The Half-Monitor Brooding Barn

via Compact Cabins

Turns out there’s a much less pretentious name for the kind of structure I’m building than “clerestory cabin”: old-timey hen-house or brooding barn. It seems funny, but knowing that I am building what is essentially a chicken coop is really moving for me.

My dad’s dad, Bill Holman, was born on 10-10-1910, and died too young in 1965.  So I never knew him personally, just through the stories that my dad tells of him.  I do have one thing that belonged to my paternal grandfather, in fact was made with his own hands, and that is a piece of a chicken coop that he designed and built in the early 1960s.  I use it as a shelf on which to store my treasures.

My Dear Old Auntie Kate found and posted a newspaper photo of the “state of the art” Sunset Farms coop in the early building stages.

The half-monitor roof design appears in lots of old publications, including Building Plans for Poultrymen, and Practical Methods of Poultry Raising ( and this circular from a county extension office in Iowa:


and there are plans for this type of structure that are made available by the North Dakota Agricultural Extension office:

A fellow named Steve has posted detailed pics and even a materials list of his project:


The same things that made it great for rural settings without electricity will make it great for my purposes: the high windows let in diffuse light and help hot stale air move up and out.

This sketch is a little out of date in that I’ve moved the wet room to the southeast corner of the building to make it more accessible to the deck.  The thing that looks like a giant banana is actually an aluminum canoe that will be hung upside-down on T-posts to provide a small covered area on the deck.