View Full Version : Chicken coop

04-10-2009, 01:22 PM
I have searched the web and am at a lose for directions and materials list on how to build a coop. Does anyone have any directions or does Patti have an archived DIY on building a urban coop (already saw the tractor video)? I live in Eugene OR and we're still in the 35-40 degree at night. The chicks will be set out into the yard in about 3 more weeks. So I have three weeks to get something built (need to protect them from nocturnal:confused critters).:confused:

04-11-2009, 12:27 AM
There might be some coop plans down in the livestock category but I did a quick search for some more. I went to google and typed "chicken coop plans" and got a lot of results. The first three listed are pretty good and some of them have material lists. Also if you go to Fred's site he has a video of his moveable coop and I believe you can buy his plans too if you like them. Hope that helps!

04-11-2009, 09:20 AM
I researched chicken coops and found lots of plans and pics online. I also read alot about what features that people wanted and built into their coops. Then I designed a coop with everything that I thought (and what others suggested) included into the coop LOL I figured that I wanted to only build once and not have any regrets later about not including something.

My coop is 6'x10' and the chicken run attached is 10'x16'. Here's a graphic that I posted on my blog:


Here's a link to the page on my blog with pics of the coop (outside and inside). The run hasn't been completed yet in these pics -- we're working on it now and should have it finished up this weekend.

My coop has lots of windows for ventilation (covered by hardware cloth) since it is so hot down here in the summer. Also, the window on the rear side of the coop may get a fan installed to blow in cooler air from under the magnolia tree to help cool the coop down in July and August. It's just amazing how much cooler the air is under the magnolia tree. The magnolia tree is right behind the coop -- actually some of the branches of the tree go over the top of the coop.

Also, I wanted to be able to collect the eggs without going into the coop -- so the nest boxes will have access doors on the outside of the coop. We haven't built the nest boxes yet (as recommended by other chicken owners) because we don't want the chicks to get into the habit of sleeping and pooping in them. When we get the first eggs then we'll install the nest boxes. Oh, always put a "roof" on the nest boxes -- I never understood why people would put a "roof" on the nest boxes inside the coop. Well, the angle of this "roof" prevents the chickens from roosting and pooping up there...

I hope that you can get some ideas from my coop to use. It's working out really well for my chickens -- they love it. They've been locked up in there for a week or two now so they will know that it is their home now. Make sure you do that before you turn them loose in their attached run. Then they will go "home" at night to sleep :D

My chickens will not be free-ranging -- they will either be in their coop or in their run because I have dogs in my backyard that would love playing with a squawking chicken. Also we have alot of woods and critters that surround us too. So we had to make sure to build the coop preditor proof.

Post when you get your plans drawn up and post so that we can see your coop!

Fred's Fine Fowl
04-11-2009, 10:22 AM
I think this would be a good time/place to mention efficient use of materials in any small structure design.. or large for that matter.

I couldn't help but but notice the dimensions... building materials are pretty standard. Weather you use T-111 siding/sheathing, OSB, or Plywood, they come in 4 x 8 foot sheets with varying thickness.

I've built houses, barns and coops of all sizes. I figure, if I'm buying 4 x 8 stock, why would the building be 6' or 10' rather than 8 x 12, making maximum use of the materials? Also, studs used in rafters, ridge and fascia also generally come in 8,10,12 foot lengths. Building an odd size results in wasted materials and unnecessary cuts.

I'm just putting this out there, for those of you still in the planning stages of your coops and out-buildings. When working out the dimensions, just consider the sizes that materials you will be using already come in.

Next are the runs... some people may not free range their birds and if you are not using your chickens as Patti does, rotating them from one raised bed to another, then they will use up their ground quickly. The result is a dirt pen/run. One solution, is to have two hen doors in your coop and a separate run associated with each door. This would allow you to open to the run that is in the best condition, while the other run produces new growth.

If they are to be confined in these runs, try to give them the maximum outdoor space you can. And keep population densities balanced based on how quickly they defoliate the outdoor environment.

There is a fantastic idea book regarding chicken coop design. The Big Book of Chicken Coops... (see link at bottom) This book should get the creative juices going. You'll be limited only by your handy skills and budget. It's not so much a "plan" book as it is an "idea" book.

There is even a design involving stacked fire wood, or straw bale. Some use recycled materials only and make a statement with their frugality. Others go to the far size of whimsy.

I hope everyone posts their photos of finished projects, sharing successes and possible failures or lessons learned. There is more than one way to build a chicken coop!

Wishing you all well...



Fred's Fine Fowl
04-11-2009, 10:38 AM
I'm sorry I haven't visited your blog sooner...

one thing I can answer for you straight away.. yes, that's normal feathering for that little Rhode Island Red... juvenile feathering in the red has a pattern.

Looks like a utility strain of Rhode Island Red though... but should lay well for you.

The next thing I wanted to comment on is the straw/hay bedding you are using on the floor of your coop. I would say that 15 out of 17 chicken folks I've visited who were having respiratory problems with their chickens, had straw or hay on the floor of the coops. This material feels nice and what smells better than hay? Also chickens nip at the hay and get some greens in the off season... that's where the benefits end.

The straw/hay will mat down and also is prone to mold. Watch the streams of sunlight coming in through your windows... see all those particles? People and chickens often develop respiratory issues from exposure to straw dust.

This material is also low on the absorbent materials scale... pine shavings would be my number one choice... highly absorbent, odor eating and great for compost or garden amendment after you remove it.

Love the coop... I'll be curious to see how many of your chickens compete for the top rung of that roost set up ("> You will see, depending on how high they sit there, the peck order of your flock... literally the higher ups, will be "higher-up". Some put all perches at the same height, over the droppings pit in your case, to eliminate perch competition. I personally like the ladder system also and don't have a dropping's pit.

Nice blog, nicely painted coop... have fun!



04-12-2009, 11:00 PM
Hi Fred! I am so glad that you visited my blog and took a look around at the coop and my chickens! I really value your opinion -- you're the chicken guru :-) for me.

For the bedding inside the coop, I have the pine shavings on bottom and the hay on top. I was afraid that they would want to try and eat the pine shavings so that's why I put the hay on top. I've found that they love to dig a whole in the hay and get down into the pine shavings to lay down. It's about time to remove the first layer of hay so I will probably not replace it. I will add more pine shavings on top. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I definitely don't want my chickens to end up sick...

Fred, You are so right about the size of the coop! If I had to do it over again, we'd go with size in increments that plywood sheets come in (4'x8'). This would be easier all around and there would be so much less cutting! And keep the numbers even so that your studs will be on 2' centers.