Clever Shed-to-Coop Conversion

A Phoenix couple turned an unsightly garden shed into a chic backyard coop for their three chickens.
By Linda Longmire
April/May 2011
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Caroline Van Slyke put her skills as an interior designer to work on her urban backyard chicken coop, adding cheerful color, unique embellishments and all-around charm.

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My neighbors, David and Caroline Van Slyke, turned an old metal storage shed that was once an eyesore in the corner of their yard into a stylish urban backyard chicken coop for their three hens, Charlotte, Cinnamon and Henny Penny.

David converted the front and right side of the shed into screened panels using chicken wire, and he added a screen door for easy access into the coop. Inside the 10-by-10-foot structure, he built a roost and three laying boxes that the hens access by a landing and two ramps. Caroline, who is an interior designer, painted the coop a stylish green and yellow, embellished it with unique chicken art, and added a retractable, black-and-white-striped curtain to protect the hens from the hot Arizona sun. They topped off the coop with a cedar cupola and enclosed it with a picket fence, giving the hens their own cozy yard to peck around in. Fruit trees and mature landscaping around the coop also help shade “the girls” from the afternoon sun. The entire job took two weekends to complete.

David and Caroline only feed the hens organic feed and table scraps, and they don’t use any pesticides, so the chickens produce organic chicken poop, which the Van Slykes use in all of their gardening beds. The backyard chicken coop has worked out so well, they plan to add more chickens to their flock in the near future.

Linda Longmire
Phoenix, Arizona

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Doreen Pollack
5/16/2012 1:06:03 AM
Phoenix has it's very own Tour de Coops, a self-guided tour of backyard chicken coops on November 10, 2012. Caroline has been on the tour in the past. Check it out at

5/28/2011 5:40:44 AM
I wanted to add chickens to our Alpaca farm and this article has given me the idea I needed to make it reality. We have a metal shed that we barely use now and what a great way to give it a new purpose. Thanks.

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