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


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.

7/2/2019 12:36:52 PM

Does the run have a hardware cloth floor? Or did you bury the bottom edge of the run?

7/2/2019 12:34:14 PM

Very nice!! For how many chickens?

6/29/2019 4:43:01 AM

Where did you get the plans? Post it, please.



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