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Picture of Backyard Chicken Coop
I made this little chicken barn a few years ago to house 3-5 laying hens in my back yard. I'm in town and had to design a "pretty" one to keep people from having a chicken coup (ha ha). This one was inspired by some Kansas barns I've seen. I spent about $40 when fully completed. Chicken wire, some 2x4s and damaged siding were the costs. Damaged siding is half price at my local lumber store. Other things used were scrap wood from old bathroom cabinets, leftover hardware, paint, and wood from house projects, and lot of scraps and hardware from a condemned house down the street (I got permission to take things before they bulldozed it.) Shingles were given by my neighbor leftover from roofing his garage.

There are some basic rules for designing and running a good healthy chicken shack:
1. Adequate floor space per bird.
2. Dry with good ventilation.
3. Temperature control.
4. Predator protection.
5. Keep it clean + fresh water/food = happy & healthy birds.

Many towns actually allow up to 5 chickens but no roosters. Check local rules on this if you plan to build. If you do get chickens in town, be courteous to the non-chicken majority so the rest of the city chicken people don't get punished through politics and zoning.

I submitted pictures of this coop to someone who was working on a coops book a while ago and they included a picture of it in "Chicken Coops, 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock." By Judy Pangman

Sources for my chicken knowledge:
"Building Chicken Coops" Gail Damerow
The City Chicken, http://www.thecitychicken.com/
Backyard Chickens Forum, http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/
FeatherSite - The Poultry Page, http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html

I recently posted another coop, a chicken outhouse with a beer can roof at diylife.com
 
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Step 1: Floor Space, Framing, and Nest Boxes

Picture of Floor Space, Framing, and Nest Boxes
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My floor space includes the exterior run. I knew I wanted 3 heavy egg layers, so from the charts I used 10 square feet per bird rule. There are different suggestions in different books/guides; this link has a pretty good chart: Virginia Tech Small Scale Poultry Housing PDF.

I built this 18" off the ground to create a shady part of the pen underneath the coop.
The floor is 2x4s framed like a little porch 3 feet by 4 feet sitting on 4x4s attached with many 3" screws.
The walls are just under 4' tall and I used 3" screws to put together the 2x4s. 4' walls are a good dimension because siding and plywood come in 4'x8' sheets.

I framed in nest boxes here. I think a rule is one box per 3-5 laying birds. They like dark, comfy places to lay. Making the boxes the size of a 12" dust pan works great when cleaning the coop. Lots/all books suggest elevated boxes, but these floor boxes have worked great for three years now.

Avoid treated lumber inside the coop or where they perch; the toxic stuff can affect the birds (ie. sickness/death)

Step 2: Roof

Picture of Roof
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I don't have many step by step pics for this so you'll have to use your skills to fill in the gaps.

I cut 2x4s with angles to make three sets of rafters and attached them with three inch screws. I screwed down some old cabinet wood across the rafters to make the roof, leaving a little 4" hole near the center peak for a cupola. Then I shingled the roof leaving the center peak hole open.
The cupola is made like a little bird house that sits over the vent hole. Use a hole saw to make holes in it's sides and staple window screen on the inside to keep out the critters. Attach it with 3" screws.

This helps meet rule #2.
Dry with good ventilation.

Step 3: Walls

Picture of Walls
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Cut the siding to fit the framing and attach with nails. Use a jigsaw to cut out doors and other openings; save the cutouts for building the doors.
Keep the following in mind while designing walls:
  • Make openings for windows; this is important for summer heat control.
  • Build walls tight to keep out wind and drafts; this is important for winter cold control.

This is a standard chicken coop rule: Have good ventilation but no drafts.

Step 4: Doors

Picture of Doors
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A main door to access the coop and a small chicken door are the only doors really needed.
But I added cabinet doors, a nest box door, chicken door and a main door on this thing.
Hinges were from old bath and kitchen cabinets.

The main door is made with old porch flooring. Boards were attached diagonally to the siding cutout with nails; then I used the jigsaw to clean it up around the outside. This made a more old fashioned looking door. The nails will stick out the back side, bend them over or cut them and grind the stubs smooth.

The other doors were made directly from the siding material and some trim wood. I just attached hinges and handles with some trim around the edges. The trim is important to close the gap from where the saw cut the siding. I added some plastic near the top to shed rain over the cabinet doors.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches
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Add the roost perch for night-night time.
Make a perch out of a 2x4 with the edges rounded a bit. Under the perch make a place for the poop to gather. This roost area is usually the only place that gets poop inside my coop and makes cleaning easy. (Don't use treated wood!)

When I finished the coop, it ended up being very heavy; so I attached some boards to the bottom and used a hand truck to wheel it (with help) to its home location.

The run/pen can be made easily with 2x2s and 2x4s as seen in the pic below. I enclosed the top of the run to keep the hawks out. I later added a matching run on the opposite side when I added some more hens.

Step 6: Extra notes

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UPDATES: I've changed the coop a little over the years to allow for more birds. I've removed the storage area and added a roost in its place.

Also, I've removed the small pen and made a large run for the birdies.
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RonniS127 days ago
leef41 month ago

It's a cute little chicken barn. It has enough space and protection. http://zacsgarden.com/chicken-husbandry/what-is-needed-in-small-chicken-coop/

TomT92 months ago

i have many free document about build a chicken coop.you can get it and start your chicken coop plans now.

It looks like the predators in town are not having any chickens tonight.

This is an awesome design!

Thank you for sharing to us these helpful tips on how to raise chickens in the backyard with less expense. You were very creative and at the same time saved resources by using scrap materials.

Your design is great since you have fence that will protect your chickens from predators in town and at the same time a guard puppy.


I will be building one for my chickens soon.

AlexiJ2 years ago
These are great tips.Most of the people don't know how great chickens and chicken coops are! And lots of people don't know how to raise chicken and build chicken coop. You need detailed plans and instructions to build functional and good looking chicken coop. Then you also need to know how to raise chicken in proper conditions.
czelly2 years ago
Hi robbtoberfest!

I really like your new design which your are going to draw on a wall!
Would be interesting to see the final result! I am still working on my chicken coop and I am going to update my building a chicken coop blog as often as possible! Have a nice day, Chris
Rudy12 years ago
Nice coop....I don't suppose I would be lucky enough for you to be in Wichita? I have built a small coop and then bought one of those rabbit/chicken coops from someone off CL. Well I have also added to my flock and need a larger coop. I love the inside of yours and the idea of building it without much cost. Are the plans all in the book you mentioned? Thanks and enjoy!!!
robbtoberfest (author)  Rudy12 years ago
Thanks, I'm not in Wichita area anymore (I miss it but Colorado is nice). The book features only a picture; this Instructable is probably the best "plans" layout. I'm working on a 3D drawing of a wall mounted chicken coop for four hens; if you're interested I can send you that.
robbtoberfest (author)  robbtoberfest2 years ago
This design is about 75% done.
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jkbruce6 years ago
I got my 4 hens a year ago and now I have a rooster. I only have one hen sitting at this time my question is this when do I need to take the rooster out of the pin and for how long? And also how long does it take a egg to hatch?
it takes 21 days for an egg to hatch. We hatched chics in are prescool.
Don't need a rooster for hens to lay. You just end up with non-fertile eggs. Also, if you put a light on a timer, they will lay all year if they get 16 hours of light a day. (Same goes for plants inside. If you give plants light for 16 hrs. a day, and warmth of course, they will produce all year.
Don't need a rooster for hens to lay. You just end up with non-fertile eggs. Also, if you put a light on a timer, they will lay all year if they get 16 hours of light a day. (Same goes for plants inside. If you give plants light for 16 hrs. a day, and warmth of course, they will produce all year.
Don't need a rooster for hens to lay. You just end up with non-fertile eggs. Also, if you put a light on a timer, they will lay all year if they get 16 hours of light a day. (Same goes for plants inside. If you give plants light for 16 hrs. a day, and warmth of course, they will produce all year.
stumitch2 years ago
we have 3 chicens. but they keep askaping. We tried clipping there feathers but they still got oat.
czelly3 years ago
Thank you very much for this article! Your chicken coop looks awesome! Also the fence for the predators is an excellent idea! I also built a few chicken coops within the last years! I uploaded a photo of my current one:



I also opened a blog about building a chicken coop! If you are interested please visit my site and leave a comment. I do not have that much articles there right now but I will write more within the next days.
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iguana15 czelly3 years ago
Nicely done, more like a chicken "Coop de Ville".

Good blog, will post a comment there too.
mcaliber.503 years ago
i''m looking to get chickens in the next year or so, i have a nice spot that would be perfect for 2 or 3 (thats the most i want) next to my garage, but it's a little small for the one here, but it's still pretty cool
stumitch3 years ago
chicken COUP. i like that!
Big Chickens!!
MRedmon3 years ago
Just finished this coop based off of your design. Thanks!
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robbtoberfest (author)  MRedmon3 years ago
Wow!!! That looks great.
Broady28523 years ago
Hi there
Found some interesting things on this site. May be of use to people.

http://adoptingchicks.webs.com/
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This is perfect! i have been wanting to get some chickens but coops are way too expensive! this is also really good because we have a lot of cats in my neighborhood. we own three ourselves! so it should protect them pretty well!
pam8193 years ago
I'm thinking of making a Chicken Coop to house 6 outside cats this winter. I made a cat shelter last year from plans I found online, but honestly it takes up too much room on the porch. I thought a smaller version of a chicken coop would work really well. Something like 2' x 2. You think that would work or would that be too small?
Pam
kevinhannan4 years ago
this is a wonderful 'ible - I hope to do something like this one, one day ;-)

what a great idea! a kid and dog coop! now that's a competition winner!

DidierE4 years ago
Great instructions! Just what I was looking for for my own chicken coop...
Compared to the usual kits, this method of yours is actually very affordable.

Thanks for sharing this!!
I love the little storage area over the nest boxes I'm totally gonna use that. I'm in the process of building a second coop... I told hubby it's a "grow out area" for my new babies until they're big enough to go in with the big girls muwahaha =x

Thanks for sharing this ;)
ronmaggi4 years ago
the 5th pic has some funny looking chickens!!!
rrcole5 years ago
CoolCoop!I might try and build one like it. Thank for sharing.
drewva5 years ago
 Thanks for a great instructable. I was toying with building my own chicken coop for a while but felt time and skill challenged. In the end I found a great portable chicken coop made by Handcrafted Coops. It's an A-Frame kit model that holds 4-6 hens. Very sturdy, handsome and affordable.
If anyone is interested you can see it at: 
http://HandcraftedCoops.com
I really like the design of your coop and they are very affordable compared to some of the kits that are available.
i have a question about this coop.... I plan on getting two RIRS and I live in canada (very cold winters)... Is it insulated enough against such cold temperatures for my chickens to live comfortably in the winter ?  And also is the run large enough for them ?
Answer would be very much appreiciated... The chicks come in 2 weeks ! :)


It's definitely big enough for two birds. My coop isn't insulated and works well with 6 hens; winters here in Kansas are about 15 to 35 degrees Farenheit throughout a February day. If you insulted the walls with foam board or styrofoam and covered it on the inside to keep the chickens from pecking at it, it might just do it. A south facing window is a must for solar heating, but a double or triple paned one would work even better. The more birds in a roost space, the better for heat at night (but you don't want the humidity too high either from all the bird breath); so if you only have two birds, you could just make a smaller coop so their bodies heat a smaller area.
robbtoberfest (author)  drewva5 years ago
 That sounds like a plug.
 It is a plug - I love my coop!
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What's the purpose of the cupola (just ventilation?) and what specific qualities must it have to fulfill that purpose?
To heck with the lawn...eggs for breakfast and bbq chicken for dinner.....LIFE IS GREAT ! 
robbtoberfest (author)  matthew1116886 years ago
Just a way for air to vent out and rain not get in. It's also a decorative feature that makes this look more barn-like.
irsmun5 years ago
What are the deminsions of the run? What are the recomended dimensions per hen and can you count the underside since it has no feeding value?
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