Gary Adrian’s Chicken Coop Project

Share on Pinterest

I absolutely love it when fans and followers sends through photos of their successful coop project. Here’s one recent example that I just had to share with you.

Gary in Iowa has been keeping us posted on his coop’s progress since May and it’s now complete and the flock has moved in. He used the Gambrel plan and made a few modifications to fit the space he had to work with. He then insulated the floor with 2” ridged insulation to keep the heat in and lined the walls and floors with Fiberglass Reinforced Panels (composite material used in car washes, hospitals, commercial kitchens and laboratories) for the walls and floors, which won’t rot or support mold or mildew.

Gary points out by using this he can just pressure wash it when it’s time to clean out the coop. As you can see in the photos, he divided up the inside so he’s got room for storing the feed and his cleaning supplies – which I think is a great organizational idea! The coop’s got heat and fans and notice how he built it with a tree nearby to take advantage of the shade in the summer. He installed a barrier underground around the run to keep out raccoons and coyotes.

I’m sure we all agree that this coop is a true beauty!

Gary Adian's Coop

Gary Adian's Coop

Gary Adian's Coop Gary Adian's Coop Gary Adian's Coop Gary Adian's Coop


Chicken Coop Insulation and Ventilation Options

Share on Pinterest

Now that winter is officially here, if you haven’t already (and you really should have done by now!) you need to look at your chicken coop insulation and ventilation. This is a place where everyone seems to ‘know’ the answer and yet there are a lot of wrong answers. I’m hoping to clear up some of the confusion in this area for everyone. There are a few things that you MUST do.

Have a DRY coop

Currently a good portion of the US is rainy and wet and expected to stay so for a few months. Add cold to that and you can have some very unhealthy chickens.

The cold, wet air can encourage illnesses of the head and lungs such as flu, cold, bronchitis, cough, or some of the more ‘official’ sounding chicken diseases like coryza (a bacterial cold bug). But more than just illnesses, the damp conditions will breed a horde of fungi and molds that can be very dangerous or even fatal for your flock. To prevent this, start by removing anything that can serve as a breeding ground for mold or fungus inside the coop.

  • Hay and straw usually come with their own types of molds and fungi so if they start to get damp, scrape and dump it. In wet weather I usually don’t even bother putting it in the coop to begin with.
  • Water dishes that have been repeatedly filled but never washed. Slimy mold tends to build up and then the hens are actively drinking it. Yuck.
  • In places where it is often rainy (like the Pacific Northwest) or has a long rainy season (Florida and the low areas) it’s best to make a coop that does not have insulation between the walls because unless you spray it with nasty chemicals that can outgas into your coop, it’s going to get damp and because of lack of air circulation it will stay damp which turns into mold and mildew. Possibly even the dreaded black mold that is guaranteed to get into the lungs of your flock and YOU!


So let’s say that in the summer your coop has good airflow, catches the breezes just right, and stays nice and dry even in the rain. Your hens are happy and productive, giving you a lot of eggs because you also give them good feed and access to fresh water and insects.

Then winter comes . . .

This same coop that worked so well during the summer months becomes a nightmare. It doesn’t keep the drafts out completely. The plastic you put up over it catches the wind and frequently rips pieces of the coop or blows away. Your hens are freezing cold and huddled together so tightly that you don’t think you could pry them apart with a stick. The water is frozen in the dish.

What do you do?


So your hens are warm and cozy. They’ve snuggled up together against a big hay bale to keep warm and there are enough hens to generate heat that prevents them from getting cold in the 20F temperatures outside. But the air grows moist from a combination of spilled water, ammonia fumes from the chicken waste, and no ventilation. Soon the hay bale wilts and the fungal spores start to grow from inside. Even the walls themselves are growing mold and mildew from the moist conditions. The chickens start to get sick from the damp, moldy air and the fumes from their own waste.

Or you could take those warm, cozy hens you started with and keep them that way by making sure there is a good airflow from bottom to top (cool air comes in on the bottom and carries away the air that is too moist or too warm up through the roof). You can use hay bales if you want, but keep in mind that they carry a lot of fungi and molds so it’s critical to keep the air the perfect balance between moist and dry or you’ll have problems. We’ve already explored how the the temperature variations can cause problems, as well as the moisture, but try taking some additional steps to keep your flock safe in the very likely event that you aren’t perfect and will never have the perfect balance of temperature and moisture.

  • When you do seasonal cleaning, spray the walls with a light solution of vinegar and lemon, lavender, or thyme oil (thyme oil was the original Lysol…). This will help prevent mold and mildew.
  • Paint the interior of your coop at seasonal cleaning time with mold and mildew resistant paint. They have a low VOC paint that is safe for animals and humans.
  • Put a couple of drops of apple cider vinegar in your chicken water to help combat mold or fungal growth where the water gets spilled.
  • Stay on top of chicken waste, especially in the winter.
  • If you serve your flock a hot mash or peelings for a treat, make sure they eat it all and if they don’t make sure it’s cleaned out of the coop within two days.

There are several options for insulation that work for coops depending on your needs. If you live in a hot, dry area then the type of insulation you need is drastically different from someone who lives in a cold, damp climate.

HOT & DAMP (Florida, Coastal South, etc) Insulation isn’t needed, but ventilation is a must to prevent mold and fungus.
HOT & DRY (Southwest US) Insulation isn’t needed as much. Focus on keeping flock hydrated.
COLD (or COOL) & DAMP (Pacific Southwest) Light insulation since temperatures rarely go below 25F. Ventilation is important to prevent illness, mold, and fungus.
COLD & DRY (Midwest states) Insulation required, ventilation type depends on amount of chickens in coop. May need additional heat source, but usually a heated water dish will provide enough warmth unless you have very few chickens or a very large coop.
EXTREME COLD (Upper Midwest, Canada) Insulation required, ventilation depends on amount of chickens in coop. Will certainly need additional heat source.

Roll insulation works really well, but to prevent mold problems inside the walls where I can’t see it, I like to use a safe roll insulation like bamboo or recycled denim. I’m not really concerned that way if the hens peck at it a little. Just staple it up on the walls, then cover the walls with cut to fit chicken wire or micromesh

Photo by: fishermansdaughter

Need Help Building Your Coop? Don’t Have Carpentry Skills?

Share on Pinterest
There are no images.

I get emails pretty often from folks who want to build a chicken coop of their own but just don’t have the skills or the time or even the ability due to age or disabilities. To them, I generally give one big suggestion that I am going to share now: time banking.

If people have even heard of time banking at all they generally think that they couldn’t possibly have anything to contribute or that they just don’t have the time to participate. 99.99% of the time you’re dead wrong to think this and it’s just feeding yourself negativity. Think positive!

hands after working

First I should backtrack and address what a time bank is and how to find one. Wikipedia defines a time bank as: the practice of reciprocal service exchange which uses units of time as currency.

So a time bank in practical terms is a group of neighbors who get together to exchange labor with each other for credits in the form of hours. So let’s say I go and build a coop for a local dentist who is part of the time bank exchange and I spend 10 hours of time building that fancy coop for him, then I have a credit of 10 hours in my time bank account that I can ‘spend’ with anyone. In that instance, I used those credit hours to get some dental work done at a big discount (only charged for materials) and I got my wife a well-deserved massage with just enough left over to have free babysitting for our anniversary. See how it works? Most people don’t earn big chunks like I did that time – it’s usually in drips and drabs – but they add up!

To find a time bank in your area that is already established, or for information about starting one locally, go to If you’re outside of the US, I believe there are links to the international organizations on that website but you can also google time banking in your country for more information.

Back when my wife and I first started getting into time banking, perhaps 3-4 years ago, my wife didn’t want to even bother with it because she didn’t want to just be a ‘taker’. In her mind, she had no skills or anything of value to contribute. After the first meeting she sat down and started thinking of all the things she could do as “just as a housewife”:

    1. She could drive using our van. People just needing a ride from point A to point B gave her a call or sent an email if they needed to use her ‘time’. She even picked up the local time bank coordinator’s kids from day camp for a week and earned 15 hours of time banking time for it!
    2. She can cook. Some folks worked 60 or more hours a week and didn’t want to eat out every night so she offered to make them nutritious freezer meals. They bought the materials and she supplied the time. It worked out great!
    3. One single mother in our group needed babysitting one day a week for a month while her mother was in the hospital. My wife kept an eye on that little one as playmate to our own very easily and happily and earned time while doing it.
    4. Someone in the group wanted to learn how to knit and sew so she taught them.
    5. Another person wanted to know how to can vegetables and make jam. Again, she taught them.
    6. Our kids came along one day and earned family hours by helping decorate for a bar mitzvah. Then they were invited to stay and take part which wound up being a cool bonus and a learning experience for everyone.
    7. The other time our kids helped was by going to the local nursing home and reading to one member’s sick mother.
    8. I helped folks weed their gardens and paint their fences among other tasks like building chicken coops.

So as you can see, even a tiny child can contribute to a time bank. And yes, you’ll definitely get a lot out of it for yourself. If you’re older or disabled you can even probably find someone locally who can build that coop for you or maybe help you put up a chicken run. But more than that, time banking is a great way to get involved with your community and make new friends.

I do recommend that everyone who wants their own coop to at least try to build it themselves first and turn to outside sources for help when they get stuck. Most of the plans I sell are very easy to use and made with the beginner in mind. There is pride and satisfaction to be had when you manage to do something yourself. But for when you do get stuck . . . I definitely recommend time banking! 😉


How To Build Your First Chicken Coop

Share on Pinterest

Whether you are an accomplished woodworker or you can just manage to put together an Ikea bookshelf kit, building your first chicken coop is not out of your reach. Chicken coops can be incredibly simple in design or complicated, multi-step projects that will take you a long weekend to build. It’s up to you. Pick a plan, buy your supplies, and get ready to construct your backyard masterpiece.

Choosing the Plan for You

The Internet has truly made building your first chicken coop easier than ever before. With a few clicks of your mouse, chicken coop blueprints, material lists, and step-by-step instructions are available to you for very little cost. An excellent place to find chicken coop plans is obviously here at my website 🙂  Decide how many chickens you’d like to raise, the basics requirements you’re looking for in a coop, and how much (or little) you’re willing to spend. Also keep in mind your level of woodworking experience. If you have no experience, it may not be a good idea to pick an extremely complicated coop. A basic coop will suit your needs too and will be much easier to build. Regardless, purchasing a plan that comes with pictures and easy-to-follow instructions is sure to make your task easier!

Gather Your Supplies

A chicken coop is generally a good “first” building project, one that would be excellent for a parent and children to complete together. It requires few materials and isn’t too difficult to construct.

Once you have the perfect plan, bring your supply list to your local hardware store and check your items off one by one. Lay out your supplies before you start to build and make sure you have absolutely everything you need. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck midway through your project, realizing you don’t have the necessary part or tools.

As you gather your materials, consider quality vs cost. Sure, one type of wood may be extremely inexpensive, but will it hold up over time? A different type may weather better and better protect your flock from the elements. Ask a sales associate for details. There’s more to consider than cost… what quality chicken coop do you want?

Special Considerations

Follow your instructions carefully. Please do read the instructions! If you take the time to do so, you’ll be much happier with your final product.

Make sure that your chicken coop masterpiece is strong and sturdy to protect your flock from predators. You may want to add insulation to your roof to keep your birds warm in the winter and vents to keep the air temperate in the summer. Chickens like plenty of sunlight and room to roam, so make sure that you supply them with both. Have you built nesting boxes? You’ll need some, preferably one or more for every five chickens.

So Many Benefits

There are many benefits to building your own chicken coop. Not only will it cost less than buying a kit or pre-built coop, but you’ll also be able to modify your coop to meet your specific requirements. Building your own coop is the perfect chance to become a better builder or to bond with loved ones over a project. Raising chickens is a rewarding hobby and this fun begins before the chicks even arrive. You’ll remember your building experience for years to come—here’s to making that experience a great one.

Photo by: Dale Calder

Most Popular Chicken Coop Designs

Share on Pinterest

If you’re considering raising chickens, you may be surprised at the vast array of chicken coop designs there are to choose from. There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all variety! If you want a basic A-frame coop and chicken run, it’s quick and simple to make. If you want a large, wooden house with multiple laying boxes and a large, fenced yard, that’s popular too. If you have opulent tastes and want a miniature version of your own house scaled down to chicken size, even that is possible.  Here’s a rundown of the more popular chicken coop designs to get you started.

Wood is a Great Place to Start

Wood is by far the most popular building material for chicken coops as it is versatile and holds up well over time. The most popular chicken coops are smallish, angular, and easily constructed with wood. They can be A-frame or square and can accommodate a handful of hens. Some chicken coops are walk-in. Others are not. Some have lifting hatches for easy egg retrieval. Some coops are large and heavy; others are simple to move from one part of your yard or property.  The designs that I provide vary from small and simple to huge and breathtaking and come with a complete supply list and step-by-step instructions for each coop.

If you don’t like the look of the traditional chicken coop, fear not. There are many companies willing to supply you with a quaint chicken cottage or lakeside chicken manor. For some ideas, check out: Whether you want to match your coop with your house or simply add an elegant addition to your backyard garden, a fancy chicken coop may be just what you’re looking for.

Innovation Can Be Incredible

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your coop. A quick web search or Pinterest inquiry will result in some pretty incredible coops. Car parts can be turned into an edgy coop. Solar power or gardens can be implemented into your coop’s rooftop. Coops shaped like homes or even eggs have even been creatively crafted. For some cool inspiration, check out The Poultry Guide’s 10 Most Creative and Innovative Chicken Coop Designs:

How Does One Pick The Perfect Coop?

There are as many chicken coop designs out there as there are individual desires and requirements. When choosing the perfect design for you, here are a few things to consider: How many hens do you wish to accommodate? Where is your chicken coop going to be located and what topographical issues do you need to work with (hill, streams, flood plains, etc). Will your hen house have access to proper lighting, temperature controls, and ventilation and does your coop design offer what you need? How does your coop protect your hens from predators? How many laying/ nesting boxes do you wish to have and where will they be located? As you research chicken coop designs, make a list of features that are important to you.

Make a Budget… And Stick To It

Before purchasing your chicken coop, decide how much you can reasonably spend on your new coop. This will help you narrow down your choices. One can spend as little as $50 on a basic, homemade coop or thousands of dollars on a chicken coop kit. If you’re building your own coop, write down each part you’ll need and do some price comparison shopping.

No matter which type of chicken coop you fancy, take your time, do your research, and spend within your budget. If you rush and get the wrong coop, you’ll waste money and likely be disappointed. The perfect chicken coop is out there waiting for you.

Photo by: Allan Hack

What is the Ideal Type of Chicken Coop?

Share on Pinterest

What if there was a solution that let you maximize the health of your chickens, give them access to the absolute highest quality food they can get (for FREE) while minimizing the amount of time you spend on maintenance AND have your chickens automatically fertilize your garden at the same time?

Too good to be true? Not at all.

Introducing…”mobile chicken coops“.

Yes, mobile chicken coops really is the ideal solution for anyone looking to raise a truly healthy flock of chickens in their backyard, whether it’s for meat or eggs.

mobile, but not ideal...
mobile, but not ideal…






Have you heard of Joel Salatin? If not, you have now. He’s an American farmer, lecturer, and author who raises livestock using holistic methods of animal husbandry, free of potentially harmful chemicals, on his Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.

Watch this fascinating video where he talks about the incredible benefits of his ingenious system where he uses mobile “shelters” (as he calls them) to raise his chickens:

Can you see how with a mobile coop you could do the exact same thing as Joel in the above video but perhaps just on a much smaller scale?

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us here at ChickenCoopGuides. We’ll be adding 3 new chicken coop plans to our collection available to our members. One of them is a beautiful and very innovative mobile coop with wheels that has the coop on top and an attached run below it.

This mobile coop is suitable for a small flock of 5-8 hens, perfect for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of raising chickens yet large enough to provide most small to mid-size families with all the eggs they’ll need.

Watch your inbox tomorrow, for an email with the subject line:

“Check out our new awesome coops!”

If you’re looking for a coop that is as close to “ideal” as you can get you don’t want to miss tomorrow’s email.


PS. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to join, sign up today and check out all our existing coops and you’ll see the 3 new coops (including the amazing mobile coop mentioned above) in the members area once they have been released sometime during the day tomorrow.

Click here to join now!

Photo by: scotnelson