The Coop

Update:  It’s been YEARS now since I got these, my original chicks.  And I’ve added several new ones to the flock including some Marans, an Ameraucana and some F2 Olive Eggers!

It’s here.  The Coop.

4 months ago my boyfriend presented me with a cardboard box full of  baby chicks.

3 months ago I started to build a chicken coop for them.  2 weeks ago, I finished it.

I normally do a lot of talking and funny story telling at this point in my posts, but not today.  Today, I’m just going straight to the pictures.

Not ’cause I don’t have a lot of funny stories to tell.  I do.  Lots of em.

It’s just that I have the feeling you’re gonna skip past all of the writing and go straight to the pictures anyway.  So why waste the funny?   Funny is a horrible thing to waste.

It is my honour to introduce you to …


Coop Title

CoopFirst copy


Coop 2
Coop 3
Coop 4


Coop 5
The box attached to the left side of the coop houses the exterior nesting box on top (which the chickens have access to from inside the coop) as well as storage in the larger door below.

Coop 6
Both of the doors have double security features.  You can’t be too cautious with a neighbourhood full of cats, hawks, raccoons, skunks, neighbours and other egg loving monsters.  Each door has a series of small Rare Earth Magnets, PLUS  strips of wood that pivot and lock the door in place.  That was the fella’s idea.  It’s completely functional and brilliant.

The lower storage compartment holds feed, treats, the egg basket and pine shavings.

Coop 7
The nesting box holds … well … eggs eventually.  I hope.  Oh my God, what if they never lay an egg?

Coop 8
I built a sliding piece of wood into the nesting box to make sure no eggs accidentally roll out.  Plus I can slide it up for easy cleaning of the box.

Coop 9



I know what you’re going to be  thinking when you see this next picture.  You’re gonna be  thinking …  there’s EGGS!  No.  There are no eggs.  Those are fake eggs which we put in the nesting box to encourage the chickens to lay their eggs in there, as opposed to some random spot in the coop or run.

Coop 10

This is the door going into the nesting box as seen from inside the coop.

Coop 11
Like my gates, all the coop doors close with Rare Earth Magnets.   Definitely predator proof.

Coop 12
Coop 13



To help the coop air out and to give us a better view of all the girls during the day I made pull out screens for both the upper and lower doors.  The coop is directly across from my dining room window, so when we’re sitting down to dinner we can watch the girls  put themselves to bed at 7:30 every night.  I love the screens.  They’re one of those things I didn’t intend to make, but ended up whipping up right at the end of the project.

Coop 14
I cannot tell you what the coop cost to build, because I have no idea.  Like so many other coop builders before us, we stopped counting when it got scary.  Of course,  I saved when I could.



Guess you’re  curious about the ring.  It’s my pride and joy.

Coop 15
It leads to a little door inside the coop.

Coop 16
The rope runs through a configuration of pulleys and eye hooks.

Coop 17
So to open up the door to the run all we have to do is pull the ring and the door slides open effortlessly.  The ring then slides onto the hook below to keep it open.  To close it we just remove the ring from the hook and the screen door spring at the top of the door, pulls the door shut automatically. Thanks to Heather Bullard and her coop for inspiring this particular aspect of my henhouse.

Coop 18
Coop 19
Coop20 copy
Coop 21
The galvanized tub is filled with dirt.  The hens LOVE to jump in it and give themselves dust baths.   The tub is from my mother’s house.  When I was teeny tiny she used to use it as a pool for me.

Coop 22
In honour of little Lucky who died early on.  Thanks to LeeAnne Bloye who kindly made the little gravemarker and sent it to me.

Coop 23



Looking down into the run from the door inside the coop.

Coop 24
I spent an hour or two at the cottage earlier this year searching for the perfect piece of driftwood to act as a perch in the run.  This was the piece I deemed perfect.

Coop 25
Every morning all 4 chickens relax in the sun on the perch.

Coop 26
A skylight.  Yes.  I installed a skylight made from a sturdy piece of Plexiglass to allow more light into the coop.  My house does not have a skylight.

Coop 27

At 7:30 every night like clockwork, the girls head themselves up the ladder to the coop and jump up on their perch to roost for the night.

Coop 28




Coop 29
And to all a good night.

Coop Night Final 2


That’s it for now.  If you’re interested, here’s another post with a few more details about the coop experience including shots of me  building.

And I’m sorry, but I do not have any building plans for the coop.  I made it up as a I went with inspiration from both Heather Bullard’s Chez Poulet and Mitchell Snyder’s Modern Coop which was featured in Dwell online.

3 months, 2 major injuries and a huge learning curve later the coop is complete.  And I couldn’t be happier with it.




  1. Shauna says:

    UN.BE.LIEVABLE!!!! You did such a great job! I love our coop, but yours is outstanding! Seriously, really. So many cool details. You really thought it out well and made sure to have it as functional as it is beautiful.

    Don’t worry, your girls will be laying soon. We bought our girls when they were 21 weeks old. It took about 2 weeks before the first one started laying. While we were on vacation this past week, another one started laying. Now, we’re just waiting for the 3rd one to drop;) We have Rhode Island Reds too.

    Finally, is there anything cuter than a fuzzy little chicken butt?

  2. Mike says:

    I figured it’d be great, but never expected the skylight. Brilliant!

  3. kristin says:

    I’m so jealous! I used to have chickens, but I haven’t had any since moving to the city. I’m wondering whether you’re going to overwinter your chickens. Do you have some sort of plan for that?

    • Karen says:

      Kristin – They’ll stay in the coop. The portion with the roost and access to the nesting box. It’ll be warm enough with their bodies and the addition of a 40 watt light bulb (which will also provide more light for them during the day to encourage egg laying). In the fall I’m going to insulate under the coop and the roof of it. That’s the plan. 🙂 ~ karen

  4. Julie shinnick says:

    Oh no you can’t eat the first egg!
    It will have to be preserved and framed!
    Well done you!

  5. Kharina says:

    I don’t think I have ever said this… that is one helluva sexy coop. I have seen quite a few, and this is without a doubt the sexiest coop. Evah.

  6. Robin says:

    Congratulations, Karen. The coop looks lovely and you are amazing! Now, there is no more excuse for them to live as welfare chickens- those chicas need to lay some eggs!

  7. KAREN. Oh. My.

    This is stunning! Job well done. Seriously, you should be proud for the design and accomplishment after so many months of hard work. This structure is modern yet rustic and oh so beautiful! Your girls are living in more style than me! And I love that little gravemarker for Lucky.
    So, if you had to do it all over again, would you do it? Loaded question, I know. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Holly – LOL. Um. I don’t know. Way too much work to do while also writing a blog and taking care of a 170 year old house. On the other hand, I couldn’t have afforded to have someone build the kind of coop that I wanted. I know one thing. If I ever move, that coop is coming with me! ~ karen

  8. mary c says:

    speechless. I was waiting and WAITING for you to post the final pictures. I thought about asking, but wisely knew you would not post until it was all a little bit past you. It is amazing, beautiful, stylish, chic, functional, quirky, and all you.

    Congratulations on your achievement!

  9. Amazing job! That first egg is going to taste soo good!

  10. Heather says:

    Holy crap. You didn’t just make a chicken coop, you made a chicken coop look *good*. I guess after seeing your backyard makeover I shouldn’t have been surprised. You take such care in your work, you should be proud of yourself!

  11. Kate says:

    This is freaking AWEsome! Your chicken’s home is cooler than mine!

  12. Susan says:

    Everyone else seems to have used all the best superlatives, so I’ll have to resort to making up one – Superkarenocdistichennycoopilocious! You took the best parts of both designs and melded them into a stunning, practical and unique addition to your home and home for your ladies. If Opra doesn’t call, she’s got no heart anymore.

  13. Courtney says:

    I never thought I’d say this but that is one beautiful chicken coop! It almost makes me want to have chickens (we certainly have the space for them)…almost.

    Now to you penthouse chicks: get to work on laying some eggs!

  14. Another Karen says:

    Really nice! And who knew hens ate watermelon?

    The coop is so clean. Definitely cleaner than my daughter’s room!

  15. Emi says:

    Absolutely stunning. I would be a very happy and lucky chicken indeed if I was one of your girls. May they lay and lay for you. It is beutiful, functional, and designed with all of the girls and your needs in mind. Just beautiful. Congratulations on a huge winner!

  16. Kat says:

    I knew you’d create an amazing coop, but…SERIOUSLY…WOW!!! This blew my mind. It works seamlessly with your garden design. Brava!!!

  17. Ann says:

    Don’t you know some nice architectural student who could draw up plans of your coop? Maybe you could sell plans to pay said student and no, I’m not such a student. Anyway, spectacular!

  18. Nancy says:

    Very awesome Karen..only you could make a chicken coop that looks like a natural part of your back yard decor..may you have many eggs as your reward…;-)

  19. Linda says:

    Un-freakin-believable. I was eager to see what it would look like and never would have imagined this. You are amazing!

  20. Susan says:

    Good job! The door w/ pulleys is GENIUS!

  21. misskher says:

    Holy crud. You completely and utterly outdid yourself!!

  22. Ruth says:

    Oh wow! I bet Tuco is kicking himself now for piping up… but, then again, more hens probably equal more bliss. 😀

    I have seen many coops in my lifetime, but this is OFF.THE.CHARTS! Fabulous!

  23. Amanda says:

    Was not expecting it to look like this. Simply stunning! This should be featured on design blogs all over the world.

  24. Jen says:

    That is the coolest fucking coop I’ve ever seen! WOW!!

  25. That is the most stylish chicken coop I’ve ever seen. You did a lovely job! Your chickens are well and truly spoiled.

  26. Tess says:

    The coop is just darling! Did you manage to get a scale in anticipation of eggs? You deserve Grade A Extra Large for all your efforts.

    • Karen says:

      Hey Tess – I was just at a flea/antique market yesterday looking for an egg scale. Didn’t find one, but I found a cute little antique whisk for cleaning out the crevices of the coop doors and some nice blue mason jars! 🙂 ~ karen

  27. Valerie says:

    Congratulations on your completion of this project. What a role model you are, basically demonstrating to us that with persistence and humour one can accomplish their dreams – whatever that dream is…so very well done!

  28. Bill Grigg says:


  29. Sara says:

    Gorgeous! Random side question. I’m pregnant with baby #2 in a different house than our last. Would rare earth magnets be strong enough to baby proof cabinets?

    • Karen says:

      Sara – Yup. Honestly the 1″ rare earth magnets are very strong. You might have to experiment with different sizes etc., to see what works for you. ~ karen

  30. Cynthia says:

    Wow, Nice work!

  31. Carol says:

    Karen this is so impressive and is a great example of how anything can be well designed and stylish on any budget,,,,a recycling centre, a dog house, a chicken coop etc. It does take a lot of thoughtful planning and consideration and good taste though which you have exceeded in spades! This will bring you so much joy for years to come! Stellar job, I love love love it!!!!!

  32. Samantha says:

    Absolutely well done! Spectacular! Gobsmacked! (I always wanted to use that word, hope it was well placed.) It’s been a joy and very safe watching you build this from this side of the screen. 🙂 Love it.

  33. bluephatmom says:

    Classy and elegant. I also love the chicken bum shot in picture two. You are a wonder and an inspiration Karen!

  34. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

    Definitely worth the wait. Thanks for sharing.

    It always amazes me that chickens instinctively sleep on a narrow little ledge. Don’t they ever have those dreams where their leg suddenly kicks? It would knock them right off their pole and onto the ground below, a rude wake up indeed. “What the…?”

  35. Talia says:

    Wow! That’s nicer than some houses I’ve seen! lol. Really, you did an incredible job. You should be so proud!

  36. Liz S. says:

    Only you could make a chicken coop look like a piece of art. It looks like it’s meant to be there. I love the lanterns too!

  37. Steph says:

    My goodness! You weren’t going for simple there at all, were you?! What a GORGEOUS coop! I mean it…. absolutely fabulous! I wish I could have chickens, I’d copy your coop. (or TRY) But, city ordinances say “NO”…

  38. Beth says:

    Wowza. Our first coop was a tarpaper shack, so yeah. Wow. Well done! Gorgeous!

  39. Lou Cinda says:

    AWESOME!!! These have to be the happiest, most well housed chickens I have EVER seen!! It is like a condo! With dirt spa and all! You did a fantastic job!! And they are already on a schedule……bed at 7:30….sleep through the night…how great is that?

    Lou Cinda

  40. Rachel says:

    I had hens a few years back and cannot wait until I can have them again, they are so cool! You will be amazed by the crazy eggs that your girls will produce…all sorts of shapes and colours with speckles and spots and of course,because your hens are brown, your eggs will be brown (or should I say the hens eggs will be brown!) My kids were little when I had hens and it was a wonderful learning experience, they still remember it very well. Maybe you can find some kids to amaze, also boyfriends are easily amazed!

    • Gerald says:

      Rhode Island Reds–they produce really nice brown eggs (only). Many will be double yoked when they first start laying but that will end soon.

  41. Tina W. says:

    Wow! Those are some lucky chickens.

  42. Jen says:

    Holy cannoli. That coop is nicer than the house I live in. Chickens w/ lantern ambiance, skylights, and an aesthetically pleasing perch – wow! Tuco should’ve stayed quiet so he could enjoy these digs.

  43. lynn says:

    Karen ~ Great job! I love our coop and ours is not
    nearly as nice as yours! Today I removed your site
    from our Favorites tab so there is NO chance our hens will see this post! Otherwise they’d ask which direction Canada is and start off to your place…I am sorta feeling like a chicky slum lord!
    Seriously, I love how compact it all is and I was wondering if you’ll need to heat it during the cold months? We are down South and we do so I suppose you will, but where and how? The solid door panels will come in handy for that too –
    good thinking! Can’t wait for you to get your first egg!

    • Karen says:

      Lynn – I expect to heat the coop with a 40 watt bulb. I’m looking into using a solar panel attached to a battery for that. ~ karen!

      • Sara says:

        Your coop is amazing, I love it, and it seems to me rather practical because it is built tall and not have to squat to get eggs, etc. Nice touched even storage. YOu thought of everythiNg. BEAUTIFUL and PRACTICAL.
        I had a chicken coop in Philadelphia, PA and what I did for heat, was a bought to tiles that had been specially made like a sandwich and you plugged it I had it on a timer and laid it on the floor of their coop and it gave radiant heat, soft. I bought 2 of these tiles and even in the worst of winters it was great. I bought them online from a chicken, coop web site from Pittsburg, PA. DOn’t remember the name. Enjoy your chickies and the fresh eggs.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks Sara – This has actually been the mildest winter I can remember in Ontario so there haven’t been any problems. Two nights I left their heat lamp on in the coop and that’s all they needed to keep it above freezing. And frankly, I think they were fine w/out it. I was doing it more for my peace of mind than the comfort of the chickens. The chickens probably thought I was nuts. 🙂 ~ karen

    • Gerald says:

      Heat not required except in extreme climates (read sub-zero areas. Down and feathers are the best insulation there is and they have a high metabolic rate as well–AND they do huddle close when it is cold. Cold–not a problem.

  44. I am just blown away….

  45. Absolutely outstanding! This is the BEST chicken coop I’ve ever seen and I just love it! You should have some very happy chickens producing lost of eggs! ;o)

  46. Mickey says:

    Well done, Karen! Your Green Fakers is totally awesome.

  47. Jessie-Lee says:

    This is totally not at all what I was expecting. But can I just say, it is so you. Thats funny, your chicken coop is you! Awesome job, your most magnificent piece to date!!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Jessie – I was actually gonna go a little more traditional with a peaked roof, etc., but the size of my hard wouldn’t accommodate it so I had to go flat roof, slightly more contemporary. It still looks rustic in real life because I didn’t completely stain the wood, sort of white washed it a little bit. Or … gray washed it. 🙂 ~ karen

      • S woodberry says:

        I got a wild hair and bought chickens for me and my kiddos (my husband is still shaking his head). So I have been scouring the internet for an idea that I can build; I’m tired of being at the mercy of another’s expertice/attention to detail. 🙂 Two quick questions: 1. assuming you get snow where you live in Canada, do you have to heat the coop in the winter: do you board up the ventilation slits on top? 2. assuming again (yes, I know assuming is bad bad bad), how does the flat roof work out with that? Snow just piles up and that’s okay? Sorry I’m an ignorant Northwesterner about all-things-Canadian-weather-wise. I’m seriously contemplating designing a coop similar to yours. Now if my 4 young kiddos will let me have the time and space to tackle this project!!! You did well. It’s pretty awesome!

        • Karen says:

          Hi Shannon! I do get snow here. Snow. Lots of snow, lol. And very very cold. I’ve never had to add supplemental heating to the coop until last year. And I’m glad I did it because this winter was even colder. One of the coldest in history. What I ended adding was a wall mounted ceramic heater. It’s very thin and poses no fire hazard so I felt safe with it. You just need to keep it warm enough that they don’t get frostbite on their combs and waddles. People are always worried about chickens in the cold, but the truth is the heat is much more dangerous for them and way more likely to kill them. So remember to make sure they have fresh clean water in the summer and a place to cool off. I often host down an area of dirt under a small tree for them to lay on. And yes the snow just piles on the flat roof and it’s fine. Once it starts melting and getting heavy in the spring I push it off with a shovel. Finally, don’t ever board up the ventilation in the coop. It stays open all year long because again, more than cold, humidity can kill chickens. It gives them respiratory problems. So they need really good ventilation to keep the coop from getting too humid. There was one storm this winter that I should have covered the vents and didn’t. I didn’t realize it at the time but the snow was coming in sideways and right onto their roost. Poor things. They lived through it just fine though. 🙂 Also in the search bar on my site look for the “keeping your chicken’s water thawed”. If you live in a similar climate then you’ll need to know about it. Good luck! ~ karen

  48. Heather says:

    (insert high pitch) I want a chicken coop!!
    I wonder how many husbands/partners got woken up this morning with pictures of a chicken coop thrust in their faces!
    WOW is all I can say. Well done!’

    • Karen says:

      Heather – Thanks! Yes, chickens are a whack of fun. BUT … I think I’ve proven that you don’t need a man to build you a chicken coop! Just some time and some tools. And a bandaid or two. ~ karen

  49. Tracy says:

    Absolutely beautiful!! I love everything about it and am now wondering about our own coop and how I can make it better! I have coop envy. I sort of hate you for that, but don’t take it personally!

    • Karen says:

      Tracy – Totally understandable. I had coop envy/hate for Heather Bullard for a while there. Still kindda do. Love her white coop. ~ karen

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