Build a Custom Chicken Coop

Two readers share how their family built a quality custom coop for a fraction of the cost of a pre-made model.

| April/May 2019

 Hacks-1

After moving to a house in the country, we decided that we'd like to get some chickens. We needed a coop that would keep predators out, shelter the birds from the elements, and provide a convenient location for us to gather eggs. We thought getting a coop up and running for about a dozen hens meant either buying one or building it. After checking out manufactured coops, we realized the structure we wanted would cost over $10,000. We immediately went to Plan B – time to build!

Our idea for the coop was simple enough, and we already owned most of the basic tools we’d need – circular saw, jigsaw, drill, and sander. We acquired a miter saw after we started the project. A variety of plans were available for sale online (some free), but none matched what we had in mind, so we decided to design our own.

The coop design we developed measures 23 by 8 feet, with an interior elevated henhouse that's 8 feet wide by 3 feet 10 inches deep. We decided to use the space underneath the henhouse to give the chickens extra room to run. We selected a slope of 22.5 degrees for the roof, because our miter saw had a preset for that angle. We wanted a metal roof, but the metal would be difficult to cut, so we designed the entire coop around the size of available roof panels. The goal was to cut as little metal as possible. In the end, we purchased metal roof panels that measured 3 by 10 feet so that we only had to cut each panel in half to create 5-foot panels.



1. First, we created the foundation by laying down a level 23-by-8-foot rectangle of treated 4-by-4 boards. We used the traditional “3-4-5” measuring method to make sure the foundation was a perfect rectangle with four 90-degree corners. To use this method yourself, simply measure 3 feet along one leg of your corner, and then measure 4 feet along the other leg, marking those points. If the legs form a 90-degree angle, the line from the 3-foot mark to the 4-foot mark will measure 5 feet.

After we squared the foundation, we set four 32-inch 4-by-4 posts 28 inches into the ground at each inside corner, so that the tops of the posts were even with the top of the foundation boards. We then set two more posts of the same length into the ground to support the feet of the elevated henhouse, and poured concrete around the posts.

Penny
6/1/2019 10:36:35 AM

This coop is a lovely design for a suburban backyard, if chickens can't be allowed to roam the property. Most designs I see are small and appropriate for just a small handful of birds, and not much else, this can scale up. I'm still on the lookout for an optimal fixed coop for 30-40 layer hens. Meat birds can "tractor" around the property just fine, but the layer flock with its juicy fat hens need protection from elements and predators.


CrazyJohn
4/30/2019 10:35:50 AM

This is a great design! I like that you utilized the mill edge wherever possible in you joinery. To those asking for plans: The author has provided everything necessary in the text and pictures to reverse engineer this build. Get a graph paper notebook and start drawing. Every time the author starts a new paragraph, start a new page. Once you have the basic shapes the pictures will provide the details like how the roof trusses are assembled. This is a great skill to develop.


Pascal
4/30/2019 8:35:18 AM

Pascal Ballance pascalballance56@gmail.com I have a friend that wants me to build this coop..Any chance of getting a set of plans for this coop ?







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