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Here's a list of products and books we think make building your coop and keeping chickens easier, safer, and more fun.
We limit our recommendations to products we've used personally or that have come highly recommended by our customers or readers. The links here are mainly to North American retailers, but can be used for reference wherever you are. If you're sensitive at all to sawdust, straw and hay, or any dust and pollen, these will bring a smile to your face. Of course, if you're building The Garden Coop, The Garden Ark, or The Basic Coop chicken coop designs, the henhouses in these coops can be used as brooders as well (if not already occupied by a flock).
A brooder cage from a company like Quality Cage (pictured is their chicken cage size 3624, which ships knocked down) lets you house your chicks in a garage, basement, or spare room. It may cost more than a DIY version, yet it was nice to have it ready to go out of the box. There are a growing number of books on the subjects of keeping chickens, organic gardening, and cooking.
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Please note, some of the larger retailers offer commissions for the privilege of being linked to, so we will make a little something on those sales at no added cost to you. I recommend TimberPro UV's Internal Wood Stabilizer to preserve (but not stain) bare softwood lumber. With our Quick Kits, you get all the hardware you need in one box (not including plans or the wood, roofing, and bulky stuff). I'm a fan of the RIDGID brand, available at Home Depot, in large part because of their lifetime service agreement. I recommend a standard 25' Tape Measurer especially on larger coop and garden projects where you may need the length.
If you think building your coop will be the only time you'll use a pair of metal snips, you can probably make do with lesser ones than these Wiss Compound Action Snips. Clamps help a lot when you're building a coop, especially if it's just you and your own two hands.
I do not have a specific recommendation for Safety Glasses, other than that I highly recommend you wear them, especially when operating power tools. A good pair of work gloves will prevent blisters and splinters from working with wood and protect you from scrapes as you work with hardware cloth. We sell pre-made Nipple Waterers and the nipples to make your own for poop-free water and more time between changes.
The challenge with drip waterers in the winter is keeping the water liquid both in the bucket and on the exposed nipples. Your choice of feeder will depend on the size of your flock and how the feeder needs to fit in your coop.


Tipping is not an issue with our coops, as wind flows through them, rather than building up pressure against a solid wall. We very rarely add heat to our coop, but there are times and places in this world where it makes sense to do.
We use a Coolaroo Triangle Shade for extra shade on our patio during the summer, and I've had a few customers use them to shade their chicken yard, attaching a corner to their Garden Coops.
Check locally at farm and feed stores and hatcheries, or order your chicks online and have them shipped in the mail! It gives protection from other pets and predators, and the wire floor and poop tray make it super-easy to keep clean.
For clean water that your chicks won't be tempted to swim in (or poop in), a nipple waterer is the way to go. And while they'll find little stones pecking around your yard, it's good to give them a steady supply, sized just for them. I had my eye on this BioPod Plus Auto-Harvesting Black Soldier Fly Grub Composter for a couple years before taking the plunge.
Some good sources of seeds online are Territorial Seed Company, High Mowing Seeds, and Victory Seeds (lots of rare, open-pollinated, and heirloom seeds). There's no shortage of rainfall in Portland, except during the summer months when our plants and soil need it the most. This downloadable garden planner and journal from Northwest Edible Life is way more organized than you (or I, anyway) ever will be, which is just what you want in a planner, right?
Stencils make it a lot easier to get just the right image or pattern onto your coop, both inside and out. Bainbridge Farm Goods creates modern, colorful, clever aluminum signs to decorate your chicken coop and garden.
Portland artist Joe Wirtheim's poster art project The Victory Garden of Tomorrow is a contemporary take on mid-century propaganda posters.
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It usually makes sense to buy this locally, but there are often some surprising deals on Amazon that include shipping, so it's definitely worth a look. They're easy to work with, provide shade and UV protection, are impact resistant, and made to last. For bigger coops and projects, you might consider adding an impact driver (a wrist saver) and a pneumatic stapler (for attaching lots of hardware cloth).
You can get simple spring-loaded clamps or pony up for these trigger clamps, which are easier on the wrist, provide a more solid hold, and have a greater holding capacity. You can get replacement filters as needed, and ones specific to the task or particle size you need to block.
I use Atlas Nitrile Tough Gloves (links to a 4-pack, though one pack will more than do for a coop project). Most recently, I switched to these Etymotic High-Fidelity Ear Plugs that I bought for a concert where I still needed to be able to converse with people. Place one near the pooping grounds, above where the chickens can get them, and downwind of your and your neighbors' windows. My Pet Chicken and eFowl both ship small quantities and have lots of breeds to choose from. An excellent, fully secure DIY solution is to build the quarter-height module from The Garden Run enclosure series. You can start chicks on them from day one, but if you had chicks shipped in the mail, give them a few days with an open dish waterer as well to rehydrate. To have enough heat to brood chicks, you could jump to a 150W or 200W emitter, but reviewers report that these get super hot and can scorched feathers that brush up against them. We've used a variety of feeds and scratch mixes — everything from making our own to an organic mix to locally grown, non-organic pellets. Be sure to wear a dust mask or respirator (see above) when handling it — not because it's toxic, but because it's so fine and sharp (that's its mode of action against insects) that it can irritate your nasal passages and lungs.


No specific recommendation for a source, but the idea that they do well in the summer droughts makes me happy.
We also provide options where we can, so please let us know if you find a better deal elsewhere online.
You can find them and the closure strips you need to attach them at just about any Home Depot store, or special order them. On cordless tools, this covers chargers and batteries, which often fail well before the tool. I keep saying I'm gonna upgrade to something fancier, but my old plastic set just won't fail. A couple 6" trigger clamps should be all you need for your coop project and many other DIY purposes. I like them because they're comfortable, have good grip to them, and are thin enough that your fingers can stay nimble. I put them in while I'm running my power tools, enjoy the extra peace while I'm not, and I can still hear my kids when they call me in for dinner. Since it sits at the bottom of your waterer near the nipples, its warmth should also keep those mechanisms flowing free. At 100W, it adds just enough heat to take the edge off a hard freeze, but not so much that your girls get spoiled. When your chicks are fully grown, simply attach this unit to your outdoor coop to expand their secure day run.
The smaller openings on the feeder keep the chicks from scratching around in the food and wasting it. You'll save on feed costs and all that, but the real fun is watching your chickens GO CRAZY over these little grubs. Great designs, and the floursack towels are another way (other than eggs, of course) to bring your chicken love into the kitchen. Customers have also had great results with German-made Osmo One Coat Only HS Plus, a semi-transparent, earth-friendly stain that comes in a variety of beautiful, mixable tones. Whatever kind you get, make sure they can handle at least 19-gauge thick material (the lower the gauge, the thicker the material).
I went with the 12" clamps, but I can't say I've every really needed the wider capacity. Plus, it fits into even the coziest henhouses and should present much less of a hazard than an open bulb. Fortunately, one of the best sources for feed around is available online: Scratch and Peck Feeds.
Chickens hunt insects naturally, and this system lets you restore that part of their natural diet, even in a backyard coop setting. I also wear prescription glasses, safety glasses, and a respirator when working, so the in-ear style is one less thing attached to my head. You just want to give the flies one last, irresistable dish to sample along their buffet line.
If you're distant from their center of operations, shipping may get costly, but check in with them about placing a bulk order to get that cost down. This particular one is kinda flimsy, but it fits better than any other I've found, and ours has lasted quite a while.
Finally, for small flocks of 3 or so, we've also just used a mason jar chick feeder (see below) in the henhouse.



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