Having and raising your own chickens has many benefits. For starters, chickens are great for controlling the pest that sneaks around your home. Slugs, ticks, beetles, and just about any other type of pesky insect you can think of are delicious meals for our feathered friends. Chickens are also great for controlling weeds around your property. There are many other benefits to raising chickens but they cannot be realized unless they are provided a place to stay safe and warm.
Things to Consider
Before jumping into your construction project, you have to take a few factors into consideration.
- How many chickens you have or are planning on starting with? If you are just starting off in chicken farming, three chickens is a good starting point. Each chicken requires about 2 Sq Ft of interior space at a minimum, more is better. So, for three chickens, you will need a coop that provides at least 6 Sq Ft of living space.
- What is the yearly climate where you live? If you live in an area where the extremely cold weather is likely, you will want to consider using some methods to help keep your flock from freezing to death. Insulation to keep warm air in, vegetation to help block the wind, and possibly adding a safe heat source might be in order.
- What type of predators is in your area? Some areas have more predators that love a good chicken dinner than other areas. Take into consideration what type of predators are around you and take measures to provide the best security you can for your birds.
In this article, we are going to cover what steps you need to take to make your own chicken coop. The instructions are simple, easy to follow, and can be completed by just about any skill level. So, without further delay, let’s get started.
How to Build Your First Coop
Now that we have covered some of the factors regarding how large your coop should be, let’s get started with the building process. For our coop, we are using the scenario that we are starting our flock with three birds. This means we need at least 6 Sp Ft of interior space. However, we are going to build our example coop 3 ft. by 6 ft., 18 Sq Ft. This gives our starter birds plenty of interior space and allows room for adding more chickens if we decide we need a few more in the future. So, with that said, let’s begin.
List of Recommended Tools
- Spirit level
- Hand Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Scissors for Metal
Step 1: The Foundation
Since our coop is 3 ft. by 6 ft., we measure that out on the ground and place our footers, stone or concrete pads, where they are centered on these measurements. This will help to provide a solid foundation for our coop.
Step 2: Cutting the Corner Posts
Next, we cut our corner post which will by 4-inch by 4-inch stock. Since our coop will have a slanted roof to help with water runoff, the front posts are cut three inches taller than the back posts. The shorter posts are cut to lengths of 52-inches and the front posts are cut to 55-inches. All four will have the ends cut at matching angles.
Step 3: Building the Floor Frame
In step three, we will add the floor. Start by measuring the distance between the front and back post. Measure and cut the length of the boards using 2-inch by 4-inch boards, these will be flush with the front of the posts. Next, measure the distance from inside of the boards you cut first. Mark and measure on your board stock and cut seven boards of this size. Nail or screw one of these shorter boards onto each end of the longer boards. Just remember to keep the smaller boards on the inside of the longer ones. Space the remaining five boards evenly and secure in place.
Now that the main section of the flooring studs is finished, measure the distance from the ends to the outside edge of the posts. Cut braces for these measurements then measure and cut for the distance between the posts. This will provide support for the outer edge of the flooring and make the structure more stable.
Step 4: Apply the Floor Sheeting
Once all of the boards have been cut and attached, measure the floor area and footprint onto a sheet of ½-inch plywood. Cut and then place the plywood on top of the framing, then nail or screw in place.
*Tip = There are two ways you can go about building the floor.
Either build it as you go by attaching everything together as you cut it or building the entire floor first and then attaching it to the posts. This last option, however, will require the help of some friends as the floor will be heavy and trying to hold it in position while you attach it will be very difficult. It will need bedding later on as well.
Step 5: Framing the Back Wall
Now that our floor is completed, we can start framing the walls of our coop. Starting from the back of the coop, measure the distance between the back posts and cut two boards of this length, one will be on the bottom while the other will be on the top. Then, measure the inside distance between those two boards and cut four boards at that length. Attach two on each end, against the posts, and the other two in the center and with a 4-inch space in between.
Step 6: Framing the Side Walls
Now we can frame the side walls. Begin by measuring and cutting boards for the sides and for across the bottom and top. Remember to keep the angle when cutting for the top. Once that is done and attached, measure and cut another board that will run horizontally and about 3-inches above the bottom board. Measure about 2-inches from the sides and then measure the length from the board you just cut and attached up to the top board. Once measured, cut, and attached, cut another board to run horizontally between them leaving a 12-inch opening. Cut another brace and attach it to the center of that board. Repeat this process for the other side wall.
Step 7: Framing the Front
Now frame the front wall as shown in the image. Leave three openings that are roughly 8-inches by 8-inches. The bottom opening will serve as a way for your chickens to get in and out of the coop while the top two let fresh air and light inside.
Step 8: Framing the Roof
With all of the walls now framed, you can begin building the frame for the roof as pictured. Ensure you leave an overhang on all four sides to help keep rainwater from finding its way into the coop.
Step 9: Applying the Sheeting for the Roof
With the roof framed, you can now measure, cut, and attach the plywood to the roof. Try to keep the edges of the plywood as flush as possible to the outside of the framing. While a little overhang will not hurt anything, cutting it too short could let water inside of the coop.
Step 10: Adding the Exterior Sheeting
With the roof completed, you can move on to applying the outer shell of the coop. Measure and cut out for all of the openings. Additionally, you will notice the slot that has been cut out on the sidewalls, these will come into play in our next step.
Step 11: Framing the Nesting Boxes
This next step is the framing for the nesting boxes. This is where your chickens will lay at night when it’s time for bed. Begin by making the framework as shown. The size of your coop and the number of chickens you will have will have some impact on what size you should make these. You will have to repeat the steps for the boxes twice since there is one on each side of the coop.
Step 12: Nesting Box Floor
With the frame done, you can now attach the plywood sheeting. Notice how the plywood does not go all the way to the end? This is so it can slide into the notch on the sidewall of the coop. Leaving it about 3-inches short should be plenty of space.
Step 13: Completing the Rest of the Framing
With the floor done, build the framing for the walls and the roof. When figuring the pitch angle for the roof, make the angle sharper than that on the roof of the coop. This will help with rainwater and to block the wind when the weather gets cooler.
Step 14: Apply the Back Exterior Sheeting
After framing, attach the plywood sheeting for the back. Don’t worry about the sides or the roof just yet. There is still something that you have to do to the inside of the box in this next step.
Step 15: Building Dividers
Your chickens won’t like it too much if their roommates are always in their business. Evenly measure for 3 spots. Make some cleats with the plywood and then make some dividers to slide into them.
Step 16: Sheet the Sides
With the dividers in place, you can now add the sheeting to the sides of the boxes. The roof will come later in the process. For now, you can move on to the next step.
Step 17: Attach Nesting Boxes
Slide the nesting boxes into the slots. If you made the slots a tight fit, it might take some work. However, the tighter the fit, the more stable the boxes will be. Make your chickens feel comfortable in it.
Step 18: Completing the Roofing
With the boxes in place, you can attach the roofing. You have a couple of options. You can permanently attach the sheeting or you can use hinges to give you easy access to the nesting boxes when you are going to collect the eggs.
Step 19: Installing Doors and Framing Windows
For this step, you will need to make a door that you can close when it is time for your chickens to be in the coop. Using the plywood, make a door for the bottom opening on the front of the coop. Also, frame around the other two windows to give your project a finished look and cover them with chicken wire.
Step 20: Complete the Rear Exterior
Apply the sheeting to the back of the coop. Make sure you cut out for the openings. This will give you easy access when it is time to clean the coop.
Step 21: Making More Doors
Make two doors for your openings. The doors for this project do not have to be fancy. Some simple hinges and eye-and-hook latches will work perfectly.
Step 22: Build a Walkway
For our final step, make a walkway for your chickens to use to get in and out of the coop. This can be done with the plywood you have leftover or with other materials. Just make sure you attach cleats so your birds can make the climb.
Step 23: Finishing
There you have it, 22 easy steps to building your own chicken coop. Feel free to add any features you think you and your birds will need.
Step 24: Diagram of Fastening
I'm also attaching a diagram of fastening.
Good luck and happy building!