Cutting plywood with a circular saw.

Chicken coop workshop this Saturday (Oct. 5)

I’ll be leading a Chicken Coop Building Basics workshop this Saturday, October 5th from 10-noon at Growing Gardens in NE Portland.

If you or anyone you know (in or near Portland, of course) is thinking of keeping chickens and wants to get past the intimidating part of building a coop — or if you already have some ideas for an amazing DIY coop and just want a place to bounce them around — this is it.

We’ll talk about what chickens need in a coop, different coop styles, options for building materials, and tips on how to incorporate your coop and flock into your home garden. I’ll do some small demonstrations, but you don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty. Just come learn!

A separate workshop, Intro to Urban Chicken Keeping, will follow at 12:30p.

Register for one or both of the workshops here.

Pictures from the Growing Gardens chicken coop building workshop

Mobile chicken coop built at Growing Gardens workshop

In September, my son and I led a chicken coop building workshop put on by Growing Gardens of Portland. Twelve or so people came out to Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply to take part, I’m sure setting some kind of record for the most hands working on a chicken coop at once. We had a great day in the sun and put together an awesome coop. Read on for more details and pictures.

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Finished! Garden Ark for Tour de Coops raffle, benefiting Growing Gardens

2010 Tour de Coops Raffle Coop - The Garden ArkIt’s done! The Garden Ark we’re donating to Growing Gardens for the 2010 (Portland, Oregon) Tour de Coops raffle is put together, painted, and ready to go.

I hadn’t built one of these in several months, so I found myself having to relearn a few things as I went. Whenever I’d get stuck on a step, my daughter would gently remind me to “read the plan, Dad.” Now there’s an idea.

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Growing Gardens’ primer on double-digging and sheet mulching

Great post at Growing Gardens’ blog on how they prepare vegetable beds for their garden installations. They use a combination of double-digging, a method that loosens the soil to a depth of about two feet while incorporating rich compost, and sheet mulching, which involves layering newspaper or cardboard with compost, leaves, straw, and the like.  

We’ve used both methods separately and together in our own veggie gardens with great results. What’s more, the abundance of composted chicken manure we get from our hens makes a super fertilizer to mix into a newly prepared bed. That’s right, it ain’t all about the eggs.

2009 Tour de Coops raises record amount

We took part in Portland’s Tour de Coops again this year, and the turnout was incredible. A few hundred people streamed through our yard on a hot Saturday in late July to see our two coops and our (now) eight hens and to ask questions.

We saw several familiar faces, including a few past customers who stopped by to say hi and show us pictures of their coops. Visitors spanned all ages and types. If you ever hear someone say that keeping chickens or growing your own food is an ‘elitist’ endeavor, send them to me.

Better yet, send them to Growing Gardens. This is the non-profit group that puts on the Tour de Coops each year to raise funds in support of its mission: to help Portlanders grow their own food, especially those without the resources to get started. Read More