Building a Chicken Coop


Chickens rock. There’s just no getting around it: they’re great animals to have around the homestead for food, garden management, compost and entertainment. Seriously, watching Chicken TV is a great way to spend a little down time.

One way to make the chicken experience even more rewarding is to build your own coop. Creating the thingframe that gives your birds shelter and protection is incredibly satisfying. You can build a coop that’s superior to many pre-fab units. You can do it for cheap. And it’s easy.

Of course, you’d never know it was easy from my experience: it took me over a year to build the current coop.

The coop was started on a whim when I already had a unit in place; continued in spurts and starts; got put aside for a Winter; went through a redesign after reading more about chickens; went through another redesign after the first chickens got killed by a weasel in the old coop; was further postponed to construct temporary housing for the new chicks; went into high gear as the chicks outgrew that temporary housing; was delayed by inevitable weather events; required a mulligan on the roof; but was finally and quite anti-climatically finished this Fall.

The chickens and I are both happy to have it done. Finally.

This post is not a set of step-by-step instructions with exact measurements for how to build a coop like mine. That’s because this coop is an evolutionary convergence of ideas in the head and materials at hand. Plans and measurements were drawn out, then redrawn, and finally tweaked at the moment all the pieces were put together. Repurposed and reclaimed materials aren’t always plumb, square, straight or uniform; there was a lot of jiggering that had to happen with this coop.

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