Before getting chickens (by either buying adult chickens or baby chicks), an obvious requirement is a chicken coop. A quick Google search will show you that there are an abundance of designs and styles.
It’s a little mind boggling if you think about it. So. Many. Options.
When I was considering getting chickens, the coop was a big consideration mainly because it had the largest cost associated with it. Once the coop is built, the cost of keeping chickens is pretty minimal.
There are some basic requirements that a coop must have. Such as the following:
– Provide protection from the elements
– Provide protection from predators
– Have a place to roost with enough room for all the birds
– Provide a cozy place to nest/lay eggs
– Keep their food dry
Because I currently live in suburbia and my chicken coop would be next to our lawn (translation: sprinklers would regularly water the outside of the coop), one of my main requirements was a coop that would keep their food from getting wet.
I wasn’t too thrilled with any pre-fabricated coops that I looked at, although I have a friend that used this one for awhile with good results. I, however, could not find one that I loved.
So what’s a girl to do, you ask?
Build her own of course!
We had just replaced our fence and had a bunch of wood slats left over from the old fence. Because they were cedar planks, they still had a lot of life left in them. I thought they would be the perfect thing to build the coop out of.
Plus the old wood would make it look very rustic. Bonus!
So I sketched a design and got my engineer husband’s approval (just to make sure my master plan would actually work) and then got to work.
We built a frame out of 2x4s and then covered it with the planks. The nest boxes were a bit tricky (no, let me rephrase that…all of it was tricky. Seeing as it was my first building project and all) but we got it done. If you are handy or have more experience than I did, I’m sure you will be fine.
The finished product turned out great!
I love that it has multiple doors to make it easier to access things. If I am filling their food containers, I only need to open the lower half of the big door. If I am cleaning out the coop, I only need to open the upper half of the big door. If I am collecting eggs, I only need to open the nest box lid.
My son loved it too. When we built it, he was two years old and apparently he thought we had built him the coolest jungle gym ever.
(Side note: once the chickens moved in he was not allowed to play in there anymore. Because that would just be disgusting. And it would probably get me awarded for the worst mom of the year award. Just saying).
If my memory serves me correctly, I think we spent about $50 on this coop…most of which went to hinges, screws, hardware cloth, and caulk (to seal the cracks. I’m not sure this step was totally necessary but it helped me sleep better at night). All of the wood was from our previous fence. And the metal fencing for the run was leftover from our garden fence.
I love that this coop keeps their food nice and dry and keeps the chickens safe and warm. Even on the coldest winter nights. It is the perfect size for 3-4 hens at the very most.
I hope that this gives you some inspiration and encouragement to build your own chicken coop.
It will save you a ton of money on the cost of the coop and is a pretty rewarding project to build. I had a lot of fun designing and building ours.
And if I can build something like this, you can totally do it too!