The Swifts’ North Carolina Garden Coop Chicken Coop

North Carolina chicken coop

Caity and family used The Garden Coop walk-in chicken coop plans to build and customize the perfect coop for their North Carolina home. Take a look at the details they added, including the painted chicken art, and read on for her notes on all they did to make the coop their own. The rest of this post comes straight from her. . . . 

About the chicken coop plans

First off, your instructions were terrific! They are very clear with a ton of diagrams — perfect for a couple of newbies. They are absolutely worth the cost and saved us a ton of headache trying to figure out how to build something on our own.

How we modified the coop design

Swifts' chicken coop from Garden Coop plans

  1. We liked the external egg boxes, but I made the roof of it hinge as well. We also only made two and shifted them to one side. (See photos below.)
  2. Heat is more common here than cold, so I added a couple of windows with shutters. Plus we love looking in and seeing what the chickens are up to.
  3. We went with the side pop door instead of the floor door, then made it open from outside the coop on a pulley system.
  4. We put cinder blocks all the way around the base, then lined them with landscaping fabric so we could fill the run with sand to promote good drainage.
  5. Instead of one clean-out door in the coop, we put two — one on the right front and one on the left back. I’m short, so one middle door would have made it hard to reach the corners.
  6. We swapped a tin roof in for the polycarbonate. It was less expensive, and our backyard is heavily wooded, so I thought the see-through roof would look dirty all the time.
  7. We swapped out the cedar boards for plywood to save money.

Photos of our chicken coop

Clean-out door to the outside of chicken coop

Side view of the Swifts' Garden Coop

View of Garden Coop hen house

Chicken coop in North Carolina

How much did our chicken coop cost to build?

In the end the coop cost us just under $600 to build (2013 prices, and taking into account all our modifications). We didn’t have any materials to start, this being our first building project, so we had to buy everything (except paint) new, and I tracked all our expenses on a spreadsheet — so that total is pretty accurate. We did save some money by getting the plywood at a Habitat Restore for $8 a sheet and shopping around for the hardware cloth.

Thanks again. So far we’re really happy with the coop — and so are our chickens!

Many thanks to the Swifts for sharing their photos and comments. If you like what they’ve done, let them know with a comment below. Here are  the chicken coop plans they used, by the way. And if you’d like to see more examples of our customers’ chicken coop builds as they’re posted, along with tips on building coops and keeping chickens in general, subscribe to Coop Thoughts. It’s free, ad-free, and you can unsubscribe at any time. 


6 thoughts on “The Swifts’ North Carolina Garden Coop Chicken Coop”

  1. Caity: I live in central N.C. myself and would like very much to try my hand at building one of these chicken coops. By the way, yours looks great! The problem is I’ll be working by myself. Is this a one-person project? I have some power tools and have built a few small things but nothing on this scale. Thanks a lot. –Linda

    • Linda, I’d like to see what Caity and others have to say about how many hands it took to build their Garden Coops. But I can tell you from what I’ve heard and experienced that many people have done this *mostly* by themselves. There are a few parts where you’d want to bring in a helper, but overall it’s not an intense or laborious project. Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks Kathy!

    Mollissa, We used the standard 16x8x8 inch cinderblocks from home depot. I don’t remember exactly how many we used, but probably around 18-20 to go under the entire base of the structure. I will say, filling the entire base with sand is probably the best thing we did–it is so easy to keep clean! As for the roof, we didn’t need to cut the metal. The galvanized panels come in different sizes so we just bought the size we needed and screwed them on.

  3. That is a great looking coop. I agree with you about the plans being easy to follow!
    The best part is your chairs outside – we have found it more fun to watch them!!
    Good job!


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