Hi! I'm Derek. My wife and I live on 2 acres outside of Portland, Oregon, and this is our first go at raising chickens. We call our place the Milk Barn because the house was built as a milking barn for cows in the 30s before it was converted into a house in the 60s. We used the Garden Coop plans as a base for our coop design, and then modified it from there. Hence, the Milk Barn Garden Coop.
I don't want to reproduce the exact plans here because the gent who sells them deserves the 30 bucks, but I can show you a bit of the construction process.
Like all good projects, it began with a trip to the hardware store. I was able to get everything in one truckload. First, I framed all the wills with 2x4s.
Then I attached them together and placed them where the coop was to be installed. Here you can see our dog Pippi reviewing my work. I marked where the frame would sit on the ground, moved the frame, and set eight cinderblocks halfway into the ground. The hardest part was getting them each set and level with each other.
Then we put the frame up on the blocks. This is to get the frame up off the ground (to prevent rot – it's wet here!) as well as level it out. You can also see the roof beams installed here. We then added purlins (the beams running parallel to the roof beams) and the roof. It's made of Suntuf polycarbonate corrugated panels in "Solar Gray."
Then I dug a trench around the entire structure. Once again you can see the project supervisor checking my work. We then put hardware cloth (galvanized wire mesh with half-inch openings) around the entire structure, including into the trench, and then filled the trench in. This'll keep varmints and predators from digging under the fence. Hopefully. Here you can also see the human-sized door installed.
Now for the fun part! I rescued this old wood from our attic. At some point in the Milk Barn's past, these boards were used as siding or fencing. I took them out, cleaned them off, gave them a coat of stabilizer, and used them to wall the henhouse.
Here you can see the reclaimed wood installed around the outside of the henhouse. I love that this new structure is connected to the Milk Barn's past.
Next up: Doors! The first is the egg door on the front of the henhouse. I enlarged it from the plans because I thought it would be easier to clean and get eggs that way. The second is the henhouse door on the inside. This is mostly for access for cleaning. I added a plexiglass panel to the middle so I could see what the chickens get up to in there.
To the right of the henhouse door, I cut another opening for the chicks, and attached the ramp there. The steps are made from tree branches from a tree not 10 feet away. I also used branches to add various perches and roosts in the run.
Inside the henhouse I made two nesting boxes. The linoleum I used on the floor was also found in the attic. It'll never be this clean again.
This little chicken door wasn't in the plans. I added it because we're going to have goats, too, and I wanted an outer door that was big enough for the chickens to come and go, but too small for the goats. By putting the hinge on the bottom, it becomes a ramp when opened.
The ladies figured it out right quick.
My favorite modification is the window at the rear of the henhouse. I picked up this beautiful frame from the 2CountryChics Etsy store, cut a hole in the back of the henhouse that matched its opening with a jigsaw, mounted some plexiglass on the inside and the frame on the outside. A fancy window for our fancy ladies.
I'm especially proud of this mod. I put a gutter at the roof, which feeds rain down into the nipple waterer. Rain powered chickens!
I'm really proud of the final product. The Garden Coop plans were great, easy to follow, and provided a great base to customize. And the ladies seem to love it!