Sunday 1 July 2012

Build Your Own Chicken Coop

This is a post I put on my other blog - An English Homestead - but as it's to do with woodwork I thought I'd post it here as well!
Over the years I've made lots of chicken coops (never bought one) and gradually refined the design on every new build, but each time there's always something else I'd change on the next one!
Here's my latest design for laying hens
Large coop for 8-10 birds

Front pop hole (still need to build he ramp to get to it)
I clad the coop in feather edge boarding as it was so much cheaper than shiplap. Also I think this will be easier to clean as with shiplap red mites and other nasties can hide in the tongue and groove where you can't get to them. With the roof I use bitumen sheeting as I've had problems with bugs getting between ply and felt when I've used that (I think this stuff works out cheaper anyway).
House raised off the floor
I now always like to make the coops 18" off the ground. This means rats and mice can't hide under it and also being that high it gives the chickens somewhere to shelter out of the rain.

Large door for easy cleaning
To make cleaning easy I made the whole front open so there's no excuse for a dirty coop!
Good ventilation is important (it's not a pill box)
Large nest box with a good slope to discourage chickens jumping on it
How do you build your chicken houses? And what would you change on yours/mine? Normally I always think I should have built it bigger!
We should be getting the chickens this week so I'll soon see what they think to it.


  1. When my wife and I were first married we thought we needed chickens. You live out in the country you have chickens. That is just how it is. You see my wife was raised in the city and when we got married I think she failed to realize she had found the only non-successful farmer in the USA.
    Our first house was a terrible little shack at one corner of a 350 acre fescue seed field. When we opened the door (It was nailed shut) we found dead birds, horrible carpet, .357 magnum shells, old beer cans, and Porn... But no actual bullet holes. But, I digress..
    We built a chicken coop.
    It was similar to yours, little door from getting the eggs out and built in feeder, you opened a door and filled it from the outside.
    However it had a floor close to to the ground and a wide door for cleaning. You just opened the front and pushed the straw out with a pitchfork or shovel.
    I made it 10ft wide and set with an old rail road tie at each end to act as skids so I could move it.
    I could also back the hay stacker up to it. Raise the bed, then back forks on the back of the bed under the chicken house (you would have to look up New Holland 1085) to actually see how it worked) Then I could lower the bed and the chicken house could be moved down the road.
    When the farmer I was renting from decided we had fixed the house up enough for his hired man, he suggested we move. So, I waited till the chickens were roosting, backed the stacker under the house, and drove the ten miles to our new home. I even got most of the chickens!

  2. Good idea with the feeder being inside, I went out to ours tonight and there was two magpies eating the food! I have plans for them though...
    Also great way to move chickens! You don't see bale wagons like that over here and I'm fairly sure you wouldn't need one for my little coop! Great idea for moving it though, we did move my garden shed in a simular mannor but we had to strap it up first or it would have fallen apart with the first bump!


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