The One Where I built a Chicken Coop

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Chicken Coop Plans
“Honey, if we get chickens, you could build the coop.” Challenge accepted.

That was how it all began. For me this was initially just a fun project, but before long I realized the impact this would make on my kids, from organic food to sustainability and environmental impact.

As with all my projects, I began by planning. We researched all about coop styles, chicken runs and chicken care. Over the course of several days all our ideas merged into the final design for our coop. Although technically large enough for over 12 chickens, our little flock would live very comfortable in this “chicken condo”.

Chicken Coop Plans

Every good project begins with a good foundation, and a good helper. The floor of the coop will be raised about 20″ above the ground both to deter predators and to give the hens a shady place to hang out during warm weather.

As with most of my projects, I do tend to overbuild a little bit but I really don’t want to deal with structural issues so I used 4×4 legs that I will prop up on blocks to level and prevent rotting, and 2×4 framing.

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Chicken Coop Plans

The walls were a little tricky and took a lot of pre-planning to get the windows and door frames exactly how I wanted them. These two walls include two small windows on front with the chicken door, and a larger window and human sized door on the side.

I used 2×2’s to frame the walls. 2×4’s would have been more expense, a lot heavier, and sacrificed interior space. And I think 2×2’s will be plenty strong for this application.

Chicken Coop Plans

The framing went very quickly thanks to my air compressor and nail gun. A little geometry and I was able to design and construct the roof trusses myself. The peaked roof will not only look cute but allow for some perch room for the hens.

You can also see the initial stages of the “nests”. Generally nests can support 2-3 chickens each which is more than enough for our needs. These nests will have a hinged lid allowing us access from the outside for easy egg collection.

Chicken Coop Plans

I ended up choosing metallic roofing for this project. Not only was it relatively inexpensive, it was super easy to install, and very water proof.

I also used 3/8″ sheathing to wall in the framing. Again, trying to use 3/4″ sheathing would have been overkill and a lot more expensive. I designed the coop specifically to be 48″ wide, 72″ long, and 48″ inches high (not counting the attic). This made it super easy to use 4′ x 8′ sheets of sheathing with practically no waste.

I started by clamping a solid piece in place then using a pencil to trace all doors and windows from the inside. Then I took it down and installed 1/2″ hardware cloth over all windows. When I’m done, this will be a safer place to live than our house. Then I used my jig saw to cut out the doors and windows and permanently installed the wall sheathing.

It is super important that the coop remain ventilated but still dry on the inside for the chickens’ health. To that end I am wrapping the exterior in tar paper before installing any siding. All joints are covered so we should be good.

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Chicken Coop Plans

Here is the fun part because we get to start the finishing touches. I used cedar shingle to cover the exterior walls. Very quick and easy with my air compressor and stapler. My miter saw made quick work of shingles along the roof line. I also used some 1×2 furring strips and white paint to add some pretty nice looking molding around the base, windows, and doors.

Chicken Coop Plans

I lined the interior with marmoleum, a non-toxic, waterproof material that will allow me to wash out the coop periodically and protect the sub floor. The marmoleum extended along the floor and about 6″ up on all sides creating almost a bath tub which we then filled with pine shavings.

Periodically we will rake through the shavings which will keep it looking and smelling clean. Then twice a year we will replace all the old shavings. The cool thing is the old shavings go straight into my compost bin full of chicken droppings that are great for compost.

Chicken Coop Plans

Finally, we painted the shingles, added the doors and decorative window shutters including some cool black hardware.

I also used some 2/2’s and some old pallets to create my fun white picket fence chicken run. The run is also enclosed by hardware cloth making the only access points through locked doors. Nothing bigger than a lady bug is getting in here without permission.

Welcome home, chickens!

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Chicken Coop Plans

 


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

146 thoughts on “The One Where I built a Chicken Coop”

    1. Hi Lori. The plans will be available soon! I am working on translating all my notes and comments and lessons I learned into a nice, straight forward set of plans. I will announce here and on Facebook when they are available.

        1. Hi Heather. This one cost me around $500, but there are tons of ways you can customize it to save if you want to. You can look at using 3/8″ plywood instead of 3/4″. Or you can change up the roofing, siding, or the expensive hinges and latches my wife chose. You could even change to footprint if you want to go a little smaller. I hope this helps.

    1. Thanks, Megan! There are a few options for perches inside. The trusses themselves are our chickens’ favorite, but I also have a wooden “ladder” inside that gives them options for different levels. I’m working hard on the plans. Coming very soon!

    1. The picket fence was a last minute idea my wife had but it definitely is one of the best parts. I basically took apart a few palettes, ran them through my table saw, chopped them with my miter saw, then painted them all white. I hope to have the plans available soon.

  1. Nice coop. I like the 2×2 construction instead of 2×4. How did you attach the lid for the nesting box to the back of the coop so rain water does not leak through? I would also like to purchase a set of your plans when you are done with them.

    1. Thanks, Greg. I used hinges, obviously, to connect the roof lid. Then I used some leftovers of the metal roofing as some “flashing”. It’s flexible enough to bend up when I raise the lid and lower back down when I lower the lid. I also added a hook and eye I can use to hold the lid up while I gather eggs. I’m working on the plans as we…type. Shouldn’t be too long.

  2. Beautiful coop and an inspiration for the one I am going to build. It looks like the shutters can be closed. Is that correct? I live in Central Texas where it gets very hot in the summer but can freeze in the winter. Working shutters would be practical. I’m also interested in buying a set of your plans. Great coop!

    1. Thanks, Susan. My shutters do not close, but it would not be difficult to make them that way. However with decorative hinges you would need to decide if you want them visible while the shutters are open or while closed. I would assume in the summer you would want them open to get any breeze going through. Our winter can get below freezing, so I installed a light fixture in the coop with a heat lamp that runs to an extension cord. It raises the temperature in the coop above freezing so my chickens are fine. My biggest concern was that their water doesn’t freeze.

      I know I keep saying it, but I am almost done with the plans. Please check back or follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/trevormade.

      1. OK. Thanks for the reply! I’m going to attempt to build a similar coop based on the info in your posting. Best one I’ve seen yet!

    1. Hi Nick. It’s hard to say the total cost because I had to build this over a couple of months with several trips for materials. I also changed a lot of things as I went. I always thought it would be interesting to know, and then keep track of how many eggs they lay so I know when they have paid off their “mortgage”. 🙂 I’m working on a list of materials in the plans, although I’m sure there are several ways to modify how I did it to save some money.

      1. I found your site from the Country Living article. What a great coop! Do you have an estimate on the supply cost for the coop (not including the run)?

  3. I’m about to move into a house where we will finally have room for a coop. Where can I find the plans. Great job on the design. Thanks.

    1. Hi Kevin. Congrats on the new house. That’s exciting. My coop plans page can be found at http://trevormade.com/coop-plans/. They are available for $19. If you are interested, I can send you a PayPal invoice and email you the PDF plans once I receive payment. Let me know if you would like them. Thank!

    1. I’m thinking I probably spent around $500 for it. However there are a lot of ways it can be done cheaper, like using 3/8″ plywood instead of 3/4″, or different hinges, etc. You might also be able to find a good deal on hardware cloth on Craigslist or direct from a supplier instead of going through your home improvement store.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Love love love this coop design! I see that you supplied the overall dimensions for the project though would you be able to provide the individual dimensions for both the chicken house and the chicken cage? Also, would I be able to easily adjust the size of the chicken cage using your plans? I’m still in the process of deliberating what size to build. We don’t have a fenced in yard so I want to supply as much cage room as I can.

    1. Thanks, Aimee. I have all the specific dimensions in my plans including the chicken run. It should be very easy to modify the size of both the coop and the run if you decide to. My coop is primarily designed for a smaller urban flock (I have 7 right now and they have no trouble).

  5. Thanks for selling the plans! We have been copying your pictures forever. I spent hours and days mapping it out from your pictures. The frame and roof…fugetaboutit. We are just switching the direction so the nesting boxes are on the front and the door on the side.

    1. Oh! I’m sorry I didn’t get the plans done sooner. I love that you are making it your own by customizing the configuration.

  6. Love your chicken coop and excited to get the plans. Do you mind sharing the color and namebrand of paint you used! Love the blue! Thank you

    1. Wow, you are in luck. My wife somehow pulled “Artesian Well” by Martha Stewart, purchased from Home Depot out of her head. I’m pretty sure that was it. If you use cedar shingles, I would recommend priming first. I didn’t and it took A LOT of coats because the shingles soaked it right up. Shoot me an email at trevor@trevormade.com if you are interested in the plans for the coop.

  7. I just want to say this is one of the loveliest little chicken coops I’ve ever seen. I love that you even added a little white picket fence! If I didn’t already have a coop, I’d definitely want to make one of these for myself 🙂

  8. Hey I love this design of a coop! I wanted to get two ducks for our house to have eggs and my mom said my only condition was to build the coop myself. I’m also planning on making mine about half that size since I only need space for two. It’s been a little rough for me to get started since mine has to include swimming space for them, but your coop is a lovely start on my confusing attempt to build something on my own. I’m 17 right now and feel a little in over my head so any advice or tips you have at all is more than helpful!

    1. Hi Caelyn. Ducks would be very cool. We would probably have some but the city we live in does not allow them right now. I have never built a water area, however my coop plans are pretty easily adjustable if you want to change the dimensions around. And if you buy my plans, your are more than welcome to ask me questions as you build. Thanks and good luck!

  9. What are the length and width dimensions on your coop. This coop is beautiful and my kids are going crazy over it.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I believe the teal is called “Artesian Well” from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot. I’m sorry, I don’t remember the specific red.

  10. I would love to get these plans!! My husband and I are looking to have hens and rosters but are in need of a coup yet we can not afford to buy one so we decided to go the cheaper route and build plus it would just be a fun project to do !!

  11. HI, I love the cheeriness of the colors. We have made a 11X10′ chicken coop. We have divided the inside into three different areas so we can have baby chicks, full grown chicks as well as if one needs to be seperated one for a while.. First let me say, the coop you built for your wife is so CUTE! I love the expensive hinges she chose. I probably will not be getting that contrast. We are way over budget right now… Unlike your chicken run, We had to pour concrete 18″ into the ground and 6″ above the ground to put chain link fencing in. My 4 large dogs think chickens smell like treats 🙁 right now my chickens are in the dog run with costco coops to keep them safe from the dogs. My husband wants the dog run back for when we need it, ie why we are duplicating the dog run for the chickens.
    So my only question to you is do you know the manufacture and color codes for the green and orange/red paint? I can make anything but I am unable to pick or match colors. We all have our gifts in life. If by chance you can share this info, at least my large coop will look fresh and pretty like yours!

    1. First of all, that sounds like a huge coop! how big is your flock? I love the idea of separating the inside for little ones. We did that as a temporary measure to introduce new girls to the flock.

      What a challenge with the dogs! It sounds like you will have a pretty secure place for them when you are finished.

      We have been going back through emails and texts from several years ago because so many people are asking for the colors and we didn’t record them in a nice place. We are pretty sure the teal is called Araucana Teal, by Martha Stewart. So far we are unable to track down the red we used.

      I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kristen. By tray do you mean a removable base on the inside that can be taken out and cleaned? Mine does not. I created a “bathtub” out of marmoleum, lining the bottom. The back wall is designed to open up when I want to clean it out. I then simply rake the wood shavings into a wheel barrow or into a tarp and put it right into my compost bin.

      That being said, it wouldn’t be hard to modify my plans to include a tray style if you prefer.

    1. Thanks, Carsten. I originally had big plans with some kind of cool remote control device I could use from the house to open or close it. In the end, I realized I could just always leave it open. The run is secure so I wasn’t worried about my hens moving in and out on their own.

    1. Hi Ellie. The base of my coop is 6 feet by 4 feet. The run has a bigger foot print, but it wouldn’t be difficult to modify either if you would like it larger or smaller.

  12. I’m wondering where you live, that you can just leave the pop door open. I live in southern Alberta, Canada. So far this winter our lowest temperature was
    -34 degrees C (-29.2 F) + the wind chill. I also must have a predator proof run, we have a lot of farm cats & other animals that would like a chicken dinner (I will not be willing to share any of them) when I am able to be ready to bring them home.

    1. I live in the Pacific Northwest. While it does get below freezing, it certainly never gets to zero, let alone negative numbers. I do use a heat bulb in the winter to give them a few more degrees and to help keep their water from freezing.

      Although I leave the “chicken” door open, it only allows access to the run, which is pretty predator proof. We have a lot of raccoons and dogs around that would grab them up in a second if they had the chance. I have never had a predator get into the run/coop.

  13. How tall is the coop? Just wondering if its possible to stand in it for cleaning. What breed of chickens do you have in your coop? We would like to get Bielefelders (quite a large breed) and are wondering if the opening and the coop would be large enough. But we love your design and would like to build this one.

    1. Hi Alex. The inside of the coop is four feet tall. It is not intended for a person to stand inside to clean. Rather, there is a large access panel on the rear that allows you to reach the whole interior with a rake/shovel/broom. I actually just cleaned mine out yesterday and put in all new wood shavings.

      We have had many breeds over the years. We try to choose them based on cool egg colors. The chicken door is pretty large, about 12 inches by 18 inches so I don’t imagine any breed would have trouble with it.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  14. Hi Trevor. I absolutely love this chicken coop, however, I need it to be 36 square feet. Do your plans have written instructions on how to make the coop bigger? If not, could you provide written instructions. I would really appreciate it. I have been obsessing over this coop for a while. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your interest in my coop, Carletta. Mine is 6 feet by 4 feet, so 24 square feet. I think the easiest way to increase it to 36 square would be to make it 6 feet by 6 feet. My plans don’t specifically breakdown how to build the coop with different dimensions, but it would not be hard for you to modify a 6 foot side and use it in place of the 4 foot side. Another option, which would work well with the dimensions of wood you get, would be to make it 8 feet by 4 feet, although that would only get you 32 square feet.

      I hope this helps. Let me know what other questions you have. – Trevor

  15. Hey Trevor,
    I’ve been admiring your work for sometime and modeled my plan after yours prior to when you distributed plans. Your egg holder is amazing too, but way beyond my tool supply. Anyway, I am interested to learn how you hinged the nesting box lids. Also, did you just cover them in tar paper and then the roofing material to keep them dry/flat? Thanks again for sharing your wonderful work. BTW, your partner is an amazing photographer too.

    1. Thanks, Brian! The egg holder only took a miter saw and some drill bits. And you could probably get away with a skill saw or even a hand saw. It wasn’t difficult at all.

      For the nest lid, I used a piece of flashing connected to the coop which overlapped the nest lid. It is flexible enough to allow me to lift the lid but still prevents water from entering between the coop and lid.

      I hope you are getting tons of eggs!

  16. Hi! I am wondering how well this coop has held up over the past year and if there are any changes you would make now. Is there a door to the coop to keep them in at night? I wouldn’t want to take any chances of anything getting in at night.
    I love everything about this house and am trying to persuade my husband into building it with me. Do you think it is something easy enough that novice builders can do on their own? Also, can you get that marmoleum stuff at Home Depot?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Kristen. We are about six years now and the coop is going strong. I still love the design and didn’t add much. I did install a light fixture to put a heat bulb in during the cold months and I intend to add a food and water system with external access soon.

      The coop itself has a chicken door than can be closed. But the door to the run closes also. I usually leave the chicken door open but the run door closed at night, so the chickens have freedom to go in and out of the coop as they please, but nothing else can get to them.

      I don’t think there is anything too difficult in the plans. It does help to have some power tools like a screw gun and table saw, but they are certainly not necessary. Plus I am happy to answer questions as you build if you like.

      Let me know what other questions you have. -Trevor

  17. Gorgeous coop! I just downloaded the plans and can’t wait to get started! I live in Arizona, so not at all concerned about the winters, but the summers here are…..well, hellishly hot on a good day. I am planning on putting up a misting system but not sure where. Any suggestions?

    1. Wow a misting system would be awesome. The coop has a lot of windows so it does allow air to flow through pretty well. You can also consider enclosing the area under the coop as part of your run so they have a shady spot. But I guess if I was going to install a misting system, I would probably do it along the front edge of the run. You probably won’t want to do it inside the coop, just to avoid moisture. I would love pictures of your system if you would like to share. Good luck!

    2. Claire,
      How hard is it to build this chicken coop. Are the directions detailed well? You had to download is there a hard copy that he will send to you also.

      Thanks

  18. Are there any pics of the inside of this coop? And it looks like this would be perfect for deep littering! Am I correct?

    1. Hi Katherine. There are one or two pictures of the inside on my blog at http://trevormade.com/2016/02/06/chicken-coop/. It was specifically designed for the deep littering method. The base is sort of a bathtub that holds up to seven inches of wood shavings. The back of the coop is designed to hinge up giving access to sweep/rake out the shavings once or twice a year. Mine go straight into my compost bin.

    1. I believe they are three inch hinges. They are overkill, I am sure, but are mostly decorative. The doors themselves are not very heavy so I’m sure you can choose almost any hinge you think looks good.

  19. Lovely design, simple and effective. We’re in the process of enlarging our flock from 7 to 18-ish . Obviously we need to get a larger coop. Looking at your design, we’re considering doubling the length and increasing the nest boxes probably and extra ventilation (for the South Australian weather (40c summers)).

    1. That’s a nice large flock! Several people have modified my plans according to the number of hens they intend to keep. My footprint is 4’x6′. You could certainly take it to 12’x4′. I intentionally made it 4′ wide so a sheet of plywood would fit nicely. I have had some people do 8’x6′, even a 10’x10′. The plans give you a good idea how the framing should work but it is very easy to modify dimensions, change window sizes, add nests, etc. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kate. That’s exiting that you are about finished. We just went to Home Depot for the hinges. They have a section of decorative options available. Good luck and send me a pic of your coop when you have a chance!

    1. I get asked this a lot and I’m afraid I can’t remember for certain. I believe the coop is Aracauna Teal, which was part of the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot. Alas, I don’t remember the red. Wish I could be more help.

      1. Hey Trevor, I just wanted to point out you mentioned Artesian well in previous answers. They are very different colors. I got the Aracuana Teal but I think you were right the first times. It’s the Artesian Well

  20. Just got done your design coop after 3 weeks in the heat and it came out great. I modified it to a 4′ x 4′ size and it’s perfect for 4 chickens. We even put hardware cloth around the base of the coop and it’s a favorite place for the chickens to hangout in heat of the day. Excellent design Trevor. I couldn’t have done it without your design. (I would have attached a pic but your system won’t allow it)

    1. Hello! I saw your comment re the chicken coop and that you modified and made it smaller. Is it possible for you to share how you did it or what materials you used? I am new to chicken keeping and don’t feel I can do more than 4 chickens. Thank you,
      Avril

  21. I’m wondering if you can send me a link to what the Marmoleum flooring is that you used? I’ve tried searching and I can only find click and lock Marmoleum tiles. I love how yours comes up on the sides and feel like this could make cleaning much easier!

    1. Hi Tara. I actually found it on Craigslist. A local contractor has some extra from a project he was working on so I bought the extra. If I remember correctly, it came in a 5′ roll. But to be honest I have no idea where you can get it. I always assumed any home improvement store would carry it. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  22. Just purchased your plan in anticipation for my baby chick’s. I can’t wait to get started. It sure would be nice if people could post photos somewhere of their finished coops.

    1. Pretty sure I just got everything from Home Depot. Some of their supplies differ depending on your area. For example, you might not be able to walk into the store and get bundles of cedar shakes for the siding.

  23. Hey there, I am so happy I found this I love it! Buying now. Only one question, is there a way to open the outside run for cleaning and such ? Thanks!

    1. Hi Heather. That is a great question. The back wall is designed to hinge up giving you easy access for cleaning or raking out wood shavings into a wheel barrow. That was a big priority for me when I designed it.

  24. Love your coop ideas. Is there a hard copy of plans or just download. Would like to order but not sure if they are in detail enough. will be getting 8-10 baby chicks soon. need the coop big enough to hold them. Please get back to me. Thank You, Barbara.

    1. Hi Barbara. I’m excited for your new flock. I always miss when they are still baby chicks. The plans are digital in the form of a pdf file so you can receive them right away. You can certainly print it out to have a hard copy if you would like. The plans are very specific with a material list, cut list, and step by step instructions. My coop has 4 nests and enough room for probably up to 12 full grown hens. Personally I have had as little as two and as many as nine.I have also has several people modify my plans to either increase or decrease the actual coop size to fit their flock, but I think 8-10 would be fine, especially if you add some extra perches inside. I hope this helps. Good luck with your girls.

  25. Hi Trevor,
    We Love your coop! I have noticed you say several times that your plans are adjustable. Can they be adjusted to fit 14 hens? Additionally, we live in the desert, and I was wondering if the coop would trap the heat, or if we can add additional windows.
    Thanks so much!
    Chaya

    1. Thanks, Chaya! As is I would probably be comfortable with up to 12 hens in my coop. You could probably get away with 14 if you had plenty of roosting room and are able to let them free roam. A lot of people modify my plans slightly to accommodate a larger flock. I would recommend making yours 4′ x 8′, instead of 4′ x 6′ like mine. Not only would it allow for an additional nest and roosting options, but it would minimize material waste since most lumber come in 8′ lengths. The coop also has build in venting in addition to the windows between the roof and wall created by the trusses, which allows circulation. I would also recommend you enclose underneath the coop as part of your run, to give them a shaded place to hang out if they would like. I hope this helps! Let me know what other questions you have.

  26. Thank you so much for the response! We are so excited to build. Going to order the plans now. Thanks so much again.

    1. Hi Lily. I worked or a few hours each weekend for the summer when my kids would let me. I had to make sure it was ready before I chicks needed to move in around 8-10 weeks. If you know what you are doing, have some help and little interruptions, you could probably build it all in a couple weekends.

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