta roll. And while that’s easy with a smaller coop, if you built a walk-in coop like The Garden Coop, relocating it takes planning and effort.

In this post, I cover a few things that may help:

  • Tips for building The Garden Coop so it’s easier to move later
  • How to move The Garden Coop once it’s built and in place
  • Alternatives to moving your chicken coop

Stay to the end for a special treat: Chevy’s Big Garden Coop Move pictures and video of a real-life, cross-town chicken coop move. Portlandia’s got nothing on this action. And I’ve updated the post with photos from another Garden Coop move in Nevada. (more…)

How to predator proof the open floor of The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop

Monday, August 4th, 2014

How to close floor of chicken tractor coop

I’ve been working for some time on a solution to predator-proof the open floor of The Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor. The challenge has been finding a way to secure the floor without closing it off completely or permanently. After all, you need the open floor for mobility, cleaning, and access to grazing. After much trial, I finally came up with an elegant solution (essentially a version of one of these turned upside down) then put it to the test. It works perfectly, and now I’m excited to share it.  (more…)

How to find the tools you need to build your own backyard chicken coop

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Wood clamps holds wood together to be drilled.

So you want to build your own backyard chicken coop, but you’re afraid you might not have the right tools for the job. Luckily, it doesn’t take that many tools — a few common hand tools and power tools. And if you can’t find them in your garage or tool chest, don’t despair. Here are some other places to look, and a few tips should you decide to buy them new or used.  (more…)

How to build raised garden beds to fit The Garden Ark mobile chicken tractor

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

How to build a chicken coop that fits a raised garden bed.

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…)

How to make a simple nipple waterer for your chick brooder

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

In this tutorial, I show you how to make a clean, efficient nipple waterer for your chicks using a push-in poultry nipple and a couple of easy-to-find items. If you’d rather not do this yourself, you can purchase one of our ready-to-use Brooder Bottles here.

Simple chicken nipple waterer for a chick brooder.
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How to build grazing frames for your backyard chickens

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Free plans for backyard chicken frames to grow greens that will last for months.Allowing your chickens to graze on fresh grass is a good thing — not just for them, but for you as well. The nutrients in green vegetation enhances the quality of their eggs and meat. And since fresh greens can make up about 20-30% of a chicken’s diet, providing them for your chickens can save you on feed costs.

But keeping your chickens supplied with fresh greens can be a challenge. When chickens have plenty of room to roam, they will graze a little off the top, then move on. When forage space is limited, however, as in a small urban or suburban backyard, chickens will continue to graze and scratch in the same spot until the vegetation is torn down to the roots.

An easy solution? Grazing frames! (more…)

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…)

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 LoftThe 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 our chicken coops 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…)