Started on October 15th 2011 by new garden member Fabian Rosario and facilitator, Greg Todd, with the able assistance of Tawhid Uddin, this portable chicken coop was completed in just two weeks. The design for the miniature A-frame coop came off the internet and cost under $30 to build. Local merchant Park Avenue Building Supply donated the plywood and 2x4’s.
The mineral roofing felt and paint came from Build It Green, a local salvager and the steel fencing was found on the site.
The coop is portable. With the assistance of four strong gardeners, the coop can be moved so that the power of the chickens to fertilize and kills weeds can be placed where needed most. It features an enclosure that can be opened on two sides to provide access for cleaning and a built-in chicken run to provide the hens with free air and sunlight. Of course the chicken run can be opened so the birds can run free in a larger area if needed. It can easily accommodate two chickens and probably four with some extra care and tending.
Please note that we used the terms “hens” exclusively here because only female chickens are allowed within the confines of New York City. The City will allow chicken keepers to have an unlimited number of hens but no roosters, which make a lot of noise, in case you haven’t noticed and thus aren’t welcome in congested areas such as New York.
During its first six months, the coop was situated in the southwest corner of Imani II where the chickens cleaned up a lot of weeds and fertilized the soil. In the early Spring of 2012, the coop was moved to the southeast corner of the lot where the chickens helped clear another weedy section of the garden. Planting beds were placed where the chickens had been and a variety of peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, okra, squash and pumpkins were planted in the old chicken run. With the chicken manure in the soil, regular watering by the Uddin family and the full sun available in Imani II, they all grew very well.