A-Frame Chicken Coop: Redux

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Introduction: A-Frame Chicken Coop: Redux

About: Architect/designer based between Chicago and SE Minnesota. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to peek in construction dumpsters :)

One of my first instructables was the backyard chicken coop I made in New Orleans '09. Now in Southeast, MN I've built a new coop and have put together plans to help neighbors start raising backyard chickens - 6 neighbors have started within two blocks!

This is also my first product on Etsy - www.etsy.com/listing/602561678/a-frame-chicken-coop

  • Know that everything I provide on the Etsy plans is available in this Instructable.
  • Hope you find value. Certainly welcome any purchases that may come through Etsy but, again, you have everything here.

--here's my initial A-Frame Coop Post

Step 1: Plans + Details

The plans provide step references for assembly and figures to show how all the details come together.

In the first few steps I'll mainly reference the drawings with a few reference photos. In the final detail steps I show a few examples.

Step 2: Materials + Tools

The images show the required cuts for the 2 by's and sheething.

Materials List

  • (9) 2x4s *all are assumed at 8'
  • (2) 2x2s
  • (4) 2x1s
  • (1) 4'x8' sheet of 3/4 plywood
  • (1) 24" x 33' roll of chicken wire (designed for this smaller roll, less than 50')
  • (1) 4' piece of 1/2" wire mesh *optional
  • 2" & 3" outdoor screws
  • paint *optional

Tool List

Step 3: Building the Frame

The first step is to build the A-Frame. The construction is built around a right triangle. By having 60 degree angles at each corner it's easy to set the angle on a miter or circular saw to 30 degrees.

Screws are shown in each of the images. Please note that a few are at an angle or "toenailed" into the boards. These are the screws that are placed over two boards.

Step 4: Assembling the Frame

The next step isn't well shown in the photos but the goal is to get the three framing members in place.

By using the 2x2s and 2x4s cut to length it's easy to secure a single screw so that the spacing allows 44" between the first two and then 22" between the second.

Spacing Clarification

  • The hutch section is 44" to allow for an overhang when using 48" plywood sheething.
  • The open spacing is based on the 24" chicken wire.
  • Found materials can be used to replace any of the standard sheeting/chicken wire. In a few photos you'll see how I placed crib sides into the open section.

Step 5: Sheathing

The goal here is to use a single piece of plywood. This is to keep down weight and cost.

Sheathing Pieces

  • 4' x 43.5" back of hutch. The back of the hutch provides reinforcement for the coop and is the first to be installed. I can be added before all 2x2s are in place. one 2x2 is placed under this piece of plywood to provide a rest... that 2x2 can later be removed.
  • 4' x 10" overhang of hutch. See how this connects along the angled pieces of 2x4 that run past the apex of the a-frame. No need for an angled cut but it's an option.
  • 4' x 32" door. This piece is mounted using hinges. More in the next step.

--see in the sheeting cut section of step 3 how to use 1/2" wire mess to replace the drawer. This option is really only usable in warm climates.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Here is my approach to hinged doors, roosting pole and laying box.

Hinged Doors

  • The main door should be either 3/4" or 1/2" plywood if you have it available. I suggest painting the outside of the plywood to protect it from the elements.
  • Door hinges work fine. I expect if you're jumping into the project you have a few laying around... also great to stop into your local Habitat Restore.
  • I used an old cabinet door for this most recent version. I used a waterproof paint to protect the door and the entire hutch. The paint is use for surfaces exposed to standing water. Really important if you use found materials that aren't ideal for the environment. ---here's the coating I used... can't believe how popular flex seal is on tv. would probably try it on the next one

Laying Box

  • Each time I build a coop I start with a milk crate. It works for a few weeks...
  • Then I build a box. I started with a very simple box. In the photo you'll see a piece of trim that holds the bedding in place.

Roosting Pole

  • I used an old rake handle... really anything works.
  • See how one piece is nailed on an angle.. a second hangs from wire along the center. Once the girls big enough it was necessary to add the second pole.

Unnecessary Elements

  • A Ladder. Before I raised chickens I remember thinking I needed a little ladder for them to access the hutch. Totally unnecessary. They'll use it but it's easy for them to hop where they need to go.
  • A Door to the Run. Yes the hens need to be enclosed to protect them from predators and your yard from them... they do not, however, need a door to the hutch. No one wants to wake up early and let them out with the sun. They simply wake up on their own time and start scratching!

Here's a recent post I put together for keeping chickens in cold climates - Backyard Chickens Thrive in Winter

Step 7: Spring or Summer?

So easy to get started with backyard chickens.

These photos are form our local Tractor Supply. When they have a stock you can see how they package them like a little happy meal... when they don't there is a couple that shows up and sells chicks/bantams in the parking lot. So easy. There are also always birds posted on Craigslist.

Step 8: Everyone Loves Chickens!

Our Ladies! here are way too many photos of our girls.

  • Have a look on instagram to see more of the ladies.
  • Two new bantams added 6/12, today!!

Like Eggs? here are a few uses for the homegrown eggs:

Complete Plans - if you are interested in purchasing I have the plans posted on Etsy at $2. Happy to have a first post online! Etsy/A-Frame Chicken Coop

Thank you for reading and thank you instructables!!

Jeff

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    5 Comments

    Thank you for being you and posting a great instuctable! I love that so many people are implementing a Donation-based Business Model. For people like us it's perfect, we build and spend money on the things we like regardless. The knowledge we gain and share doesn't cost us much anymore but it still has value. If we only charge for our information, we limit the amount of people that can benefit from said information. So, the best thing to do is give away as much of it as we can, and allow people to pay as they feel comfortable!

    I don't need a coop right now. However, I wanted to show you some support... so I bought it :) Have a Happy Fathers day and keep being awesome!

    1 reply

    Wow! HTJ, I'm so honored just by your message! Thank you for also being my first etsy sale!! This is a phenomenal place for people to share.

    Your posts are pushing me to get setup with a 3D printer. Thanks for the tips!

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    I will never build a coop but love your instructable. I've looked at several coops by different people. the chickens seem to be happy. I live in a Home Owners Association complex in NC and we're not allowed to have these. Great job on this.

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    2 replies

    Yes, I like this site. Passion is an apropos word. I'm not adept at videos and this is a way for me to share some of the things I've done. Plus get feedback from all over the place.