47 Free Chicken Coop Plans: Start DIY Now!
Our chicken coop plans are specifically designed to simplify the building process while ensuring optimal safety and comfort for your birds. With basic construction skills, you can efficiently build a suitable home for your chickens without excessive time or expense. To assist you in your project, we offer these user-friendly, budget-conscious plans at no cost.
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Free DIY Chicken Coop Plans
There are a variety of plans available to help you construct the perfect living space for your feathered friends. From stationary structures to portable tractors, there is a range of options to fit your needs and preferences.
Walk-In Chicken Coop Plan
This walk-in chicken coop offers a spacious interior to house up to 12 chickens, and the integrated run is a safe space for them to explore and forage during the day. To ensure the safety and health of your flock, it offers a predator-proof design, and you can always get inside to tend to the chickens.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 20 x 9 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Chicken Coop and Run Plans
This DIY chicken palace is perfect for bird lovers looking to raise a medium flock. When built, it can hold up to 20 chickens and offers a predator-proof design, enough nesting boxes to hold eggs, and ample ventilation for proper air circulation.
Capacity 20 chickens Dimensions 8 x 16 Difficulty to build Medium
The Cluck Canyon Chicken Run Blueprint
House your chickens and give them plenty of room to explore, forage, and wander around with the coop and ultra-spacious chicken run. This blueprint is a comprehensive guide to help you build a shelter for 20 chickens. The design allows for egg harvesting from outside, and the included doors allow for access for quick cleanup.
Capacity 20 chickens Dimensions 9 x 42 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Chicken Coop DIY Plans
Chicken growers looking for a modern coop may want to consider these printer-ready chicken coop blueprints to build their dream hen houses. The coop can hold 12 chickens and is raised to provide more space underneath for the birds to forage and take refuge from the afternoon sun and rain. Moreover, the design allows for egg collection from outside and easy access for a quick cleanup.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 17 x 6 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Farmhouse Chicken Coop
This coop suits safe upcountry backyards for up to 12 chickens, with nesting boxes accessible from outside, two windows for light, and a droppings tray for easy cleaning. Its design offers a secure living space, raised off the ground, with a main door and a chicken-sized door with a ramp.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 6 x 6 Difficulty to build Medium
Large Chicken Coop Plans
Designed with everything you need to raise a flock of up to 50 chickens, this all-in-one chicken house can make chicken rearing super easy. The coop and run are all contained and integrated, so you won’t need to let the birds in and out whenever they want to stretch their legs. With the ample interior, you can always get inside and tend to the birds.
Capacity 50 chickens Dimensions 40 x 20 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Chicken Tractor Plan
Having a portable chicken coop means you can move it whenever and wherever you want to give your chickens fresh grass to scratch and eat. One side of this coop features two sturdy handles that allow you to lift and push it to the desired location in your backyard. The plan to build this coop is detailed to guide even inexperienced woodworkers.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 5 x 13 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Farmhouse Chicken Run
Looking for a functional and stylish chicken run for up to 12 chickens? This farmhouse-style option offers a predator-proof design, integrated aviary, raised coop area, easy-access door, large doors for cleaning, and nesting boxes for optimal egg production.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 6 x 14 Difficulty to build Medium
Small Chicken Coop Plans
Use these garden loft chicken coop plans to build your hens a place where they can call home and cohabit safely. The coop provides a homey environment for six chickens, nesting boxes, and a predator-proof aviary. The cabinet-style doors open to the ample interior to allow you to collect fresh eggs and clean up.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 4 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
DIY Chicken Coop with Run
The professionally designed plans to build this charming DIY chicken coop can be a perfect solution for those looking to add interest and functionality to their backyard. Your hens will have a place to roost at night and plenty of space to explore and forage during the day. Interestingly, the design allows for egg harvesting from outside.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 12 x 8 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
DIY Chicken Coop Plans
If you want to build a small yet functional coop for a flock of up to 10, use this chicken coop plan to DIY a shelter for your hens. The coop area is elevated to provide more space for chickens to wander, hide from the scorching sun and rain, and offer protection from floods and other threats. The simple design makes this coop great for beginner chicken growers with meager woodworking skills.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 4 x 10 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Backyard Chicken Coop Plans
This lean-to chicken coop plan is detailed with steps to build a small haven for your chickens. The finished coop offers a healthy and safe space for up to 8 chickens and has a cabinet-style door that offers wide access for hassle-free cleaning and a spacious interior where you can come in and tend to your birds.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 4 x 12 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Simple Chicken Coop
Designed with efficiency in mind, this chicken coop will hold ten chickens who will have access to a secured aviary, a roosting area, and nesting boxes to hold eggs. Its design incorporates convenient access doors for easy egg harvesting and quick cleanup.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 4 x 6 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Garage Shed-Inspired Chicken Coop
Whereas most chicken coops look like quaint little cottages, this spacious retreat resembles a garage shed and features an all-contained coop for up to 50 chickens integrated with a big run. If you are planning to raise a large flock, this comprehensive DIY blueprint will guide you through each step of building a coop, including building nesting boxes, installing perches, predator-proofing the run, and everything you need to raise a happy flock.
Capacity 50 chickens Dimensions 24 x 8 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Shed-like Chicken Coop Plans
With an exterior furnished and finished to look like a garden shed, this modernized chicken coop is designed to be predator-proof and has enough nesting boxes plus roosts for 30 chickens. It has a human-sized door equipped with steps for easy access when harvesting eggs and cleaning.
Capacity 30 chickens Dimensions 10 x 8 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Split Homey Chicken Coop
If you want a chicken coop that adds function and interest to your backyard, use this do-it-yourself chicken coop plan for 12 to build your flock a haven. The coop has a human-size door that allows you to get inside to collect eggs, tend to your chickens, and clean. The plan makes it easy for you to build your birds a safe and comfortable abode.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 6 x 10 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Easy Chicken Coop Plans
If all you need is a small flock to produce eggs for household consumption, you can use this chicken coop plan to DIY a haven for your chickens. The blueprint includes instructions to ease the building process. Once built, the coop can hold six chickens and offers enough space for them to explore and forage during the day.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 3 x 6 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
DIY Chicken Tractor Plans
Designed with portability in mind, this chicken coop can be easily moved about to offer your flock new grass to scratch and new places to search for worms. The finished coop offers a fenced aviary, roosting area, and nesting boxes for 6.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 4 x 8 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Small Flock Chicken Coop Plans
Finding a compact yet all-contained chicken coop can mean having the ultimate solution to raise a decent flock in small backyards. If your goal for raising chickens is to produce eggs for household consumption, these downloadable blueprints can be ideal for you. The coop can hold up to 8 chickens and is lifted to ensure enough space for the bird to explore as they search for worms.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 4 x 8 Difficulty to build Intermediate
DIY Elevated Chicken Abode
Elevating the chicken coop safeguards your flock against flooding, predators, and unforeseeable threats. These free chicken coop plans for 12–15 chickens include directions to help even beginner woodworkers build their flocks a haven. The finished coop offers a simple yet predator-proof design.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 5 x 10 Difficulty to build Intermediate
DIY Chicken Coop Plans
This chicken coop plan offers an easy way to build a coop for six chickens. The coop has a chicken-sized door, making it easy to let your flock in and out of it, and it has convenient access to allow for egg collection from outside. A large window is also included to allow you to view your birds and the interior from outside as you collect eggs.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 4 x 6 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Elevated Hen House
Are you an aspiring poultry farmer looking for small chicken coop plans? This ready-to-print PDF plan includes step-by-step instructions to build an elevated hen house for eight chickens. The coop has a large door that allows you to get inside to clean and harvest fresh eggs.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 5 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
All-in-one Chicken Abode
These chicken coop plans for 50 chickens are a perfect solution for those planning to raise a lot of chickens. The all-contained coop is sandwiched between two integrated aviaries and has two chicken-sized doors that open to the aviaries, so you won’t have to let your chickens in and out every time they want to stretch or return inside to lay eggs. With the spacious interior and standard-size access doors, you will have an easy time getting inside the coop to collect eggs and inside the fenced runs to tend to your birds.
Capacity 50 chickens Dimensions 30 x 15 Difficulty to build Advanced
Cottage Style Chicken Coop Plans
This chicken coop is disguised as a playhouse, but its interior is furnished with nesting boxes, roosts, and other essentials you need for a flock of up to 12 chickens. Its sturdy design keeps predators and other threats away. Best of all, your woodworking skill level doesn’t matter; the plans will help you get started with your project in no time.
Capacity 12 chickens Dimensions 6 x 8 Difficulty to build Medium
Chicken House Plans
This chicken coop can be perfect if you plan on having only a small to medium flock. It offers a predator-proof design, a spacious interior, and sufficient boxes. Moreover, it has a strategically positioned chicken-size door, so you won’t have to do the extra work of making a ladder.
Capacity 20 chickens Dimensions 8 x 12 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Elevated Hen House
Ideal for beginners looking for chicken coop plans for eight chickens, this blueprint makes it easy for you to build your hens a place they can call home. The coop is elevated to minimize threats posed by predators and floods. Moreover, the design incorporates two doors (human-sized and chicken-sized), windows, and a protruding nesting box, which ensure good looks once built.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 4 x 8 Difficulty to build Intermediate
All-in-One City-Worth Chicken Coop Plans
For those in urban areas where you can only have a small flock, consider this plan to build a compact all-contained chicken coop. Once built, the coop can hold six chickens who will have access to a predator-proof aviary, a roosting area, and nesting boxes. The design allows for egg harvesting from outside, and the large access doors make cleanup easy.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 2 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Charming Chicken Barn
This roost- and nest-only chicken barn provides a safe and healthy haven for a flock of up to 10 birds. Its design incorporates a large access door, windows, and protruding nesting box, allowing for outside egg harvesting. You can download the printer-ready blueprints and get started with your next project. The coop is perfectly suitable for rural and suburban settings.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 5 x 6 Difficulty to build Intermediate
A-Frame Chicken Coop
Many people love A-frame chicken coops because they are budget-friendly, easy to build, and movable. These printable free A-frame chicken coop plans are professionally designed to help even amateur woodworkers build the intricate tall-standing coop. Once built, the coop will provide a home to 6 chickens, a fenced aviary, and nesting boxes to hold the eggs. The design allows you to collect eggs and clean up the coop from outside.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 7 x 6 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Coop on Wheels
Those looking for a truly mobile chicken coop may consider this chicken coop plan. The movable hen house offers room for six chickens, nesting boxes, and an aviary that allows birds to scratch grass and forage for worms. You can quickly move the coop without lifting it; just push.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 8 x 15 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Walk-In Chicken Coop Plan
This chicken coop is engineered to be sturdy, incredibly protective, and functional. It provides room for ten chickens, a feature-rich aviary, and sufficient nesting boxes to hold eggs. The sturdy framing guarantees longevity and performance.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 6 x 12 Difficulty to build Medium
Hexagonal DIY chicken coop Plans
When it comes to building a home for your chickens, you can get as creative as you want. This one-of-a-kind chicken coop plan has been designed by a professional to help chicken lovers of all levels create a haven that will not only house their hens but also add interest to their property. Even with its unusual shape, the coop is furnished with everything you need to raise a safe, happy, and healthy clock of ten chickens.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 7 x 8 Difficulty to build Medium
Charming Chicken House Plans
A coop that is as charming as it is functional, this chicken house is perfect for beginner chicken growers. Its window lets you view your birds without opening the main access door, and its nesting box has a convenient access door to collect eggs from outside. If you are already fascinated by its appearance, download the printer-ready PDF plan to start building your chickens a haven.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 3 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Greenhouse Chicken Coop Plan
Use this chicken coop plan to DIY a shelter that resembles a greenhouse in shape. This arc-style streamlined design is suitable for rural neighborhoods and offers ample ventilation for proper air circulation, which makes it suitable for poultry farmers in hot regions. One side of the coop is equipped with wheels to allow you to move it to give your flock new grass to scratch and eat.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 4 x 12 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Homey Chicken Coop
Are you new to the chicken-rearing hobby? House your chickens and give them space to explore and wander with this beautiful coop and run. The coop is a miniature haven intricately designed to resemble an outdoor cabinet, and its cabinet-style doors and lean-to roof complement its short stature. Despite looking tiny, it can hold up to six chickens and has all essential creature comforts.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 3 x 5 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Backyard Chicken Coop
If you live in a rural neighborhood and want a simple but sturdy coop for your flock, you might want to consider these large walk-in chicken coop plans. The coop has a rustic, homey vibe that can be fit for most people. Once built, it can accommodate eight chickens and offers up to 32 square feet of space for your birds to explore and scratch, searching for worms.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 4 x 8 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
DIY Chicken Coop Plan
Are you looking for a way to keep yourself busy over the weekend? Download this printable PDF chicken coop plan to DIY a small shelter for your hens. The simple design makes this coop fit for beginners with meager woodworking skills, and it can work well in rural and suburban areas.
Capacity 8 chickens Dimensions 4 x 5 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Cheery Yellow Chicken Coop
This brightly colored chicken coop is sure to brighten your backyard and add a dash of elegance while helping you achieve your dream of keeping chickens. Reminiscent of a shed, the coop is charming and has a capacity of 20 chickens. A standard-size access door with a ramp is included to allow you to come inside to collect eggs and clean.
Capacity 20 chickens Dimensions 6 x 8 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Small Chicken Tractor
If you live in the city and want to enjoy the convenience of having a movable chicken coop, this small chicken coop plan is for you. With a capacity of only four chickens, it is perfectly suited for city life where ordinances restrict the keeping of large flocks.
Capacity 4 chickens Dimensions 3 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Mobile Chicken Coop Plans
This movable hen house will hold ten chickens who will have access to a secured aviary, an indoor area, and nesting boxes. The detailed DIY plan will guide you through every step to ensure you build a safe shelter for your flock.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 6 x 12 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Small DIY Chicken House Plans
This is an easy-to-follow plan to build a small chicken coop for six chickens. The simple design is suitable for rural and suburban neighborhoods and is elevated off the ground to protect your flock from flooding, predators, and other threats. A chicken-sized door equipped with a ladder is included in the design to allow you to let your chickens in and out of place with ease.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 2 x 4 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
The Cheery Green Chicken Shed plan
This cheery coop can add interest to any backyard thanks to the bright green paint trimmed with white to accentuate the details. One of its fascinating features is the ramp-style door, which makes it easy for your chickens to move in and out of the coop. At night, the door locks snugly, providing much-needed protection. The included nesting boxes are accessible from the outside, which makes egg harvesting and clean-up easy and convenient.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 4 x 4 Difficulty to build Intermediate
DIY Chicken Coop Plans
House your chickens and give them space to explore safely with this chicken coop. The blueprint is a professionally designed chicken coop plan to simplify coop-building. Once finished, the coop offers a home for ten chickens, space to explore and forage, and sufficient nesting boxes to hold the eggs. The coop area is elevated to provide more space for birds to scratch grass, search for worms, and take refuge from the afternoon sun.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 4 x 8 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Farmhouse Chicken Coop Plans
This printable chicken coop plan is a comprehensive guide to building a shelter for up to 10 chickens. Included in the design is a human-sized access door to allow you to get inside the aviary to tend to your birds and do the cleanup
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 4 x 10 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Backyard Shed Coop
If you already have a garden shed on your property, this comprehensive plan is designed to help you build a chicken coop that will complement your shed. When complete, the coop offers a safe abode for your chickens with enough nesting boxes, roosts, and ample ventilation.
Capacity 10 chickens Dimensions 5 x 6 Difficulty to build Intermediate
Loft Coop Plans
If you are looking for a tiny structure with everything you need to raise a decent flock, these small backyard chicken coop plans can be a perfect solution. The coop area and nesting boxes are elevated to offer space where your flock can safely scratch and hide from the sun during the day. With a footprint of only 9 square feet, the coop is perfectly suited for both suburban and urban neighborhoods.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 3 x 3 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Small Chicken Coop with Run
Are you an aspiring poultry farmer looking for free plans for a chicken coop and run? This printable chicken coop plan is adorable and offers a great starting point. It has every detail to build a coop, run, and nest boxes for six chickens. The coop and the aviary are integrated to allow the chickens to move in and out of the coop without requiring you to open it for them.
Capacity 6 chickens Dimensions 2 x 6 Difficulty to build Beginner friendly
Choosing Location of the Chicken Coop
Choosing a suitable location for your chicken coop is vital to your chickens’ health, happiness, and safety. While there is no right or wrong location for a coop, you want to keep your chickens close so you can keep an eye on things, but not too close to your house or your neighbor’s because of the smell and noise. Considering that you will need to visit the coop at least twice a day — to let them out and then back into their coop — you don’t want to set it too far away.
The best chicken coop location should provide a good balance of sunshine and shade. Shade is essential, especially during the day’s heat, typically from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. They also need a good flow of air to keep cool. However, if the location is exposed to strong gusts, you may want to create a windbreak by planting thick shrubs or erecting a solid-board fence. This can go a long way to ensuring the comfort of your chickens. The idea is to choose a safe and comfortable spot for your flock.
Do you need a permit for chicken coop?
Whether you need a permit for a chicken coop or not depends on where you live. Although chicken coops may not seem like a structure that requires a permit, some locations and homeowner associations have ordinances and regulations that may regulate their building. Understanding your property’s zoning is also essential. Regulations vary from state to state and town to town, and most urban areas require a permit for a chicken coop. Obtaining a permit can be a lengthy process and has some costs, including review, zoning permit, and license fees. There are also license renewal fees, which vary from one town to another. To avoid potentially harsh consequences, it is crucial to do your homework to understand all regulations and ordinances regarding keeping chickens in your municipality. Check our article about getting a chicken coop permit if you need more information.
Selecting the Best Chicken Coop Design
Chicken coops provide a happy and healthy place your flock can call home. Whether you are an aspiring chicken grower or an old pro, knowing the different types of chicken coops is crucial to the chicken-rearing hobby. This is vitally important because different coops are designed to hold different capacities.
For the unacquainted, there are limitless ideas and coop designs — a chicken coop can be any shape or configuration imaginable. While you can easily find unusually elaborate chicken coops, most hen houses fall under the following types:
1. A-Frame Chicken Coop
Also known as Chicken Ark, an A-frame chicken coop is a small rectangular unit that keeps chickens confined. As the name suggests, it has two sharply sloping walls that meet off the ground, so the coop resembles the letter A. However, there is more to the chicken ark than its exterior.
Despite being small, A-frame chicken coops have a nesting box or two, roosting bar, and space for your chickens to move around. They are popular among beginner chicken growers and in cities where ordinances restrict chicken roaming.
A typical chicken ark is usually designed to host two to four chickens.
2. Chicken Tractor
A chicken tractor is a coop on wheels. The inspiration behind the design is the high level of functionality and movement they offer.
A chicken tractor can include a run or not, but the entire structure is usually lightweight for hassle-free moving. Because they are designed to be moved around, chicken tractors are also relatively compact. Grab bars, or wheelbarrow-like handles, are usually included on one end so you can lift and move the coop wherever and whenever needed.
3. Walk-in Chicken Coop
As the name suggests, walk-in chicken coops are hen houses designed with a large access door, so you can walk in. It can be built from scratch or repurposed as a backyard storage shed. The most exciting thing about walk-in chicken coops is that they are usually permanent structures, and you can go as big as you want.
Because there’s more room inside, you can add enrichment and accessories to create a more inviting environment for your flock.
4. All-in-one Chicken Coop
All-in-one chicken coops are elaborate and substantial hen houses with a walk-in coop (complete with nesting enough nesting boxes and roosting bars) and a sizable free range. They come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, so there is something for every flock.
No matter the size, an excellent all-in-one chicken coop should be easy to clean and save all time.
What Chicken Coop Size Do I need?
Most breeds of chickens require three to four square feet of coop space per bird. However, this only applies if the chickens have outdoor space to roam during the day.
If there is no outdoor space available or you plan to keep the chickens in the coop all the time, each chicken will need about eight to ten square feet of coop space. Providing your chickens with adequate space helps keep them happy and healthy, plus the coop won’t get smelly too fast. The ideal chicken coop size for your flock will depend on how many birds you intend to keep, the breed of the birds, and how you plan to raise them.
How much does it cost to build a chicken coop?
Building the coop is perfect if you love do-it-yourself projects and sustainable living. Plus, you can save hundreds of dollars by building your chicken coop instead of buying a commercially available one.
- DIY chicken coop from pallets
Wooden pallets offer a quick and easy way to construct a chicken coop. And pallets are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than some other options. Typically, a brand-new pallet costs between $9 and $12, meaning you might spend less than $100 to build a sizable coop. And, of course, you can often find free pallets, which will dramatically reduce your construction costs. Here is a complete guide on how to build a chicken coop from pallets.
If you buy lumber to build the coop, the type of wood you select will impact the overall cost. Softwood, such as pine, is a budget-friendly framing material and costs $2 to $3 per board foot, depending on quality. Pressure-treated lumber is popular because it’s rot-resistant and prevents insect infestation; it’s available for $7 to $10 per board foot on average.
Redwood or red cedar are great choices because they’re both naturally weather resistant, but they’re relatively expensive, costing about $10 to $12 per board foot.
The hardware that goes into your chicken coop depends on the design and size of the coop. To construct a typical coop, you can expect to spend about $20 to $50 on fasteners. Ensure that all the fasteners and hardware are rated for use outdoors.
Chicken coops do not necessarily need floors; the bare ground is acceptable. However, depending on where you live or where you are building your coop, a floor can help keep your birds safer from predators. Plus, floors are more accessible to sweep clean than bare ground.
Plywood is an excellent choice for flooring; it’s quick and easy to install and comes in large 4×8 ft. sheets. However, it tends to absorb odors and could be chewed through by some predators. If considering plywood, it costs about $10 to $20 per sheet. And pressure-treated plywood is much more weather resistant than untreated plywood. Protect plywood with two coats of exterior-grade polyurethane varnish applied to both sides. You can also install vinyl sheet flooring over a plywood floor. Sheet vinyl costs about $2 to $8 per square foot. Another option is to make the floor out of solid-wood boards, such as 2x6s or pressure-treated decking. Wooden flooring ranges from about $6 to $10 per board foot.
A concrete floor will be the best option if you live in a region where predators pose a severe threat. However, at around $110 per cubic foot poured, it’s also the most expensive type of coop floor.
Wire mesh fencing, commonly called chicken wire or poultry netting, is ideal for covering the walls of your chicken coop. It’s inexpensive and resistant to predators and the weather. A roll of good-quality 4-ft. x 50-ft. roll of chicken wire costs about $50. Depending on the size of your coop, you may need more than one roll.
Solid-wall options include plywood and corrugated metal. Each option costs roughly $10 to $20 per sheet. Covering part of the coop with a solid wall and the remaining walls with chicken wire creates two spaces for the chickens, one indoors and one outdoors.
Any roofing used on your home is suitable for a chicken coop, including asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or wood shingles. You could also use pressure-treated plywood. It all depends on your preference. Depending on the size of your coop, you can expect to spend about $70 to upwards of $200 on roofing.
- Chicken Run
Unless you intend to keep your chicken entirely indoors, you must provide a safe space for them to roam and explore. A chicken run is essentially an enclosed pen that provides a protected outdoor area.
Chicken runs are effortless to construct, requiring just a few posts, some chicken wire, and a roof. Depending on the design and size, you can expect to spend $100 to $300 to construct a chicken run.
- Garden tools: shovels, rakes, etc.
- Tape measure and pencil
- Post-hole digger
- Level and square
- Wire cutters
Please read our complete guide about the costs of building a chicken coop.
Understanding the Basics of Housing
Many chicken breeds are relatively hardy. However, they need somewhere to escape the elements and frigid weather when winter rolls around. They must also live safely in a clean environment with enough running space.
Here are some basic things you need to keep in mind when building your chicken coop:
1. Shelter from the weather
While it is true that chickens are hardy birds, protecting them from severe weather conditions is imperative. No matter the style of your coop, you want to shelter them from prevailing winds, rain, cold, and snow.
Building your chicken coop on high ground can help prevent flooding and mud issues, but higher areas are windier, which can drive rain inside. To create a comfortable environment for your chicken, try these tips:
- Build the shed on a level ground
- Sandbag the perimeter to keep water at bay
- Equip the interior of the coop with enough sleeping roosts for the chickens
- Provide a protected, roofed outdoor space for your flock to frolic in all types of weather
- Monitor temperature and humidity inside the coop, and add additional insulation, if necessary
Remember to maintain good coop ventilation to provide a safe and comfortable environment where your chickens are protected from the elements and harsh weather. Good ventilation will prevent stagnation of moisture, ultimately reducing the risk of frostbite, moldy bedding, and possible respiratory infections.
2. Protection from predators
One of the most important considerations when building your coop is how to protect your birds from the threat of predators. Coyotes, raccoons, fisher cats, foxes, bobcats, dogs, and snakes are some predators that pose the biggest threats to chickens. While most predators attack hens when foraging outdoors, some may take a more conventional approach and try to break into the coop through the door.
Raising the coop about 8 to 12 inches off the ground is advisable to protect your chickens from predators. Elevating the coop will help keep away most predators without limiting the chickens from walking underneath. This can also prevent wood rotting, ensuring longevity.
Whether you build your chicken coop on or off the ground, it is imperative to use sturdy wall materials and set it on a reinforced foundation to deter digging predators.
Regarding chicken coops, the main concerns are noise, odor, and flies. When choosing a spot for your coop, be considerate, as you don’t want yourself or your neighbors to be bothered by any of these annoyances.
Chickens also like to explore and look for a meal. When deciding where to build the coop, consider a location with natural foraging areas. Chickens eat nearly everything, ranging from grass, insects, plants, seeds, worms, and small rodents, so they will live happily in a space where they can forage.
4. Lighting and electricity
Whether or not to add artificial light to a chicken coop is a hot debate among flock keepers. Well, supplementing lighting in the chicken coop is practical and beneficial. However, before running electricity from your house to the chicken coop, you want to know the pros and cons of lighting up the chicken coop and maybe what type of lighting is best for your birds.
Lighting a coop can help your chickens stay warm during winter and keep egg production consistent. Adequate light helps you see everything when cleaning the coop or caring for your birds. However, there is a catch: Electricity in the chicken coop poses a fire risk. And, by forcing hens to continue laying eggs, supplemental lighting could be the root cause of health problems.
When choosing lights, most birdkeepers agree that red lights are best for chicken coops. Red light soothes your flock, and chickens won’t continue laying eggs because they do not perceive red light as daylight. As such, using red lights in your coop can help prevent issues resulting from overlaying chickens.
5. Water Hygiene
You, of course, have to provide a steady food supply for your chickens, but it’s equally essential always to have drinking water available. The water should be changed frequently to ensure it’s always clean and fresh. And in winter, a heater may be required to prevent the water from freezing.
Every living creature loves fresh air, including chickens! For this reason, every chicken coop, no matter the size, should be well-ventilated. Ventilating chicken coops allow heat, carbon dioxide, and ammonia fumes to flow out while permitting fresh air to flood the coop, ultimately helping ensure the health and happiness of your feathered friends.
Chickens need indoor ambient air temperature of 68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ventilating their home will ensure they feel comfortable all day and night.
It’s worth noting that chicken coops need much less ventilation during colder months. In hotter climates, much ventilation is needed to cool the coop’s interior — chickens handle cold better than heat. Coops with organic bedding also need more ventilation than those with inorganic bedding.
Cleaning your chicken coop is one of the essential maintenance practices. Generally, if your chickens spend most of their time outside, you won’t do as much cleaning as you would if they stayed entirely indoors.
Keeping your coop clean can go a long way to reducing the chances of your birds getting diseases. Depending on the size of your flock, you may want to consider a daily coop cleaning routine, then thorough cleaning weekly.
To make cleaning more manageable, you may also want to consider these tips:
- Invest in a droppings board
- Install removable roosts
- Use inorganic bedding, preferably plenty of sand.
- Staple empty feed bags on the walls – removing and replacing them is more accessible than scraping poop off walls
Cleaning the chicken coop gives your birds a clean, comfortable environment and helps with moisture control, helping ensure your chickens grow happily and healthily.
8. Temperature control
Stress in chickens due to less-than-ideal coop temperatures is one of the problems many breeders have to deal with. That’s why it is vital to commit to managing the temperatures of your coop. So, how do you control coop temperature?
Depending on the breed you are keeping, you need to understand what temperature is too hot or too cold, then find ways of keeping your chickens in ideal temperatures.
The optimal temperatures for most chicken breeds are 68°F to 80°F. For every drop by one degree Fahrenheit, it is advisable to feed each bird 1.5 grams daily of added protein. When the temperatures drop too low, you may consider using a UL-approved chicken coop heater.
If you live in a region with wide temperature swings, from very cold to hot, it’s advisable to build a coop whose design is optimized for temperature control and insulate it as needed. While the food you give your chickens can help them stay at ideal temperatures, you want to make them comfortable and healthy. Most expert breeders advocate for natural methods when controlling chicken coop temperatures.
9. Nesting Boxes
Nesting boxes are one of the most crucial chicken coop components. They offer a place for your hens to lay eggs. And while chickens are not particular about where they lay eggs (they can and do lay where they feel secure), having nesting boxes can encourage them to lay eggs in a safe and clean environment. What’s more, they make egg harvesting super easy when built correctly. This is vital, considering no one wants to hunt for eggs, except perhaps at Easter.
When building your chicken coop, you want to include enough boxes for the flock you want to keep and make them attractive to hens. Precisely, you want to ensure they are:
Notably, even though hens need plenty of light to maintain peak egg production, the nesting boxes have to be placed in a relatively dark and not too busy area. Otherwise, the hens won’t use it.
The number of boxes you need will depend on your flock, and it is recommended to have one for every 3-5 birds. Please, read our complete guide about how to build a chicken nesting box for more information.
10. Feeding and Watering Systems
It is a no-brainer that chickens need access to food and water to stay healthy and happy. Most importantly, your chickens need a steady, balanced diet and water supply to maintain optimal egg production. For this reason, it is vital to determine where to place your feeders and waterers when building your chicken coop.
Moreover, whether you are a novice chicken grower or a seasoned pro, you can reduce waste with automatic chicken feeding and watering systems. Building yourself spill- and mess-resistant feeders and waterers is one of the easiest ways to avoid tipped feeders and soiled waterers.
Talking about placement, it is advisable to place your feeders and waterers inside the aviary, not the coop or outside. Inside the coop, your feeding and watering systems can quickly get messy, while outside, food can be rained on and form mold. Outside chicken feed can also attract rodents and predators, threatening your birds. In the long run, building automatic feeders and waterers and strategically placing them will give your flock easy access to feed and water and help you save time as you enjoy the excellent antics and eggs.
Find more great tips and tricks by reading our complete chicken housing guide.
Chicken Breed Specific Requirements
There are many reasons why anyone would want to raise chickens. Whether you consider chicken rearing a hobby or part of sustainable living, knowing the specific needs of the breed you are considering before bringing any birds home is imperative. This is vitally important because raising chickens can be a long-term commitment.
Each chicken breed has unique characteristics make it best suited for egg production, meat, or an exhibition. Depending on why you want to raise poultry, here are general requirements for each category and breeds best suited for that purpose:
1. Egg Production Breeds
Breeds: Brahmas, buttercups, Ameraucana, anconas, Cochins, Campines, Hamburg, Leghorn, Minorca, Polish-Bearded and Non-Bearded, and Welsummers.
While all hens will lay eggs, their egg production will vary. Surprisingly, the best layers usually have relatively smaller bodies.
Egg colors will also vary between breeds, with white and shades of brown being the common egg colors.
Regarding nutrition requirements, chicks need a diet that aids rapid growth and feather development. When mature, layers need extra calcium in their feed to support shell development. On average, hens lay one egg every 26 hours, but there are days when a hen will not lay an egg at all.
2. Meat Production Breeds
Breeds: Cornish and New Hampshire Red
Chickens bred for meat production have two characteristics in common: They grow faster and are poor egg layers. To support their faster growth rate, their diet should be rich in proteins and require a more significant amount of feed than layers.
3. Dual Purpose Hens
Breeds: Buckeye, Delawares, Dorkings-Single Comb, Jersey Giants, Maran, Orpington, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Reds, and Sussex.
Dual-purpose breeds are excellent layers that grow big enough for meat production. Unlike meat birds, dual-purpose hens have lower protein requirements and will grow large enough for meat over time. However, they grow slower than chickens solely raised for meat.
4. Chickens for Shows and Exhibitions
Breeds: Dominiques, Faverolles, RedCaps, Shamos, and Wyandottes
Some chicken breeds have attractive traits, making them almost exclusively exhibition birds. Breeds in this category are usually bred for their appearance and can be found in various colors. Some breeds may have unique features specific to them. For instance, the Faverolles have five toes, a characteristic that would pique any passionate chicken grower.
If you are new to chicken rearing and are choosing what breed to keep, you will also want to decide on an ideal chicken temperament. While individual bird behavior is unpredictable, some breeds are known to be docile, while others have a reputation for being nervous and occasionally aggressive. Generally, breeds raised for commercial egg-laying and meat production are best left to experienced chicken growers.
For novice backyard chicken growers and families with young children, it is best to adopt docile breeds like Orpington, wyandotte, and Plymouth Rock. Whatever your goal for raising chickens, the idea is to choose a breed whose temperament is compatible with your family. The only way to know the right breed is by gathering as much information as possible.
Building a chicken coop can save you a lot of money. Thankfully, you don’t need any special skills. You can easily build a good home for your flock with basic woodworking skills. All you need is a detailed chicken coop plan. Depending on the number of birds you want to keep, grab a plan and start building your chicken coop today!