September 3, 2012

Chicken Coop & Run

We decided to build our own chicken coop for several reasons. First, we love the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a project like this that we can't get from going down to the local feed store and picking up a pre-made coop. Second, we looked at the cost of coops and to get something we really like, it would have cost over $1,000. We figured we could make our own for a fraction of the cost. Third, we wanted to make a coop that worked for us and our chickens. So, we started our research on building a homemade chicken coop. Again, Backyard Chickens was a huge help with hundreds of coop plans and the forums filled with advice from chicken owners. We gathered everything we learned and drew out a basic plan to get us started. 

Building our chicken coop

Most agree that every chicken needs about 4 sq ft of living space inside the coop and this can change depending on size, but it seemed unanimous that the more space the better. With this information we decided to make a coop that was 4' X 3'. We also had to consider height of the coop and a few things came into play in figuring this out. We found that roosting poles have to be higher than the nesting box and 18'' away from the wall and at least 8'' of room for each chicken. The chickens also need enough head room once they are on the roosting poles. This lead us to build a coop that was 4' tall one one side and 5' tall on another to allow for a sloped roof. 

Below is a picture of the chicken coop frame.

We decided to make the coop and run two pieces to allow for ease of moving. This meant building two frames which turned out to be a lot more work than we expected. By the end of the first weekend we only had the frames finished and the walls cut. By the second weekend we were able to stain the frame, put up the walls, the roof, prime, paint and finish the project. 

This is the finished coop and run together. The total cost of materials was just under $250. The chickens arrive tomorrow and we hope that they love their new home!

Here is a collection of helpful links we gathered along the way: