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.
“I just finished The Garden Ark, and besides having a great time with the project, the coop looks amazing,” he said in an email to us.
He also offered a few insights on where to place the chickens’ waterer and feeder, an important consideration for any small backyard coop where space is at a premium and efficiency is a must.
Ideas on where to place a waterer and feeder in The Garden Ark
Because chicken waterers and feeders come in a variety of styles and sizes, we don’t specify in our chicken coop plans exactly where to put them. You want to make sure, though, that they’re easy to reach and off the ground, if possible. This way, your hens have more room to scratch around in the earth.
Robbie mounted a gravity-fed waterer from the brace under the front of the henhouse. We did ours the same way, and I’ve included a picture from our coop to illustrate how it works.
The typical galvanized chicken waterer will have a handle at the top. Drive a couple screws or hooks into the horizontal brace beneath the henhouse, and hang the handle of the waterer on that. I fill ours only about 2/3 of the way before hanging it in there. Water’s heavy, y’all.
“For the feeder,” wrote the Cozi CEO, “I’ll likely add a 2×2 brace across the top of henhouse (sitting on top of the hardware cloth) and hang it from that.”
In the meantime, he just rested a small chicken feeder in the henhouse next to the nesting box. This gives you quick daily access via the single-latched egg door, instead of working the two latches on the large double door.
Again, here’s a photo from our Garden Ark where, on Robbie’s suggestion, we began doing the same.
Robbie’s thoughts on building The Garden Ark mobile chicken coop
“You did a phenomenal job with the plans,” Robbie shared. “I’m new to construction, and you taught me a bunch of new skills.”
“Now I need to figure out what the next project is going to be,” he said, adding, “maybe I’ll just have to build another one!”
(UPDATE: Last we spoke, he was in fact working on his second Garden Ark.)
Chickens for a simpler life?
Considering that Robbie’s company, Cozi, is all about simplifying life, I did an informal poll of some friends to find out if growing and raising their own food is actually making their lives simpler — or did the work involved only make them feel busier. There was general agreement that keeping a garden and chickens has helped them and their families feel calmer and more in control of their lives and health. Sounds about right to me.
What about you? How does keeping backyard chickens fit into your life — or not? Do the daily chores feel like a pain, or do you look forward to them? Leave a comment and let us know.
Finally, many thanks to Robbie for sharing his coop pictures and ideas!