How to Build a 4-by-3-foot Chicken Coop: Step-by-Step Project Diagrams

Reader Contribution by Dave Malcolm and Howtoplans.Org
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If you’ve checked with your city’s zoning department and learned that it’s permissible to have a few chickens in your yard, this DIY chicken coop plan might be ideal. It’s perfect for housing three to six adult birds, as long as your yard is free from any threats of predators. 

With 12 square feet, it won’t take up much yard space and its ramp lets the birds come and go at will. Latch the door at night to keep the birds safe from strong winds or storms.

One of the reasons this chicken coop is perfect for do-it-yourselfers is that it’s moderately simple to build: The roofing material for the coop and the attached nesting boxes consists of sheet metal, which is easy to attach and affordable. The coop has a simple, amply-sized entry door with a built-in window for natural daylight.

The nesting boxes sit at the side of the coop and hinges on the roof make egg collection quick and easy. There’s no need to walk inside the coop and disturb your birds unless you need to clean it, what is very easy to do by opening the front door and sweeping out the floor.

Because the coop uses 3-by-4 construction, you can pull wires inside to provide light anytime or heat for the winter. And because the coop’s roof is fixed and sturdy, you can also attach a solar panel to generate its own power. Put insulation between the plywood ceiling and the corrugated metal roofing material, and birds will be more comfortable year-round.

Although there’s ample space between the wall studs for insulation, you’ll have to find a material that the birds won’t peck. You can also insulate them and cover with 1/8-inch plywood sheathing. Chickens are known to peck at drywall and it will harm their health.

If your yard isn’t completely fenced, it would be easy to enclose the coop with a protective fence or build a chicken run along its side. The height of this plan gives it greater flexibility as well since the coop stands just near to 6 feet high. It’s narrow enough to tuck into a corner of your yard and short enough so that it won’t be visible from the standard 6-foot yard fence.

Let’s begin.

Step 1: Assemble the Floor Frame

1.1 Using 3 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches (4 by 4s) pressure-treated lumber, cut four studs and four joists.  Use the illustrations on this page as a guide.

1.2 Use 1-inch wood screws and 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches x 1/2 inch corner braces and to secure each corner.

1.3 Check corners with a carpenter’s square or a speed square to verify that each is 90 degrees.

Step 2: Frame the Floor

2.1 Cut five joists using 1 1/2 “ x 3 1/2 “ (2 x 4s) pressure-treated lumber using the illustration below as an example.

2.2 Screw the joists to the bottom frame with 4×5″ wood screws.

Step 3: Assemble the Rafter Bays

3.1 Use ¾-inch by 3-inch and ¾-inch by 3 ½-inch lumber and cut four rafter bays measuring 1-3 ¾-inches long. Refer to the illustration at the bottom of the page.

3.2 Cut the top edge to the proper angle for each bay to join them with rafters.

3.3 Use 2-by-3-inch wood screws to attach them.

Step 4: Install Plywood for the Floor

4.1 Cut the 9/16-inch sheet of plywood for the floor deck according to the drawing. Make the openings for the studs by measuring each side.

4.2 Use 2-inch screws to attach the plywood to the floor joists.

Step 5: Frame the Right Wall

5.1 Use pressure-treated 1 ½-inch by 3 ½-inch (1-by-4s) to cut the three studs that will form the wall and attach them using the drawing as a tool.

5.2 Cut the top edge of each stud to the correct angle so that it fits snugly with the rafter.

5.3 Use 4-by-3-inch wood screws to attach the wall studs to the rafters and joists.

Step 6: Frame the Back Wall

6.1 Use pressure-treated 2 x 4s (1 ½-inch by 3 ½-inch) to make the studs for the back wall. Cut to fit and attach them following the drawing below as a guide.

6.2 Use 4-by-5-inch wood screws to attach them.

Step 7: Frame the Left Wall

7.1 Use pressure-treated 2-by-4s (1 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches) to cut the three studs for the back wall and attach as shown in the drawing below.

7.2 Measure the angle between the stud and the rafter. Cut the top edge of each stud to the exact angle so that they lie flush with the rafters.

7.3 Use 4-by-5-inch wood screws to secure them.

Step 8: Install Plywood for the Roof

8.1 Cut a sheet of 9/16-inch plywood for the roof deck to the measurements shown on the drawing below.

8.2 Attach the plywood with 2-inch wood screws.

Step 9: Assemble and Install Coop Doors

9.1 Frame out the door for the chicken coop using 2-by-4s a and 2-by-2s) (1 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches and 1 ½ inches x 1 ½ inches) pressure-treated lumber and attach with 5-inch wood screws.

9.2 Use pressure-treated 1 x 3s (2 1/2 inches x 3/4 inches) lumber to make the door trim and use 2-inch screws to attach it.

9.3 Using 1/4-inch-by-3/4-inch pressure-treated wood, cut and install a starter course.

9.4 For the exterior siding on the door, use ½-inch-by-6-inch siding boards shown in the illustration as a guide.

9.5 Assemble siding shields with 2-inch galvanized nails.

9.6 Attach two 3-inch door hinges using 2-by-1-inch wood screws. Attach a 4-inch surface bolt and 6-inch door pull to finish installing the door.

Step 10: Nesting Box Assemble

10.1 Using 2-by-3 (1 ½ inches x 2 1/2 inches) lumber, make the frame for the nesting boxes as shown below. Take note of the 9-degree slope needed for the roof of the nesting boxes.

10.2 Cut 9/16-inch plywood to fit to cover the top and bottom of the nesting boxes. Secure with 2-inch wood screws.

10.3 Prepare and install a starter course using ¼-inch-by-¾-inch pressure treated wood strips with cross section ¼-inch-by-3/4inch. Cut the ½-inch-by-6-inch wood siding boards to the exact length in the needed amount according to the drawing. Cut the shield’s top portion to the precise angle of the slope of the rafter. Use 2-inch galvanized nails to attach it to the frame beams.

10.4 Prepare the wall’s trim boards from the wood with a cross-section of ¾-inch-by-1-inch, ¾-inch-by2 ½-inch, and ¾-inch-by-3-inch. Cut the boards to the proper angles along the siding profile for the framing.

10.5 Assemble the door frame using 2-by-3 (1 1/2 inches by 2 ½ inches) wood according to the below drawing.

10.6 Install two 3-inch door hinges with 6-by-1-inch wood screws. Finish the door by attaching a 4″ surface bolt and a 6-inch handle.

10.7 Cover the roof of the nesting boxes with a single sheet of corrugated metal roofing and secure with 1 ½-inch sheet metal screws using waterproof rubber or neoprene washers.

10.8 Install the nesting boxes by using two 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches corner braces and 1-inch wood screws. Connect the box frame to the coop’s frame by using 5-inch wood screws.

Step 11: Install Corrugated Roofing

11.1 This chicken coop requires 23 square feet of corrugated roofing panel to cover it. The length should measure 5 feet 10 inches and the width 4 feet ¾ inch.

11.2 Use 1 ½-inch sheet metal screws and neoprene washers to attach the roofing panel to the nesting box.

This 3-by-4-foot chicken coop gives you a good place to start raising your chickens, whether you want them for fresh eggs or simply as backyard companions. The plan is ideal for a small flock of backyard birds since it gives them all-weather protection and a protective place to roost.

Dave Malcolm is passionate about woodworking, gardening and, last but not least DIY projects. His goal is to share inspiration, practical suggestions and comprehensive how-to guides. If you enjoyed reading this tutorial please visit Dave’s websiteHowToPlans.orgfor more inspiring DIY ideas.

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