How to Build a Chicken Coop

by Merissa on February 11, 2011

in Thrifty Living

How to Build a Chicken Coop

How to Build a Chicken Coop

I've mentioned before (and even put up a few pictures) of my chickens. We got baby chicks last year to be able to have fresh eggs, a little egg income, and eventually some chicken meat. My family raised chickens while I was growing up and we used to show them at 4-H Achievement Days for the Poultry Show. I always knew after I got married and we moved into our homestead that I wanted to have some chickens but it took us a year to get them because we couldn't afford it at first. Chickens would require a coop, feed,  feeders, waterers, a yard, ect. We couldn't figure out how to build a chicken coop inexpensively! That was our first issue. We looked for a small shed to be able to hold about 20 chickens but the only thing we could find was a couple hundred dollars and I wasn't about to pay that much just for a chicken house! We finally found an old run down shed that a guy was selling just to move it off the property for only $75. It's not pretty but we figured it's a good place to start. Now before I get into showing you the pictures I have to tell you a couple things... First, the hubby took these pictures at night so sorry if things are hard to see! Second, all of the inventions in the coop are the hubbys. He's great a coming up with things!! And thirdly, it's a chicken coop, don't expect total cleanliness!

Here are the pictures on how to build a chicken coop:

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This is just a picture from the little door looking in at the chickens. The little door goes into a fenced in yard. The fence was the most expensive part of the coop. We bought 6 foot garden fencing and made a  decent sized yard for them. It has a swinging door so I can go inside and give them scraps or I can open it and let the chickens into the yard. The rooster and the guineas don't like to stay in the fence. I frequently see them running around on the top of the chicken shed.

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This is the main door looking in (with one of the kitties out front). The shed didn't have a door. Last summer someone on Freecycle posted a bunch of free barn wood. We took a truck and loaded it up. From that free wood my hubby created a cool looking door for the shed.

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Looking inside the chicken co-op. We have another door inside the main door. It separates where the chickens are, from a little entry way. We use the entryway to store chicken feed, egg cartons, ect. The wire on the door and that creates the inner "wall" is just garden wire, we found a roll for $4 at a rummage sale. The door is created from the old barn wood also. The hubby also rigged up a temporary light that we have a heat lamp in. Keeping the heat lamp on in the winter helps to keep the chickens laying strong all winter. We have 14 laying hens and we get 12 -14 eggs every day.

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Ok this isn't the whole contraption but this is the feeder the hubby created. It's pieced together barn wood for the bottom and there is a pvc pipe that goes from the entry way into the feeder. We keep a jar in the chicken feed, pour it right into the pvc pipe and it goes into the feeder. All this without having to step one foot inside the chicken coop. Its handy! And yes, that's my rooster in the front of the picture. He's always wondering what's going on.

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Here is a closeup of the nests. These nest were old shelves that my grandpa had in his shed. We put pieces of barn wood on the front side to keep the eggs and sawdust in the nests. We have 9 nests.

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Ok here you can see more barn wood. The shed is not very well insulated so the hubby took barn wood and nailed it around the bottom of the whole inside of the chicken coop. we put chicken wire on top of the wood so the chickens can't fall behind it. That bar across the coop is the roost. They love that thing. They all get on it together and then I have 17 chickens in a row. :) In this picture you can also see the little door on the inside of the coop that lets the chickens into the yard. It's closed in this picture. the hubby put it on tracks and on a rope. We pull on the rope int he entryway and it opens the door. Then there is a little hook to put the rope on to hold the door open. So basically we never have to go in the coop unless we need to and to grab the eggs!

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This is one of my favorite chicken coop inventions. We tried to come up with an inexpensive insulation for the inside. One day we looked at the big empty bags of chicken feed we were throwing away and it dawned on us...lets nail them to the walls! They make some excellent insulation and it's free!

I would say, all in all, that our coop probably cost about $200 to make, that's including the yard. The shed cost $75 the fencing cost around $100 and then we had a few misc. costs creating the mini door, ect. We try and keep our costs low by selling extra eggs to pay for chicken feed. Hopefully if you are looking into getting some backyard chickens this gives you some creative ideas on how to build a chicken coop!

Learn more about Homestead Living and Raising Backyard Chickens!  Here are some other great articles about raising chickens:

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jo C February 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

How very cool is that! I was thinking on doing a chicken coop this summer and actually stopped at the neighbors house and checked out their coop and asked some questions. They built a coop from inventive “scraps” etc too.
What do you get for a dozen eggs?

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2 Merissa February 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm

We are currently getting $2 a dozen.

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3 Charity February 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

Oh my word! This is amazing! We are also getting chickens, too this spring. We can’t get very many (only 4), but we figured 4 will get us some nice eggs. I posted yesterday on your site about canning. I just am so thrilled to converse with you and get your great ideas! Thanks again. I’ll have to send you some photos of my garden and coop this spring :-) Did you know there is a great magazine out there called “Backyard Poultry”. I subscribed to it (it is a little pricey, but I used my Christmas monies) and I can’t wait to get it. Have a super weekend! You are really a blessing!

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4 Darlene February 12, 2011 at 11:50 am

I just wanted to say I enjoy your site very much and you are amazing. God Bless,

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5 Donna Stone February 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I love your site and the neat ideas you have + I have tried several of your recipes and they turned out GREAT!!!! Thanks for all you do.

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6 Merissa February 13, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I’m pretty sure I have the best most encouraging readers ever! <3

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7 Mel Free February 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

I soooo want to get some chickens!..thanks for the info…how creative of you both! :) You have encouraged me to just go out & do it!..Thanks!

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8 Sharon March 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I have 4 grown hens laying eggs now and my babies just came on Monday. We have added to our flock, 1 rooster and 4 more hens.
Have you ever raised the broilers? We started raising them last summer. AFter eight weeks the chickens are 6 – 8 pounds and ready for the dinner table. We do the butchering ourselves and boy do they taste yummy! Thanks for such a great site.

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9 Merissa March 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’m not a big fan of broilers. I prefer a different meat bird. We raised some while I was growing up and I jut didn’t like them.

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10 Gayla February 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I have never raised chickens, but I really want to build a coop and have some. I buy eggs from a neighbor when I can and would like to have my own. Do you have any suggestions for your favorite laying variety and your favorite meat variety? I live in Oklahoma, so any chickens I have will have to be able to tolerate the heat in the summer.

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11 Merissa February 27, 2014 at 6:57 am

Hi Gayla, you can check out some of my favorite Chicken Breeds here. :)

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12 Betsy December 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm

I have raised chickens for 14 years. It all started with one chick my daughter purchased at a rabbit show when she was in 4H. We raised her in the house until was warm enough to put her outside in the coop my husband made. She lived to be almost 13 years old and was my favorite “girl”. I have had numerous chickens over the years and have derived so much pleasure from them. We do not eat our chickens . We do eat their eggs and share them with neighbors and friends.

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13 Sharon February 6, 2014 at 1:37 am

I absolutely love your site…

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14 Ashley August 4, 2014 at 10:50 am

I am thinking that I would like to have a few chickens. Unfortunately when we moved back to Montana (military transfer) we were only able to afford an 1/2 in town. I could let them be free range at least a 4-5 hours a day. Is that too small of a plot?

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15 Merissa August 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

Chickens will be happy to be free in any amount of space :)

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16 Ashley August 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Marissa! What is a good number to start with for a family of 4 on that size of lot? Would four or five?

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17 Merissa August 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

Well, how many eggs do you use? Four to five hens would give you an average of 3-5 eggs per day depending on the breed of hen.

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18 Ashley August 5, 2014 at 11:26 am

We go through spurts. There are times we are going through a dozen a week, right now we are not using much. So it is hard to say. I would say 3/5 eggs would be a good start. Thanks! I am so glad I found your site. It has a lot of useful information.

19 Merissa August 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I’m glad you found your way here too! We have a great recipe coming up soon on how to preserve those extra eggs when you have them so be watching for that :)

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