Garden Loft Coop - finally completed!

Dancingbirder

Chirping
Aug 2, 2020
25
40
54
San Rafael, CA
After a long month of building, preceded by a month of finding and ordering supplies, we just finished building the Garden Loft coop (from The Garden Coop) on Sunday! Until now, the chickens were spending the day in an enclosure rigged out of dog e-pens, deer netting and shade cloth connected to a small pre-fab. They were located right in front of our patio door so we could keep an eye on them. At night we were bringing them in to a small cardboard enclosure in our bathroom so they could sleep. This had been our setup for almost two months i.e. way, way too long.

We never built anything before, and we are super satisfied with the result! We learned a lot about power tools (lots of youtube videos), hardware, building supplies, logistics and how to fix mistakes :p Thanks so much for all information in this forum; I came back here constantly to answer questions like "where do I put the feeders and waterers? How do I attach hardware cloth? Do I paint the inside of the coop?" You all are amazing!!! The coop designer, John, answered questions really quickly as well, which was fantastic.

We are relatively new to our neighborhood, and it seems several blocks worth of people have walked by to introduce themselves and tell chicken stories. Now that we are done, I am thrilled to have the chickens out of the bathroom (no more daily chicken shuttling in and out), and to get my patio space back. The chickens are quite happy. They have't figured out how to put themselves to bed yet, but we think they will get it in the next few days. We have lots of little kids visiting with parents throughout the day as we only have deer fencing up on that side of the house right now.

From the plan, we made a few modifications. We elevated the coop with a layer of foundation blocks and top caps due to this particular location being prone to standing water during the rainy season. Rather than put a hardware cloth skirt, we encased the entire bottom and attached it to the bottom supports using a technique we learned while putting gopher guards in our planter boxes. That was then filled with 3-4" of red lava rocks that I'd excavated from another part of the yard, and topped with ~6" of mulch and soil from when we sheet-mulched our grass. We used screws + fender washers to attach the hardware cloth instead of staples. We installed self-closing hinges on the door, and used Metal Sales roofing panels from Lowe's since it gets quite hot here in the summer. We also added ladders to the roosts in the run and coop in the hopes that our tiny Serama frizzle will eventually be able to get herself up and down.

Of course as soon as we finished it, we started thinking about improvements. I'd like to add a storage unit extension on the back or side, and add gutters to channel rainwater. If I had to build it again, now that I know what I'm doing, I'd lower the total height, especially the loft and the egg door by 4-6 inches (I am 5'4" and can't reach all the way in). We need to add more mulch to the top as our ladies have already created deep bathing holes for themselves. Importantly, I am excited to put cute holiday decorations on it!!
 

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Dancingbirder

Chirping
Aug 2, 2020
25
40
54
San Rafael, CA
Color me impressed! One comment... I can't tell if the areas under the roof are covered with hardware cloth...? Nice overhangs, by the way. You have done a great job, and your chickens should love it!

@Sally PB Yes! there are ceiling panels that have hardware cloth stretched across them.. and then since we are paranoid we put strips of it where the panels met the framing as well :D
 

hayley3

Crowing
14 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,072
1,956
446
Southern Indiana
Very nice! It's great the neighbors are excited about the chickens too!
We suffered through a temporary structure for quite a while too and it's such a relief for them to have a nice home.
 

BayAreaMike408

Chirping
Nov 24, 2020
70
88
78
San Jose, Ca
We built the same coop and Id like your opinion on how many hens this can comfortably hold. The instructions say 16. We currently have 12 hens (2 are bantam silkies) but my mixed flock is only 3-4 weeks old and are still in the brooder. I’ve read on other reviews that he was exaggerating how many can comfortably fit and many said there’s no way 16 will fit.
Do you think my 12 will have enough space here?

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DBEF994D-BBFF-4A3D-8C43-CB6C2217899E.jpeg
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,650
27,249
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
We built the same coop and Id like your opinion on how many hens this can comfortably hold. The instructions say 16. We currently have 12 hens (2 are bantam silkies) but my mixed flock is only 3-4 weeks old and are still in the brooder. I’ve read on other reviews that he was exaggerating how many can comfortably fit and many said there’s no way 16 will fit.
Do you think my 12 will have enough space here?

View attachment 2467282 View attachment 2467283

What are the dimensions of the coop and the run?

You need 4 square feet of space in the coop and 10 square feet of space in the run per standard-size adult. Also, 1 square foot of permanent, 24/7/365 ventilation per bird.
 

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