Mail Call July/August 2015: A Chicken Coop in the Desert, Planting Trees, Grain Bin Ideas and More

Readers share their memories and insights about chicken coops, planting trees, a grain bin gazebo and more.

| July/August 2015

  • Desert Chicken Coop
    In the Desert Southwest, Lynda took extra measures to construct a safe and beautiful chicken coop.
    Photo courtesy Lynda Emmel
  • Hen on Run
    A happy young hen looks out on her run.
    Photo courtesy Lynda Emmel
  • Henhouse
    To “prettify” my henhouse, I cut up an old metal wall hanging and used it as flowers in the flower box beneath the window.
    Photo courtesy Lynda Emmel
  • Chicken Foraging
    Foraging in the desert.
    Photo courtesy Lynda Emmel
  • Grain Bin House
    I saw your photograph of the grain bin house, and I thought I would share a project that my daughter, wife and I are currently working on.
    Photo courtesy Loren Walker
  • Grain Bin Gazebo
    We repurposed an old grain bin that was my father’s and turned it into a gazebo and recreation area.
    Photo courtesy Loren Walker
  • Redwood Shelves
    We used redwood boards for the shelves and the bar counter area.
    Photo courtesy Loren Walker
  • Vegetable Garden Plowing
    Christy Steakley Myers’ daughter, 13, plows the vegetable garden the old-fashioned way.
    Photo by Christy Steakley Myers
  • Raised Garden Beds
    Raised beds are an effective way to grow vertically, saving space and strain on your back.
    Photo courtesy Smiley Stiles

  • Desert Chicken Coop
  • Hen on Run
  • Henhouse
  • Chicken Foraging
  • Grain Bin House
  • Grain Bin Gazebo
  • Redwood Shelves
  • Vegetable Garden Plowing
  • Raised Garden Beds

Desert Chickens 

I built my henhouse here in southwest New Mexico out of leftover siding and shingles from my home.

It was necessary to enclose it in an aviary, due to the many predators here in the desert like foxes, bobcats, hawks, great horned owls and more. I used a chain-link dog run, dug it a foot into the ground, and covered it in leftover chicken wire from a previous project. 

Inside the henhouse, the perch is made from a clothes closet pole. We cut windows in front and vents in back then covered them with screening I saved when my home windows were replaced. I also cut a “chicken door” out back using old hinges and a hook and eye to hold it open during the day. A bolt lock closes them in safe at night. I fenced in a large area of natural desert for them to forage in during the day.



To “prettify” my henhouse, I cut up an old metal wall hanging and used it as flowers in the flower box beneath the window and for decoration on the front door, after painting the exterior with leftover paint from my home. 

Here in the desert, our climate is very dry, and after clearing a space to erect the henhouse, I was left with pure dry dust. I also need natural shade cover for cooling. Having left one mesquite tree at the site, I transplanted many “volunteers” from trees around my property, more mesquite, desert willows and chaste trees. To hold the dry soil down and prevent dust devils in this very windy environment, I laid out pathways of old carpet, saved from when I had the floors of my home refinished. I then covered them over, wheelbarrel by wheelbarrel full of stones, pebbles and rocks gathered from around the property.





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