Chicken Ark - Side Off

Enjoy Hours of Fun & Get FREE Eggs Out of the Deal. Raise Your Backyard Chickens in a Handbuilt Catawba ConvertiCoops Chicken Coop from My Simple & Now Improved $19.99 Plans.

I intentionally left the door open on my Catawba ConvertiCoop the other day. I wanted to see what would happen.

Running chicken

Chasing Chickens

My three daughters came down from the rabbit cages into an area we call "the glade". It's a patch of grass surrounded by trees which usually stays well shaded during the summer months. That's where we keep the mobile chicken coop when the temperatures get above 90 degrees. "Daddy!" they chimed, "You let the chickens out. Can we chase them back into the coop?"

I can't imagine anything more entertaining than watching your kids run around at full steam... birds running, feathers flying, trying to chase chickens back into a coop. They might as well be trying to herd cats. Eventually the kids did learn how to gently coerce the birds back into their Catawba  ConvertiCoop.

I could have told the kids a little later that evening the birds would have gone back into the chicken ark naturally to roost. But what fun would that have been?

Catawba ConvertiCoops :: NBC17 Urban Chicken Interview
Click to view video

The decision to get chickens was an easy one to make. They're inexpensive, relatively self-sustainable, and really fun to watch. My question was:


How can I keep chickens in the city?

People think chickens are smelly, messy, and loud beasts. This could not be further from the truth. Because I live in a town with livestock ordinances, I had to find a way to convince my neighbors that chickens weren't such a bad thing. Just wanted to drop you a line after having completed the build. First let me say that I was reluctant to purchase your plans thinking I could figure it out from the numerous pictures and descriptions available on your site. However, I decided it would be less complicated to work from plans and let me tell you it was money well spent. The materials list alone saved what no doubt would have been many trips to my local Lowe's and all of the detailed measurements and cut lists probably saved me at least a day of figuring.

My fiance was just as excited as I was to be building our own chicken coop and surprised me with an early birthday gift of a sliding compound miter saw. The two of you have provide me the grand illusion that I might be a decent carpenter. - Paul Rulli

Building an ark from the Catawba ConvertiCoops DIY Chicken Coop Plans addresses two of the three major objections your neighbors will have against chickens. Because it is highly mobile, the smell and mess are a non-issue. The chickens will not stay in one location long enough to foul the area. A firm "NO ROOSTERS" policy will eliminate the third objection.

The chicken coop as art.

The Europeans have taken chickens arks as they call them, to an art form. But with the US dollar weak against the Euro, who can afford to pay $1,000.00 or more for a place to keep their chickens? The Catawba ConvertiCoop can be built for significantly less money, and still maintain the look of a piece of fine cabinetry built with relatively few woodworking tools.

It's possible that you may have already seen one of those amazing European chicken arks and thought, "I wonder how I could build a portable chicken coop that looks that nice?" My improved $19.99 booklet will show you how.

render of coop

A plan so simple, even those inexperienced with woodworking projects can do it.

Really... Take my wife for example. She home schools our three daughters, keeps a neat and tidy house, and ensures that everyone has clean clothes. She's a good cook and can follow a recipe to the letter. But she's no carpenter or cabinet maker. Neither am I for that matter. What she can do well is follow instructions. You don't have to own a "New Yankee Workshop" to build a Catawba ConvertiCoop that will stop pedestrians and passers-by in their tracks.

Just be prepared to answer a lot of questions about your chickens and where you got your coop. People will be amazed that you built it yourself. And now it's even easier. Over the course of the past two years, people have built these coops and sent me emails like this one:

I'm really bummed because I just sold another coop like the type I designed. The difference is; the  Catawba ConvertiCoop takes me 3 half days to build. My design takes me 2 weeks or more of half days. I sell my coop for $650 and can probably this one for the same amount, if not more.

All in all, I'm very impressed with the coops plans. You've accomplished a great thing by making plans for people to build a great coop with limited tools.- Deniece Hopkins

Deniece's Coop :: Side View, Closed. Deniece's Coop :: Side View, Open with larger roost bar. Deniece's Coop :: Side Open View Deniece's Coop :: Nestbox View
Click to enlarge
But in addition to building these coops, they have sent me feedback on the plans with additions they made, building steps they switched, and overall suggestions to people like yourself on how to make building this DIY chicken coop even easier. In December 2009, I collected all the emails and incorporated their excellent ideas into the book. Along with new more detailed technical illustrations and hints on how to make your Catawba ConvertiCoop even better, the thickness of the book nearly doubled. However, the price remains the same!
  • Step 1: Price out wood and fixtures at your local home improvement center using my Catawba ConvertiCoop DIY Chicken Coop Plans materials checklist

  • Step 2: Cut your wood using my easy to follow directions.

    I've done all the math for you! I've included a cutlist and an illustration showing how many pieces of your new Catawba ConvertiCoop you should be able to liberate from a piece of dimensional lumber. A miter saw, jigsaw, and electric drill are all the electric tools you need.
  • Step 3: Assemble your Catawba ConvertiCoop using engaging illustrations and directions.

    If you can put together a model kit, you can build a Catawba ConvertiCoop using simple powertools. My building illustrations are professionally rendered and illustrated. The most complex tool in the instruction booklet is a router, and you don't even really need that. You won't need an 18" rabbited rotary dado planer/sander/grinder whatever... no matter how much Norm Abrams or Bob Villa tries to convince you otherwise.
  • Step 4: Relax and enjoy your chickens

I decided to take this task on while my husband was underway on his first submarine patrol. Crazy, maybe...but I like challenges. I liked the idea of being able to move the coops. I set out (with the help of my 70 year old grandmother) on building my first chicken ark, let alone my first big wood project. It took just a few days and that's only because I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old running around.

Kudos to you for writing up the Catawba ConvertiCoops plans... the most detailed and precisely worded plans I've ever seen! The detailed pictures were a wonderful help as well. My husband was quite impressed when he got home :) Thank you so much for supplying these plans!!! - Samantha

Samantha's Coop :: A small board warping issue, easily fixed Samantha's Coop :: The helpful 2 and 4 year olds! Samantha's Coop :: Smaller coop, scaled down from the original plans Samantha's Coop :: Side opens easily on hinges.
Click to enlarge

Imagine having these spunky little charismatic creatures in your backyard. Sometimes they look like little dinosaurs as they streak across the yard. And people love em. My house is right beside the city park and pool. Mothers and children come into our backyard all the time to see the garden, the rabbits, and especially the chickens. All the time I'm asked, "Where did you get your chicken coop? It's amazing." They're always surprised when I tell them I how easy it was to build it myself using regular tools and dimensional lumber from a home improvement warehouse.

Mitzi and I get asked about our homestead so much that we've put together a 3 fold brochure that details what we're doing and how we did it. I've had over 20 people ask me to build a Catawba ConvertiCoop for them. Even more want to know if they can come out with a tape measure and measure my chicken ark so they can build their own. Folks, these are not people I know. These are people on the street, walking past my house as I'm watering the tomato plants.

If you buy my plans, you won't need to come to Wake Forest with a tape measure. It's all in the booklet for you.

My 15 year-old son finished the coop in just a couple days. He has never built anything before in his life and did great! It looks even better than the photos online. He has stained/sealed it and it looks like a high-end piece of furniture. I am sure he will have no trouble getting the price he wants for it...if he can let it go! Thanks again for the great customer support. - Amy (and Ricky) Sizemore

Ricky's Coop :: Side View, Closed. Ricky's Coop :: Side View, Closed. Ricky's Coop :: Side View, Closed. Ricky's Coop :: Interior View.
Click to enlarge


And to be honest, I have ulterior motives in selling these plans.

As of September 1st I found myself among the ranks of the unempl... er, self employed. God has truly blessed our family in that we are debt free (Romans 13:8). This means that our family of five can get along on an amount of money that most people would consider significantly below the low-income level. Yes, it means giving up a few things, but it now allows me to be much more actively involved with my children's education and day-to-day operations of my family and household. That's kind of a cool thing that I missed out on when working a regular 9-5 position.

The sale of these plans also has allowed me to stay at home and work on my next project called The Grain Mill Cooperative. The co-op is holding a fundraising campaign from March 4th through April 15th. For more information go to

The Grain Mill Cooperative :: March 4th - April 15th
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Dear David,

I have never once in my life written a note to an author of a book, until now. And I am an avid reader. Earlier today I purchased your book and was so impressed by how quickly you answered my questions during the purchase process.

I've just read through the plans while regularly referring to the SketchUp file. Wow! It all works together so nicely. Like I said I just hope that the materials in France match up to your materials list. I actually wish it wasn't a holiday (Labour Day) here tomorrow just so I can go out and get the materials needed. I'm still a bit nervous about that miter saw and am hoping I can find a neighbor who can help me with some of the cutting.

I was impressed by how your humor, politics and character came through in your writing. Thank you for your great ideas and for sharing!


Chicken Coop Plans

As an architect, I was set up to build my own. When I saw your plans I briefly thought of reverse engineering it (not too difficult from the photos and drawings), but your presentation was so classy and your writing so witty, I just felt I had to endorse you. Keep up the terrific work! - Brian fingerpoint


Looks great! I just want to say GREAT JOB on your ebook. It is one of the best Ive ever seen out on the net. Very easy to understand and the images are superb quality. Excellent additional resources too like the 3D file, petition and the neighbor handout. Smart ideas! - Dave

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Satisfaction Guaranteed

If you are not satisfied with your plans, let me know and I'll refund your purchase price with no questions asked. Well, that's not entirely true. I'll ask you what I could do to make the packet better so that others don't have the same experience you did. And hey, even if you enjoy the booklet and the notoriety that comes from having a beautiful chicken coop, I'd STILL like to hear from you with suggestions. Send me an email to catawbacoops@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thanks! It was a fun project and it only took me a day and a half to complete. - Joe

I got a call from my dad last night.

"Bubba," he said. (He calls me Bubba when he's feeling chummy.) "Bubba, I read your 3 fold brochure that you wrote about your urban homestead. I have to tell you that I think it is well written and entertaining."

"Well thanks dad. I try to write like I speak." I replied.

"Son, have you considered that maybe there are people out there who would want to know what steps you had to take in order to get your chickens permitted?"Actually, I hadn't considered it at all, until then. So if you ever see my dad, feel free to thank him for inspiring the idea for a...

FREE DOWNLOAD eBook entitled, "Keeping The Letter of the Law." or...

How Two City Slickers Got Chickens Inside the Town Limits


Urban Chicken eBookIn this free Adobe PDF document, I outline the steps that Mitzi and I had to take in order to get everyone to agree that chickens were a cool thing. Included are suggestions for:

  • Checking your local municipality's codes and regulations regarding livestock

  • Using Google Maps and Google Earth to ensure you don't do one lick of work more than you have to

  • Relating to your neighbors and understanding their questions and objections to your urban poultry

  • Creating marketing materials to leave with them

  • Creating the necessary forms and sign offs

  • Dealing with local level bureaucrats, and why they do what they do

by scrolling to the top or bottom of the screen!

But Wait! There's More!

After purchasing a set of Catawba ConvertiCoop DIY Chicken Coop Plans, I'm going to throw in an additional piece of information FREE OF CHARGE. Knowledge is power. I'm going to GIVE you the 3D file that I used to create the illustrations in the book.

Of course, without a program to view the file, it's worthless. That's why I'm going to include a link to the Google Sketchup 3D modeling software in your packet. In Sketchup, you can review all the steps required to built a coop just by clicking on the tabs at the top of the screen. You can also fly around the Catawba ConvertiCoop and zoom in on parts that you really want to see... all in Real Time on your computer.

Catawba ConvertiCoops :: 3D in Google Sketchup
Click the image to view the video preview of my completely interactive 3D tour.

Just thought I’d drop a line to let you know how I made out with the Catawba Coop plans.  Your plans are awesome! Your concise instructions and drawings left no doubt about how to put it all together.

My little flock of Ameraucanas love their home…especially when I park it on top of a fresh anthill.  I just finished building my second one, which I am taking to an animal swap meet in the morning. I’m hoping to generate a bit of supplemental income with this.  Although I have a great job, we’ve cut back and there isn’t any easy overtime available anymore.  A few hundred bucks extra a month makes a huge difference. - Bob

Chickens Inside the City Limits

BONUS: I'm also going to include the marketing forms I used with my neighbors in MS Word Doc file format and the Petition I used with the town permitting office... That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel. You can just make changes to my documents as you see fit, print them off, and be well on your way to the fun of having chickens in your own back yard.

So to Recap What You'll Receive When You Order My Catawba ConvertiCoops DIY Chicken Coop Plans

  1. You'll get either an eBook, CDROM, or printed booklet with complete illustrations of assembling your own Catawba ConvertiCoop

  2. You'll get my original Google Sketchup 3D file with guided assembly tour tabs

  3. You'll get Google Sketchup Viewer for PC or Mac OSX

  4. You'll get my free eBook "Keeping the Letter of the Law" oulining the steps and actions Mitzi and I took to have the only approved/permitted chickens inside Wake Forest

  5. You'll get an MS Word document of the marketing materials I submitted to my neighbors

  6. You'll get an MS Word document of the petition we turned into the permitting office

  7. You'll get a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your money back.

Click here to purchase the DIY plans for your Catawba ConvertiCoop. We'll take pictures of the educational experience you helped create. We'll even post them to a gallery here. And while we're posting pictures... send us pictures of your completed Catawba ConvertiCoop to catawbacoops@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it and we'll put those up as well!

Kindest regards,

David P Bissette


More chickens!

chicken house


Help End a Food Desert

E Wake County has a lack of nutritional food options.

The Grain Mill Cooperative can cross that desert. View our membership campaign.

Thanks! - David 

A chicken with red earlobes will produce brown eggs, and a chicken with white earlobes will produce white eggs.

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