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. 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.

  2. Lara says:

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

  3. Laura C says:


    These are so nice! I have a question:

    Do the girls get out for good behavior?


    • Karen says:

      Heh. :) No but they did all push on the gate at the same time once and perform a Great Escape. Their freedom didn’t last long. ~ karen

  4. Heather says:

    Amazing. Again. Kudos!!

  5. Carol says:

    Simple, yet elegant! What do the chickens think?

  6. marilyn says:

    awesome as usual!

  7. 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

  8. Jen H says:

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

  9. mary c says:


  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. cred says:

    the Anne Heche of hinges…. so funny!

    the gates look amazing

  13. 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!

  14. Bonnie G. says:


  15. Judy says:

    Way t’go! You/they rock!

  16. Donie says:

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

  17. farquist says:

    Loved the Anne Heche reference. You funny.

  18. 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. :-)

  19. Krikit says:

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

  20. 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.

  21. Therese says:

    Fantastic result!

  22. J9 says:

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

  23. lori says:

    Magnificent !!! I love the gate!

  24. Bridget says:

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

  25. Pati Gulat says:

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

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