wikiHow to Build a Simple Chicken Coop

Building a backyard chicken coop will allow you to harvest organic eggs, raise chickens for meat, recycle your food scraps and develop high-quality fertilizer from chicken droppings. With a little work, it's easier than you may think! Read below the jump for the simple steps involved in building a chicken coop at home.


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    Set goals. Develop a plan for your chicken coop based on current or future needs. Ask yourself how many chickens you plan to keep, how much space you have, and for what purpose you're keeping chickens. Your answers to these questions will affect how you build your coop.
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    Develop a plan. You can purchase chicken coop plans, or create one of your own. Here's a list of basic design considerations for most coops:
    • Height. Most chicken coops are raised two or three feet off the ground. Increased height makes the chickens less accessible to predators. Having your coop too close to the ground could also provide space for rodents to nest.
    • Insulation. Depending on where you live, your coop might require more or less insulation from the outside elements. Select your materials based on how much protection from the elements your chickens will require.
    • Ventilation. Because your chickens will be eliminating inside the coop, you'll need to keep air flowing through it. Most vents consist of hinged flaps on the sides of the coop that are propped up, with the openings covered with chicken wire.
    • Food and water. Your chickens will need access to food and clean water inside the coop, away from the litter. The system you use for this can be simple or elaborate depending on your needs.
    • Perches. Perches inside the coop will provide a place for your chickens to roost at night. Remember that chickens prefer to sleep on a perch, and that the perches need to be far enough apart that the chickens won't be in full contact with each other.
    • Litter. Because chickens don't control their eliminations, you'll need to provide some sort of litter beneath the perches such as straw or wood shavings. Having the waste attached to filler will make the coop easier to clean; additionally, used litter can make excellent fertilizer.
    • Nest boxes. Your nest box should be a small, shallow space where your chickens can lay eggs. Avoid making it too spacious or comfortable, so that the chickens aren't encouraged to stay there for too long. Some coops are designed such that the eggs from the nest box can be accessed via a small door on the outside of the coop.
    • Ramp. To exit the elevated coop, your chickens will need a small ramp going down to the yard. Paint the ramp with a mixture of sand and paint to make it less slippery, and add cross strips (like frets on a guitar) for the chickens to use like little steps. If your ramp does not go into an enclosed yard, you'll want to be able to close it up at night to keep the chickens safe in the coop.
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    Assemble materials and tools. At a minimum, you'll need wood or plywood in several sizes, nails, chicken wire, hinges, screws and litter. If you're building a more complicated coop, you'll need more varied materials. Additionally, you'll need a measuring tape, sander, power saw, hammer, drill, workbench, face mask and leather gloves. You might be able to purchase these items from second-hand shops.
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    Start building. When you're constructing the coop, try to build methodically so that you don't have to go back and fix mistakes.
    • Join the bottom frames first, then the side frames and supporting frames. In assembling the frames, where they are to be joined, use wood glue to hold them in place and drill very small pilot holes for the nails. To ensure that the nails go in straight, drill pilot holes. Better yet, use a miter joint or end lap joint. The lap joint and the miter joint are the two most common joints you need to use in building your chicken coop to ensure stability and sturdiness of your project.
    • Put on the sidings (plywood and/or chicken wire) and the roofing material of the chicken coop when the frame is ready. Make sure that you double the length of the wood supports and the size when increasing the size or dimensions of your chicken coop. For example, from a 25mm x 25mm x 2m wood, increase it to 50mm x 50mm x 3m, to ensure that the frame is strong and sturdy!
    • Add the windows and doors. The windows and doors should be the last ones you should work on.
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    Inspect your work. As soon as everything is finished, do a once-over inspection and plug all seams and joints with insulation material to prevent cold air from entering your flock's new house. You can also paint the chicken coop in any color you like to match the overall character of your home.
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  • Plan for expansion. Consider building your coop slightly larger than what you currently need in case you do decide to raise more chickens.
  • When introducing smaller chicks to a coop of chickens, make sure they have a safe, enclosed place out in the yard that is accessible by small holes cut into chicken wire. Make sure they have food in this area.
  • Some people find that specialty water dishes for dogs and cats work well in chicken coops, particularly models that are attached to hoses to provide a constant source of clean water.
  • Consider building a chicken tractor.


  • Make sure it is safe from predators.
  • Exercise extreme caution when working with power tools.

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Categories: Chickens