Just for Fun


10 Reasons to Start Keeping Chickens This Year

Friday, January 8th, 2021

daughter saying hi to chickens after collecting eggs

Make this the year you start keeping chickens! Here are ten (of many) reasons why. . . (more…)

TheGardenCoop.com on the Made to Order Podcast

Monday, April 20th, 2020

I’m on a podcast! Paul Gewuerz is putting together a series of interviews with independent creators and invited me to take part. We talked coops, chickens, eggs, DIY. . . and only a little about coronavirus. 🙂

Have a listen:

Make It Your Own: Ralf’s Automated Chicken Haven, Kitzingen, Germany

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Chicken coop customized from The Garden Coop plans

Ralf used our plans for The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop as a starting point for his fully insulated and highly automated chicken coop. The result is both beautiful and functional — and from the sound of it, a lot of fun to put together. The rest of this post comes directly from him. . . 


VIDEO: A behind-the-fence look at two inspiring urban homesteads

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Jessi Bloom and Erica Strauss on Growing a Greener World

This episode of Growing a Greener World on modern homesteading aired a while back, but I just came across it again on Northwest Edible Life and wanted to point you to it. Click here to read the post and watch the show.

It features two of my favorite chicken/gardening writers and a closer look at the worlds they’ve created in their backyards — Jessi Bloom, author of Free-Range Chicken Gardens, and Erica Strauss, author of The Hands-On Home as well as the blog linked above. (See our Buyer’s Guide for links to their books.)

Topics covered include:

  • Deep-litter method
  • Free-range vs. confined range
  • Keeping ducks and chickens together
  • Involving your kids in garden and chicken chores
  • Making your home more productive
  • Perennials vs. annuals for growing your own food
  • Compost
  • Tips about growing backyard fruit, and more. . .

Enjoy the tours, interviews, and inspiration!


VIDEO: Clog-free way to keep debris out of your rain barrel

Friday, April 17th, 2015

I changed out our rain barrel filter today and shot this quick video to show how we keep leaves and roof debris from entering our barrels.

Simply wrap a nylon stocking over the funnel between your downspout or diverter and your barrel. Insert the closed end of the stocking into the barrel and let it hang down. Debris will collect at the end, but won’t impede the flow of water (at least not for a while), since the stocking stretches and remains permeable above the debris.

GIVEAWAY: Enter today for a chance to win free chicken coop plans

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

As part of Backyard Poultry Magazine’s Giveaway Thursday promotion, you could win a free set of our chicken coop or run plans. Visit this post on their Facebook page and let them know which of our designs you’d most like to build. They’ll select and announce a winner very soon. Good luck!

PS: You’re more than welcome to leave a comment here, but you must comment on their post to enter.

Make It Your Own: Ian’s Garden Ark Chicken Coop with Solar-Powered Door Opener (VIDEO)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Low power solar panel charges battery to power automatic chicken door

Let the chickens out. Let the chickens back in. Let ’em out. Let ’em in. . . .

Ian wasn’t having it anymore. While he wanted to give his chickens daily access to a larger space outside their coop, he couldn’t stay tied to their schedule. Not every day, anyway.

So being the tech savvy guy he is, Ian dug into his box of spare computer parts, added some components he found online, and fashioned a solution that has simplified his life. (more…)

Keeping your New Year’s resolution to keep chickens

Monday, December 30th, 2013

nine hens sitting on roost in chicken coop

You’ve made it your New Year’s resolution to finally get chickens. Good for you. Chickens are low-maintenance pets that give so much in return. On top of the amazing compost, free entertainment, and fresh eggs right from your backyard, you’ll also gain the skills and confidence to tackle more projects down the line.

Here are 10 steps to help you stay focused so that your chicken keeping resolution becomes chicken keeping reality:  (more…)

NEW: Original Chicken Art Notecards

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Broody Brahma original colored pencil chicken art notecards.My wife, Gie, has been doing these beautiful colored pencil chicken portraits over the past year or so. Now she’s chosen her five favorites and had them professionally printed as notecards.

We’re excited to offer sets of these chicken notecards (with matching envelopes) at TheGardenCoop.com. They make great gifts, thank yous, or notes for any occasion.

Hope you like them! Use discount code NEWCARDS  for 10% off all our cards. Good through December 31, 2012.

Enter to win a free Garden Ark chicken coop!

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Growing Gardens is raffling off a Garden Ark chicken coop.The Portland non-profit Growing Gardens is raffling off a brand-new, fully built Garden Ark chicken coop. This mobile coop was lovingly put together by myself and the participants of a chicken coop building workshop I led for Growing Gardens earlier this year. We took great pride and care in building it, and if I may say so, it’s really a sweet little coop! (more…)

New Book: The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Review of Gail Damerow's new book The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference

Reading Gail Damerow’s new book The Chicken Encyclopedia: An Illustrated Reference I was sent back to the time when my family and I were first looking into keeping backyard chickens. We’d found a handful of very helpful books on the subject. But something about the format of your standard chapter-by-chapter book left us feeling overwhelmed — like we had to understand the whole book, or we wouldn’t be prepared to get started.

The Chicken Encyclopedia is different. (more…)

Growing up with chickens: 5 things city kids learn by keeping a backyard flock

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

If you frequent Coop Thoughts, chances are you caught this recent coop-building story by Morgan Emrich. I love his take on things, so I invited him to author a post about his experience keeping chickens. Here it is. . .

Kids, Meet Chickens

Girl holding a chicken in her backyard chicken coopI would love to raise my kids on a farm. For a lot of reasons, that’s not going to happen. Like the majority of Americans I’m tethered to the city. But that doesn’t mean my children (9, 7, and 5 years old) can’t learn some of the lessons that farm kids take for granted.

Enter chickens.

Turns out a small flock of hens in the backyard can go a long way towards exposing children to things most city dwellers only get to read about in books. The concepts of natural cycles, environmental stewardship, biology, and our place in nature are no longer abstractions for my kids. Thanks to a small coop and a few chickens, these types of things have become concrete realities.

In particular, their feathered teachers have taught them five key lessons: (more…)

Chicken Resources On The Web

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

In case you’ve never happened on to it, John Henderson has curated one of the best lists of links to chicken forums, hatcheries, breed info, and resources for chicken health, care, and processing. It’s an excellent place for any small-flock chicken keeper to start.

Also included on his page are several links to early 20th-century books on chicken keeping, which make for fascinating reading. Everything old is new again, right? Bookmark Henderson’s Handy-Dandy Chicken Breed Chart as well for the next time you’re selecting chicks.

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…)

Make It Your Own: Lisa’s High-Altitude Garden Coop

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Lisa built her Garden Coop atop a 7,000 foot mountain in Colorado.

OMG. In case you were wondering just how extreme of conditions chickens can thrive in (with human help, of course), check out Lisa’s Garden Coop high in the mountains of Colorado. The rest of this post comes from her: (more…)