The Coop Gates.
Gate building for beginners.

A couple of months ago I had a very minor, hardly worth mentioning actually,  nervous break down.

Over chicken poop.

And plants.

And chickens eating, then pooping out plants.

As much as I loved the romantic notion of chickens wandering around my backyard, I was not so in love with the reality.  Because the reality is, no matter how many times you quote Emily Post to them, chickens have horrifying hygiene practices and terrible manners.

Seriously.  Poor, poor manners.

When’s the last time  a friend came over, shoved their face in the dirt, ate all your perennials, pulled their pants down and pooped on your patio?  Since most of my friends passed the age of 40 that hardly ever happens at ALL.

So I made the decision this spring to put up some gates in between my side yard where the coop is, and the rest of my backyard.  With a little help from  my design friend Carol Reed.  I wanted something quick and easy to do, it needed to be see through so I could watch the chickens and it had to be high enough so they couldn’t jump/fly/scramble over it.  It also had to blend in with my farmish coop area and my contemporary backyard area.

Within 2 days, this is what Carol came up with.  On the fly.  Without ever actually seeing anything in person.


I loved every single one of them, but I based my decision on having the area be as visually open as possible AND … ahem … whatever was going to be the easiest to build. Ahem. Because, holy crap, I get sick of building stuff and being in a mess all the time.

Nobody believes me when I say that, but it’s true.  Mostly.

So, easy and see through were my biggest factors.

1 week after receiving Carol’s design suggestions I had built option …

The gates made out of wood stained the same colour as the coop, with round horizontal metal bars.

And it couldn’t have been easier.


Take a look at this, which I accidentally happened across at Home Depot. It’s a kit that’s meant for building deck railings.

Complete with metal rods …


And pre-drilled 2×4’s. If I lengthened this, shortened that, turned it on its side, added a few pieces of wood here and there … it would fit perfectly.

Predrilled 2 X4 S

I pre-stained all of the wood I was using because it is always easier to paint before rather than after.

I literally inserted the rods, screwed 4 pieces of wood together and hung them up.

Kay, there was a bit more to it than that, but I’ve decided not to get into it because I have decided there isn’t a single other person out there who has the need to build chicken gates.

O.K. maybe there is someone else out there who needs chicken gates, but if you’re the buildy type you should be able to figure out how to do it just by looking at these pictures.

I will mention that I used something called double acting barrel hinges. These you might recognize from cafe doors. Saloon doors? The kind of doors that swing both ways. They’re the Anne Heche of hinges.

They have about one billion other names, but they all do the same thing. They allow a door to be pushed open or closed from either side of the door.


If you ever plan on installing cafe door hinges you need to have 2 hinges on the top and 1 hinge on the bottom to deal with the weight of the doors. The bigger the door, the bigger the hinge you need. There you go. That’s the only building lesson you’re going to get today.

These gates took 1 weekend, 2 advisors (Carol Reed and my carpenter neighbour Grant) and 3 tools. A saw, a drill and a hammer. And I’m not even really sure I used a hammer.

Coop Gates 2

The gate don’t look level if you look at them at the bottom against the slate, but it’s because I laid the slate so it slopes out of the backyard for proper drainage.  So it’s an optical illusion.

Coop Gates


I still need to add a wire brace to run from corner to corner on the doors to keep them from sagging.  Which I’ll get to.  Eventually.  One day.  I think.
Coop Gates Barrel Hinges


And the added bonus from doing these gates?  They work.  I now have a contained pooping palace.

And my very own perfectly happy, jailbirds.



  1. Elaine says:

    Those look wonderful! So much better than chicken wire. Nice job!

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Very nice Karen..I love that they got together and pushed the gate open to escape..Smart little ladies..That must have been hilarious to see!!!

    • Karen says:

      Nancy – Oh I’m almost positive it was a happy accident for them. I came out the other morning to check on them, as I do every morning, and none of them ran to greet me. Which was very strange. I looked around. No chickens. Then I heard a little chicken stampeded run up behind me. They’d been wandering around in the backyard. ~ karen

  3. Shauna says:

    I LOVE it! Sheesh, we really need to come up with something more for our chickens too. We have a bit of a run, but we need a bit more because they revolt and don’t lay eggs when I don’t let them out. They’ve been eating our garden – a no go. We’ve now tried to seal up the garden a bit more, and they’re getting a second chance today, but if my garden is dug up again… Our layout is different (i.e. not on the side yard), but I really like this idea and will now think about how we might incorporate it into our own plan. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Marion says:

    Those are fabulous! I’m sure your jailbirds are perfectly happy in their own pen. I bet they hated sharing the yard with you anyways! haha

  5. Leslie says:

    I LOVE the clever repurposing of the railing kit! I’m so rethinking a lot of things in my chicken coop & pasture this very instant!

  6. Call Me Patty says:

    You’re my hero, Karen.

  7. Anne Heche says:

    “The kind of doors that swing both ways. They’re the Anne Heche of hinges.”

    Hey!! I resemble that remark. :P

  8. Kristen S says:

    Big ol bucket of awesomesauce! Nice work Karen

  9. Janet says:

    Dang! Makes me wish I could have chickens.

  10. Natalie says:

    They are beautiful! Plus that Anne Heche comment about swinging both ways and the Eggrevated assault chicken talk bubble really made this post fantastic. :)

  11. Lisa says:

    OMG, they have pre-drilled 2x4s??? Crap. I drilled those F*($&%*($ $*(%$* myself.

    unbelievable. Never saw them at the HomeDepot, that’s for sure.

    • Karen says:

      Lisa – I KNOW! It was like fate. And they were cheap! About $1.50 more than a regular 2×4. WAYYYYY worth it. ~ karen

  12. Leona says:

    I kind of hated you over the perfect coop. In a loving way of course. I’ve ruthlessly quashed all feelings of jealousy over your enthusiastic gushes of love for your chickens. But now I just called you a word that made my husband laugh. Cuz, It’s a word I usually reserve for my best friends and women I really admire.

    Yep, you made the list, (insert word here). Uhhh, I mean Karen. Honestly, it’s perfect.

    I will have chickens someday… (Le Sigh)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I know exactly what you called me. Glad to be part of the club. I know that feeling of coop envy. I had it every time I looked at Heather Bullard’s coop before I had chickens. ~ karen

  13. ruth says:

    Love it! Classy! “eggravated assault” L.O.L.!

  14. Scouty says:

    I loved how Carol saw the issue with the vertical bars and that the surroundings are all horizontal. That is impressive.
    Each of Carol’s design reflected the horizontal element, and option #3 was outstanding. I loved how Karen was able to re-purpose the deck fencing to create these wonderful gates! Don’t you just love/appreciate when things come together so beautifully?
    I do ;)

  15. Lynn says:

    Perfection! The “Coop de gras” as it were… [wink]

  16. Your brilliant Karen! It truly looks awesome great job!

  17. Tigersmom says:

    “They’re the Anne Heche of hinges.” heh heh heh

    They look amazing and apparently you ARE ok with imprisoning the girls. I really can’t blame you as having a cat, a young son, and a dog that was literally raised in a barn, I am all about anything that will minimize my need to deal with poop.

    • Karen says:

      Tigersmom, LOL. I think you might be confusing me with another blogger. 2 cats, no young son and no dogs. ~ karen!

      • Tigersmom says:

        No, Silly, I’m talking about ME having the one cat, young son and a dog, indicating that I can RELATE TO wanting to minimize the need for dealing with poop.

        You and your hilarious blog are truly singular and there is no possible way I could ever confuse you with anyone else.

        (Now that I go back and read this I wonder if you knew this already and are just jerking my chain and I’m missing the joke : /)

        • Karen says:

          No, no. You weren’t missing the joke. I was confused. Drunk maybe. At the very least stoned. ~ karen

        • Tigersmom says:

          I knew it was only a matter of time before you came up with some clever way to dispose of all that chicken poop.

          You’re smoking it! ; )

  18. Anne says:

    Beautiful coop and gate! How many chickens do you have? We have a chicken ark in our backyard for our 3 ladies. That seems to work well for us. Did you ever think about going that route instead of an actual coop? Is that what you have a coop that looks like a shed? Were you letting them out for an hour a day to peck around? Is that when they would poop up your yard? So now, if I am getting this you have the hen house and then a gated area (run) for them to peck around? :)

  19. Alexus says:

    Very nice! Love the design and the little chicken coop too. I really like chickens and you obviously have made a great coop (aka jail) for them!

  20. Well done Karen! You make it seem so easy.

  21. CBuffy says:

    Beautiful. Easy. Efficient.
    Kudos to you AND Carol Reed!

  22. Carol says:

    Karen you have mad skills. The best part about drawing up those concepts was that I knew you could actually build any of them, I even knew you would find the rail kit. ; )

    I should mention the horizontal rails work for your particular situation and isn’t something that would make sense to do anywhere. Because the gates were going inside an already secure gated yard there was no need to worry about anyone (other than the chickens) being able to climb the gate. Otherwise, horizontal rails do facilitate climbing and should never be used to form barriers for security or safety (ie; stairs, pools, elevated decks etc.).

    Beautiful photos – the gates and coop yard look absolutely amazing!! Great job. : )

    ~ C

  23. Jamiek says:

    OOOHHHHH, You know what? I didn’t read the plans for #3 very well. Looking at them I thought they were solid, like shades. This is very nice and much cleaner that any screen! Very, very nice job!!

    • Paulina J! says:

      That’s what I thought too! Love the way this looks.

      BTW, “They’re the Anne Heche of hinges” HILARIOUS!!

  24. Winegirl says:

    That’s freaking awesome! I get the best ideas from you! Scary, huh? Fun-tastic pic – thanks!

  25. Rondina says:

    They’re beautiful. I never thought of using the bars horizontally.

  26. Paul says:

    Way to go! Way to think out of the box! There is so much stuff out there that can be used for multiple purposes and you did a great job of “repurposing” the rods.

    The idea of putting the rods horizontally is also the best because most of our “pets” can’t figure how to get through them. Put them vertically and they walk, squeeze, push and keep trying until they get through. Put them sideways and they don’t even think about escaping.

  27. Lara says:

    Beautiful! I think you have the classiest chicken coop I’ve ever seen!

  28. Laura C says:


    These are so nice! I have a question:

    Do the girls get out for good behavior?


  29. Heather says:

    Amazing. Again. Kudos!!

  30. Carol says:

    Simple, yet elegant! What do the chickens think?

  31. marilyn says:

    awesome as usual!

  32. Mary Kay says:

    Karen the gates look fabulous!!! And no major injuries or sailor words?? I am impressed because we cannot do one project around our house with an injury (usually to me) and lots of sailor words! LOL

  33. Jen H says:

    I’m guessing the weight of the doors is enough to keep the chickys contained?

  34. mary c says:


  35. Gayla T says:

    I’m so proud of you for choosing #3! By far the best choice. I’m worried though that you may have tramatized the girls. If you were going to send them to chicken jail, they should have had their own lawyer, at the least. Maybe if you showed them the other pics they would see that it could have been much worse and you did have their happiness in mind. I love the Anne Heche remark… would really be nice if you dedicated it to her…you know, with it’s sign like you see along the highways that are dedicated. The Anne Heche Chickengate has a good ring to it, don’t you think?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. If someone makes me a nice engraved copper plaque (is that how you spell plaque or did I just ask someone to make me tooth guck?) I’ll put it up on the gates. Good thinkin’. ~ karen

  36. Brenda says:

    Karen They are gorgeous LOVE LOVE them. Kudos to both you and Carol..genius really, that why we all love you so much….hmm wonder if they would keep 2 rowdy friendly labradors in ??? Way cool.

  37. cred says:

    the Anne Heche of hinges…. so funny!

    the gates look amazing

  38. Moe says:

    The gates look great but is it wrong to feel bad for the chickens?? Are they squawking at losing their freedom?? Still laying well?? Why do I feel this unexplained sorrow for these beautiful birds. I’m not even a fan of chickens.. but I do love eggs and KFC. :o)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. The chickens are fine. They have more room than they ever did. When I let them roam the backyard it was only for an hour or so at a time. So now they get to be fully outside (as opposed to in their run) if they want all day long. ~ karen!

  39. Bonnie G. says:


  40. Judy says:

    Way t’go! You/they rock!

  41. Donie says:

    Very Cool Coop! Now your fancy chickens live in a gated community…and I love “the Anne Heche of hinges” line! Funny! =)

  42. farquist says:

    Loved the Anne Heche reference. You funny.

  43. Judy D. says:

    The gate turned out GREAT. When I saw the sketches, I didn’t know option #3 were bars. The pic made me think it was slated wood…that’s why I didn’t choose it. Kudos to you on doing such a wonderful job. You’re an inspiration to us “un-handy” gals. :-)

  44. Krikit says:

    Good work, all! I admire a good chicken homestead. ~:0)

  45. J9 says:

    P.S. When I saw you chose #3, the 12 year old inside of me audibly said “yesssss!” and then promptly fist-pumped. As if I won something.

  46. Therese says:

    Fantastic result!

  47. J9 says:

    Yep, had my eye on #3, just looked right. Great job, they look amazing!

  48. lori says:

    Magnificent !!! I love the gate!

  49. Bridget says:

    Holy cow… those doors are absolutely gorgeous! Who knew chicken coop doors could be gorgeous?!?

  50. Pati Gulat says:

    Your gates are fabulous ! LOVE the “eggravated assault” pic !! ROTFLMBO !!! You never cease to amaze me,Karen…

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