This chicken coop is simple and easy to put together. In showing you how we built our coop, I hope that it may inspire and help you know that you too can build a coop with what you have on hand or what you may need to build one.
How to build a simple DIY chicken coop
I never thought I would want chickens. Never really had a desire to have them, especially after I had chickens fly at my head when I was in 6th grade, while trying to collect eggs at a friends house. After that experience I swore I hated them. But then things changed. We bought our first house and having a piece of land all your own, to do whatever you want with it, opens you up to all kinds of ideas and possibilities.
I knew I didn’t want to buy a chicken coop. I hadn’t seen one that I liked the look of or the price tag of. Mine and husbands past building endeavors made me think we could do this all on our own. If we could build a goat shelter and a hay bale holder, we could most definitely build a chicken coop.
Building the Coop
When we moved on to our property, the barn was full of wood that the previous owner had collected. It was a huge stack of lumber, all shapes and sizes. So we set off to rummage through it to find good, usable lumber. We wanted the coop to be 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and 6 feet tall on the sides, with enough peak height so my husband could fully stand up inside it. Luckily we were able to find just what we needed.
First we started by making the frame for the floor
We cut two 2x4s to 4 feet and another two to 8 feet. Then we fastened them together with 2 inch general purpose screws. We did not predrill the holes for the screws, but you may if you want to insure there will be no cracking.
Next we cut six 6 feet long 2x4s to make the corner post. Yes I know a rectangle only has four corners. The other two boards will be used as part of the door frame.
We stood the 2x4s up and screwed the four corner boards to the inside of the 8 foot long floor frame boards. Make sure the 2 inch thick sides of the boards are facing the front of the coop and the 4 inch widths are laying flat against the 8 foot floor frame boards.
Then we took the two remaining 2x4s and stood them flat against the 4 foot floor frame boards, making them butt up against the boards we just screwed in. At this point you should have 2 L shaped corner boards in the front of the coop and single 2x4s at the back.
Now the Coop’s ceiling Frame
After making the corners of the walls we made the ceiling frame, which will be a mirror image of the floor frame. You will need two more 4 foot boards and two 8 foot boards. Then screw these boards to the outside of the vertical corner boards we just installed. Now you should have a 3D rectangle box.
To stop any twisting of the frame and to give it more strength, we measured the space between the two 8 foot boards on the ceiling frame. Then cut a 2×4 to fit snuggly in the middle of them, stretching from one side to the other.
Here comes the roof Frame (Rafters)
Now is the more challenging part…. figuring out the pitch of the roof!
Before that step though, you will have to decide how much over hang you want for the sides of the roof. I wanted ours to hang over enough, so when it rains, the water will run off and drip far enough away from the sides of the coop.
The good ol’ pitch..
After you have decided the over hang, now it’s time for the pitch. I wanted the peak of our roof to be pretty high and to have a nice steep slop. We did not use a special tool or any specific calculations and formulas to figure out any angles. My husband and I literally became cavemen, grunting and groining at each other, as we took two long 2x4s and held them up to the corn of the ceiling frame, making them touch, until the pitch of the roof looked nice to us. We adjusted the pitch many, many times and lost the perfect angle many, many more times, because we lost grip while using our very precise and mathematically correct strategy. Power to you if you know angles and how to calculate for them. We are still learning!
Once the boards were where we wanted, we took a pencil and drew a line where they intersected. This was to let us know where to cut a vertical line, so they would sit flat against one another and make a point.
We took a screw and zapped the two points on the peak frame together, going down far enough to not split the wood. We did this in the front and back of the coop.
Lastly for the roof frame, you will need four 1x4x8s or any board that is thin and a 2x4x8.
First take the 2x4x8 and place it at the top of the roof peak triangle, stretching front to back and screw it into place.
The thin boards will be parallel to the board you just screwed in place. Take two of the 1x4x8s and screw them up toward the top of the roof near the peak. Then take last two and place them where the wall framing and over hang meet. You will use these thin boards to screw the roof onto later.
Nesting Box Platform
Now this next step is a, do as I say, not as I do, moment. Here you are going to install the nesting box platform, which will be a 3 sided box with a floor and open on the top and front.
Decide what the depth of this platform will be. We made ours 18 inches deep. That allows a 12 inch nesting box, with a 6 inch walkway in front of the boxes for the chickens.
Now that you have your depth decided, you will need two 2x4x6. This will be used as a support for the nesting platform. Go ahead and stand this board vertical, attaching it to the bottom floor frame and the ceiling frame, however many inches away from the back of the coop you chose. In this picture you will see how we did not add a full length board, only a half board from the ground to the level of the platform. We later go back and add an additional board to make it span the height of the coop.
Next you will need two 2x4s about 4 feet long, that will stretch across the back of the coop and in front of the nesting boxes, almost making a rectangle frame. This will become the platforms floor. It should have two open sides, to the left and right, at this point.
On the sides that are missing, you will need to cut two small 2x4s, whatever size you chose for you depth of this platform. Screw them between the 2x4s you just installed and the corner 2x4s. Now you should have an elevated rectangle frame.
Now add a plywood floor to the platform frame you just created. We had a bunch of plywood scraps we took out of our house, that we were able to use for this step.
After the floor, we measure the back opening and cut a piece of plywood to fit. I wanted the back to be fully enclosed. From the outside, we zapped the plywood into the supporting frame. Then measure and cut plywood for the sides of the nesting box platform. Also figure out at this point if you want to close up the triangle at the top of this section with plywood or wire. We chose to use plywood.
I decided to paint the whole thing with some extra paint I had on hand. I did not want to worry about getting paint on the wire later. At some point I will need to go back and repaint it all with exterior paint.
Now comes the wire
*Word to the wise, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GLOVES ON! This stuff is very sharp. We all made the mistake of not wearing long sleeves, so I suggest that too. This is the stuff we bought from our local hardware store. This hardware cloth was $31.99 a roll, which was the cheapest we could find for the quantity we needed. We bought two rolls for $63.98.
We decided we would roll this out going horizontal. In order to do so, we had to attach one last board to the inside of the coop along the sides, from the front corner to the nesting box section. This needed to done for the wire to be strong and secure.
We attached the hardware cloth to the wood using 7/8 square cap nails. We bought 2lbs at $2.19 a pound. It was very easy to use this type of nail. It holds the wire tight and you don’t have to worry about the nail slipping through the holes in the wire because the cap is plenty big enough to prevent that.
We stretched the hardware cloth as tight at we could. We did not want an gaps for snakes or any other creature to be able to get in. Once we had it tight, we just grabbed a nail and hammered it in. Easy peasy! My boys did the lower half of the chicken coop with no problems.
here comes the door
We wanted this to be super easy with not a lot of cuts and steps. My husband thought about using these mending plates. We have similar plates like this in his shop that hold the whole thing together, but bigger of course. Why not try them out and see if they can make this door building step easier?….Spoiler Alert: They did! We bought ten of them for $.69 each, totaling $6.90.
We simply measured the space at the front of the coop where the door was going to go, then cut the size of boards we need. My husband and I played around a little with the style of door, but I just wanted it done, so we kept it simple.
Once the door is laid out the way you want it, take a mending plate with the sharp teeth facing down, place it straddling the seam between the two boards and hammer it into the wood.
Make sure the door is square before hammering!
It will bite into both pieces of wood attaching them together. My husband placed a plate in each corner, front and back, then on the backside of the cross support in the middle.
Next just paint it whatever color you want it to be. It’s easier to do before attaching it to the coop.
Attaching the Door
To attach the door we bought a screen door kit that came with two hinges, a handle and a spring for only $9.99.
We used scrap wood to space the gaps in the door, making sure it was pretty equal all the way around. Honestly, in difficulty, this was probably right under finding the pitch of the roof, for us. Getting the door level and not catching on any side was quite the challenge on a nice, sweltering, Texas summer day.
Now it’s time for the roof! Once the roof is done, the coop will pretty much be good to go and ready for chickens.
We had a pile of old corrugated metal sheets, that were left here, that we repurposed for the roof. Measure from the peak of the roof to the end of the over hang. That will be how long the sheets of metal will need to be for both sides of the roof. My husband used his angle grinder with a cutting wheel to cut the metal to size.
We used 1 inch self tapping screws to attach the metal to the wood roof supports. They were $5.89 a pound, but we only needed 1/2 a pound, so we paid $3.36.
Now you will screw the corrugated metal sheets onto the all the roof supports. Screw the sheets to the wood from the dips, not the raised sections of metal, over lapping each sheet a little.
Lastly, you will need to make a roof cap. You want the roof to be sealed and rain water to roll off the roof, not go between where the two sides of sheet metal meet. All you have to do is make sure it’s long enough to reach from the front to the back and wide enough to drape a few inches on either side. Then screw it into place.
The Finished Simple DIY Chicken Coop
Since our chickens had been inside our house in an old metal horse trough, I wanted them to spend a few days testing out the coop inside the shop. I added some shaving to the floor and the nesting box platform, food, water and a little chicken ladder I made from some scrap wood. They were very happy to have more room to flap around.
All together we spent only $93.71 on this simple DIY chicken coop! This was definitely a win in my book.
Take at look here at us finding Old shiplap walls!
- 19- Pressure Treated 2x4x8 = $166.63
- 10- Furring Strip 1x4x8 = $34.20
- 2- 1/2in 4x8 Plywood =$41.34
- 3- Corrugated Sheet Metal 8ft = $43.08
- 1- #6 2in Gen Purpose Screws =$4.99
- 1lb - 7/8 Square Cap Nails = $4.49
- 1/2lb - Self Tapping Screws = $3.36
- 10- Mending Plates = $6.90
- 1- Screen Door Kit = $9.99
- 2- 36ft 1/2in Hardware Cloth = $63.68
Total Cost = $378.96
* These prices our for my area of Texas. Lumber is priced higher at this time since the pandemic of 2020.