How To Build The Perfect Chicken Coop Garden Combo

chicken coop garden combo


When setting up, practicality, convenience, and space-saving strategies are important for success — and that’s what I love about building a chicken coop garden combo.

When you use your garden to feed your chickens and use your chickens to fertilize and prepare your garden, you are about as close to hands-free homesteading as you can get.

There are two primary types of chicken coop gardens with their own benefits and drawbacks: a combo designed for your chickens to eat the plants and one designed to protect your plants while still allowing your chickens to help with garden work. Let’s dive into some important details to figure out which one might work for you.

garden with chickens
ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

I strive to find ways to lessen my workload and make my homesteading journey more efficient. When I discovered that chickens can do a lot of my gardening work for me, I designed a chicken coop garden combo that saves me time and money!

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is A Chicken Coop Garden Combo?

What Is A Chicken Coop Garden Combo

A chicken coop garden combo is a garden designed to give your chickens access either to the plants or to the soil in your garden. Some people (like me) have a chicken garden because we want to use our chickens to benefit our garden. Others simply want to provide a garden filled with healthy plants for their chickens to eat because their main goals are producing healthy chicken meat and eggs. There are benefits to both ideas, but you’ll want to know which one you’re aiming for before designing your coop.

Getting Started With Chickens

Why Have A Garden With Chickens?

Why Have A Garden With Chickens

A garden with chickens will save you a huge amount of time and energy because your chickens will feed themselves while working on your soil. Since I already had raised garden beds, when I decided to combine my garden and chicken coop, I built portable, lightweight chicken pens with PVC and plastic netting to put over my garden beds (4×8 feet). These moveable pens allowed my chickens to pick out the bugs and roots from my soil while turning it over and scratching in their own fertilizer. It was easy, and the chickens did all the work!
multiple raised garden beds with chickens

Benefits Of A Chicken Coop Garden

  • Chickens can turn over/aerate your garden soil and your compost pile
  • Chicken manure can enrich your garden soil
  • Chickens act as natural pest controllers for your garden
  • Chickens will eat your weeds and food waste
  • Nutritious garden plants can keep your chickens (and their eggs) healthier
  • Keeping your chickens and your garden together can save on space

Getting Started With Your Chicken Coop Garden Combo

Getting Started With a Coop Garden Combo

Like with any garden or chicken coop, you’ll need to work with the space and the land layout that you have and find a personalized plan that’s best for your needs.

I already had a garden with raised beds when I started using my chickens to help with my garden work, so building portable chicken coops to fit over these beds was a great option for me. Something different might work better for you.

raised garden bed with chickens

how to build a chicken coop

Materials You Might Need

As with any aspect of homesteading, personalize your chicken garden to fit your budget and work with the materials you have access to. Keep in mind the longevity of the materials as well as how easy they will be to clean or move. Work to your strengths — don’t try to DIY too much if creativity isn’t your thing.

Commonly Used Materials For A Garden Chicken Coop

  • Chicken wire
  • Chain link fences or electric netting (blocks predators more effectively than chicken wire)
  • Lumber (some woods are better than others, but different woods can be pricey)
  • Converted outdoor dog pen (easy option for smaller flocks)
  • PVC pipe (inexpensive, lightweight, and great for portable coops/coops on wheels)
  • Recycled/repurposed materials (takes time and creativity to collect and assemble)
  • Wood pallets (if you’re pretty comfortable with DIY)
  • Corrugated tin, PVC roofing, or asphalt shingles for the coop’s roof

How To Build A Garden For Your Chickens

How To Build A Garden For Your Chickens

There is nothing chickens love more than having their own land to roam and plants and bugs to peck away at to their little hearts’ content. Free roaming makes for happy, healthy chickens, and happy, healthy chickens give you delicious, healthy eggs!

Keep in mind that chickens will eat everything down to the root given enough time. The best method to combat this is creating a chicken coop with multiple runs: a chicken paddock system.

Five Acre Chicken Coop Garden Layout

You can plant several areas with chicken-friendly plants, then rotate the chickens through the areas. This is a chicken paddock system. I’ve even seen paddocks that had chicken coops in the middle with multiple doors. You open the one you want them in, let them eat about half of the plants, and then move them to the next paddock before they kill the plants. For this method, you’ll need enough space to rotate through so that plants have enough time to recover.

chicken coop garden
chicken coop and garden area

There are about as many options for having a garden with plants for chickens to eat as there are breeds of chickens, so have fun with the planning process. Some people even decide to do a greenhouse chicken coop combo, so dream big if you want to. Just remember that if small works best for your needs, small is just as good.

Crops That Are Safe And Healthy For Your Chickens

Growing crops for chickens might seem like a funny idea, but, honestly, it’s the best way to ensure the quality of their eggs and meat.

If this is your goal, you will want to make sure you’re growing plants that are safe for chickens, which is (conveniently) easy and inexpensive.

chickens in garden area
Good Crops For Your Chickens
Vegetables & Grains asparagus, squash, lentils, alfalfa, peas, beans, rhubarb, garlic, oats, onions, sunflowers, clover, lettuce, kale, pumpkins, cabbage, wheat
Herbs basil, oregano, dandelions, lavender, thyme, nettles, wormwood, fennel, comfrey, nasturtium
Fruits raspberries, blueberries, currants, elderberries, blackberries, strawberries, gooseberries
Trees & Shrubs crabapple tree, mulberry tree, Siberian pea shrub, serviceberries

basics of homestead gardens

How To Build A Chicken Garden Combo That Protects Crops

Build A Garden Combo That Protects Crops

The reason for designing a coop/garden that keeps your chickens from destroying your crops while still having them close by is to conserve space while also making it easy and convenient to use your chickens to help benefit your garden.

Quarter Acre Chicken Coop Garden Layout

There are many ways to keep your chickens away from your plants while still using them in the cultivation process, such as using netting and PVC to create hinged lids or removable lids for your plant beds.

raised garden beds with fencing
raised garden beds protecting plants from chickens

Another great option is to build a fence around your beds. You can either install a door into the fence for easy access for your chickens, or you can just pick them up and set them inside if you don’t want to bother with a door.

protecting garden beds from chickens
raised garden beds with screens

For areas in your garden where you don’t have a lot of plants — or for larger plants that need space to grow — covering or surrounding individual plants is also an option.

protecting plants from chickens
plants protected from chickens

Crops That Repel Chickens

Even with a fence or border to keep chickens away from your crops, it never hurts to know what to plant around your chicken coop to help keep the little scavengers out of your family garden. If you know anything about chickens, you know that they will eventually eat just about anything (including these plants), but plants with strong smells and odd textures will deter them if they have better options.

screened in garden beds protecting plants from chickens
raised and screened garden beds

Crops For Repelling Chickens

  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Catnip
  • Chives
  • Marjoram
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Tansy
  • Yarrow
  • St. John’s wort
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
peppermint plants repel chickens

how to build a chicken nesting box

Is A Chicken Coop Garden Combo Right For You?

Is A Chicken Coop Garden Combo Right For You

If you have chickens and a garden, combining the two is most likely the right decision because it will make your life easier and the food you produce healthier.

Gardening is hard work, and keeping up with the fertilizing, aerating, and composting needed to keep your soil healthy is sometimes hard to stay on top of. Why not put your chickens to work doing what they love and make your life easier at the same time?

chickens foraging in garden

which is the best backyard chicken breed

Your Turn!

  • Which style of chicken coop garden combo stood out to you most and why?
  • What benefits are you looking for from your chicken coop garden?

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