Advice requested--newbie needs to choose a coop design!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rvachickenmomma, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. rvachickenmomma

    rvachickenmomma New Egg

    Apr 4, 2012
    Hi all,

    My husband and I have finally decided to bite the bullet--we're going to build a coop and get 3 chicks. I grew up with chickens (and many other critters) and can't wait to have fresh eggs every day, not to mention several new feathered friends in our backyard!

    I've spent A LOT of time researching coops and looking at pictures. We're definitely going to build one ourselves, both because it's far more affordable and because I think it will be a lot more rewarding. We live in a suburban area and it's important that the coop is attractive--we care a lot about what our yard looks like and we also don't want to tick off our neighbors. My husband is an engineer and is relatively capable of building things, but he is no carpenter. I can use a drill, etc. but I am also no expert. As a result, we need to choose a design that isn't too challenging this time around. We also want the coop to be portable--more of a tractor type design--and plan on moving it to a different spot in the yard every few days.

    I've narrowed it down to two options and I would REALLY appreciate advice from you much more experience folks.

    Option 1: The Garden Ark (not the Garden Coop)

    I like this option because we'd have access to all of the plans, materials list, etc. Definitely makes things easier than figuring out the details ourselves. There are also a ton of photos out there of how people have personalized the Garden Ark to better suit their needs which would make it easy to make some changes. (I particularly like what these people did: ). Everyone describes it as very easy to build. The size works well for us. It is relatively attractive, not as cute as some coops, but I think we could spruce it up a bit.

    Option 2: a chicken ark like this:

    This style looks easy to build and sturdy. Would be easy to move around. Pleasant looking. I haven't found specific plans for this coop, but I may be able to. Otherwise it would probably not be too difficult to figure it out ourselves. This one looks a bit more weather resistant to me, but our weather isn't too much of a problem in central/southern Virginia. Ventilation may not be as good.

    So, which would you choose, and why?

    Thank you :) Any and all help is much appreciated!
  2. SouthernAlberta

    SouthernAlberta Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2012
    Canada - Garden Zone 3
    I haven't chosen my coop/tractor/run design yet. Our weather and the availability of materials I may re-purpose are guiding my choices. Enjoy the site!
  3. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2009
    Central Iowa
    The best advice I can give on a coop is to build one that is big enough for your birds and allows for ease of management. If it becomes a chore to move, clean or maintain, it will not be enjoyable.

    I looked at the first coop design that you highlighted and what I see as problamatic is that is doesn't appear to be easy to move. Filling the feed tubes looks like it will be a challenge and they Y fittings on the working end of the feeders seem to provide for a lot of waste. I use PVC feeders and really like them. These feeders have caps on them so there is no need for them to be under the sun roof, which is why I feel it will make them a challenge to fill. I would omit the Y fitting and replace it with a 45* & a 90* elbow. This will eliminate the need to put sand in the bottom of the feeder and present the feed better to the birds. Especially for young birds.
  4. rvachickenmomma

    rvachickenmomma New Egg

    Apr 4, 2012
    bump! please help me choose a design :)
  5. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2012
    Southern PA
    I think it's probably a matter of preference - the first design seems a bit more roomy to me. If you go with the a-frame, I'd go with the larger of the two designs offered, since the first one is meant to house bantams or three "medium sized" breeds, and if your birds trend toward the larger end, you don't want them to be cramped.

    Also the angles on the a-frame coop look like it would be a more challenging build than the first square design.
  6. rebecuna

    rebecuna Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 6, 2012
    I'm looking for a good ark or tractor, too. Have you checked out Catawba Coops? The plans are just $20, and there's lots of testimonials with advice... this looks very similar to your 2nd option. People have warned that it's heavy and the ventilation isn't great, so maybe make modifications to help with that.

    I'm leaning toward the Catawba myself, but it's hard to commit! I wish I could see one and move it around first. I'm afraid it will be crowded, too... they seem SO small... I'll have 7 chickens, so I need to extend it at least a couple feet. Another I'm considering is from someone here:
    And another (too small for me but probably perfect for you):

    Good luck! Keep us posted on what you decide and post pics of your construction!
  7. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    Without a doubt I would do the Garden Ark. I've been to the designers home in Portland on a coop tour and had the chance to closely look over both the ark and the coop. I was very impressed with the design and the plans. I took a bunch of pictures of the ark in his backyard because I was so impressed I thought I'd like to build one, even though I don't need one! If you decide to build it, or just have questions about certain parts of the coop, pm me your email and I will send you some of the pics.

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012

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