Portable Chicken Mini-Coop Plan

With this unique, portable chicken mini-coop design, anyone can keep a few chickens, even in small back yards.

| April/May 2007

Chickens are every bit as fun and easy to care for as dogs or cats, plus they give you great farm-fresh eggs. The biggest challenge is keeping the birds safe from predators, and at the same time allowing them to enjoy a natural diet of grains, greens and insects.

Most poultry predators roam at night — raccoons, coyotes, owls and such. But hawks and (some but not all) dogs may attack free-ranging birds during the day, especially if there are no humans at home or no guard dog to chase them away. You could keep your birds inside a conventional stationary coop, but then they wouldn’t get to forage for their natural diet and thereby give you the best-tasting and most nutritious eggs. Portable electric mesh fencing can serve as daytime protection in some locations, but not against hawks. Plus, you’ll still need shelter for the hens to sleep in.

To make it easy for anyone to raise a few chickens on pasture, I set out to create a coop design that would be secure, low-cost, easy to build, light enough to move easily and scaled to fit well even in small back yards. After working through several prototypes, the design described below meets all those criteria. It’s intended for three or four hens, costs only about $100 in materials and can be assembled in a few hours from standard welded wire fencing. A barn-style plastic doghouse serves as a henhouse that sits inside the wire pen. The pen and house combo is lightweight and easy to pull to a new location every few days, so you can keep your birds safe but still let them enjoy clean, fresh pasture (or set them over garden beds to help fertilize and control pests).

To make this portable mini-coop, head to your local hardware or farm store and get the following items:

Barn-style doghouse: the larger the better, but be sure you get the 1-by-2-inch mesh wire fencing for the pen’s side walls (see below) in a height that’s at least as tall as the doghouse you choose.

1-by-2-inch mesh welded wire fencing, as tall as the doghouse — 38 feet is enough to make the sides and doors for one 3-by-10-foot pen. This fencing is stiff enough to make sides that support the top and produce a sturdy rectangular wire pen.

25 feet of 2-by-4-inch mesh welded wire, 36 inches wide (or 48 inches for a wider pen — see Step 2, below); this is for the top and bottom of the coop. You could use 1-by-2-inch mesh throughout, but the 2-by-4-foot is sufficient, plus it’s lighter and less expensive.

Two or three boxes of “hog rings” and the pliers to pinch them closed. I discovered these nifty fasteners at a Tractor Supply Co. store. They are designed to be pierced into pigs’ noses to discourage them from rooting, but they’re perfect for quickly attaching the walls, top and bottom to form a very lightweight all-wire (no wood!) pen.

7/24/2014 8:32:36 PM

I can probably help out anyone having trouble with their coop. A few weeks ago I was looking for a coop plan because I didn't want to wait and pay 400$ for a pre-made one I knew I could make. I couldn't really find any free information that was detailed, I needed a guide with materials listed and step by step instructions for any amount of chickens. I did find a blog though that had chicken coop plans for any amounr of chickens. You can check it out here howtobuildachickencoopplan.webs.com . I used it to build a chicken coop for 6 chickens everything is step by step- only took me 4 days to build mine using the plans. Your Weclome lol

3/24/2014 6:08:04 PM

Sketches are just fine for my learning style. Thanks for all the comments and warnings. I have an extra large pet carrier used for large German Shepherd dog that sadly passed away. I will try to use it as a starter chicken coop and will be sure to place the safeguards in place as other readers have warned including the author. Too many scorners and mockers in the world and not enough encouragers. I saw many ideas in the comments section.Thanks.

12/6/2013 4:20:12 PM

Great looking coop. it would be nice to see a complete layout and photos. http://portable-chickencoop.com

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