Making A Cheap Chicken Coop

We had wanted a new coop for years.  But, as you know, there are just so many projects to be done on a homestead–and so little time.  The current chicken home had been working “just fine” for the last 40 years, so constructing a new one just kept getting put off.

We kept looking at the cost of obtaining a new one and couldn’t justify it.  The ones for sale weren’t nearly big enough for the flock, and by the time we built one, we wouldn’t have time to do much of anything else that year.

We finally put it on the calender as one of the only two big projects that would get done in 2014.

When it was all said and done, we bought two pieces of plywood and a window, and there are currently enough nesting boxes for 48 hens.

Here’s how we did it…

 

We knew that we wanted a raised coop to offer the chickens some protection. So we took four green treated posts from an old horse training round pen that hasn’t been used in 15 years.  These became the four corner posts–they got buried a couple of feet down.  Then we framed it out with corral wood left over from an old corral project, that we weren’t going to use for anything else.

We used some 2 x 6’s that we took from an old fallen-down house for the studs in the walls.

Some pieces of 2 x 10’s that we took off an old corral two years ago were still stacked up, so we used those for the floor.  Very rustic 🙂 .  We knew that we’d have to line the floor with something since these very old boards were worn, and there were holes in the floor.  It can get between -20 and -30 degrees here in the winter, so we knew we’d have to do better.

We decided on some old paneling we tore out of the house last year.  We laid it in the same direction we would be shovel/scraping so the shovel wouldn’t catch on any of the grooves.

The 12 hen boxes on the sides are made from the two sheets of plywood.

On one of our quarterly shopping trips, we stopped by a yard sale on a whim. The guy told us we could have a brand new 48 x 42 lockable screen window and an electric cord for $40.  We couldn’t have bought just one small window for that–so we were definitely excited.  It pretty much fit the exact proportion of the wall on the west side.  Since we were planning to spend $100 on the cord anyway, we figure we saved $60 and got a free window out of the deal–which nearly covered the costs of the plywood.

For the door on the east side, we took a solid wood door from our stack of old doors and cut it down just a bit.

The roost is simply made of some branches we got while cutting firewood.

While we were still trying to figure out how to make walls, a neighbor drove in and said he had extra cedar siding (seriously) that he would trade us for the corral wood we hadn’t used.  It was a great barter.

The plank was made of wood scraps, and finally, we had enough metal roofing left over from four years ago from when we re-did our roof.  So it even matches our house.  How lucky did we get?

I’d say incredibly.

 

All told, we figure we are into this project about $20.

See how we built this chicken coup for nearly free.

How do you keep expenses down with your animal shelters?

 

20 Comments

  1. Twenty dollars is an amazing price for that coop! What a good idea to re-use materials and save money. The coop looks very nice also. 🙂

  2. Wow! That is some impressive work! The coop is beautiful (I love the walkway) but I’m really impressed with your resourcefulness. I bet you have some happy chickens!

    • I think they are happy? It’s better than where they were roosting before, only now there aren’t trucks full of quinoa and wheat in with them anymore. They haven’t told me, but I think they’re kinda bummed about that part.
      Never throw away anything on a homestead, right?

  3. That is an impressive coop! Our chickens don’t get nearly as fancy accommodations… but our temperatures are a LOT kinder, so all works out.

    We ended up buying a large garden shed for our chickens (currently only numbering 4). It was quick and easy (which we needed at the time) but cost us a lot more than your mansion there;)
    Thank you for sharing… making do is a lot of fun… even when it’s out of necessity.

    • I bet your garden shed looks pretty.
      It was kinda fun, but mostly stressful because we were worried for awhile it wouldn’t have any sides. We’re so glad it worked out though. My husband calls it the “Cluck-do-minium.” He really wanted the title of this post to be “The makings of the Cluckdominium.” But he got veto’d 🙂 .

  4. I don’t think luck had a thing to do with it. It’s that old homesteading mentality that got you that $20 coop! Love it when the stars line up in our favor!

  5. I love using scraps, freebies and frugal finds to house our animals. Our current chicken coop is made from the wooden container a huge machine at my husband’s work came in and the pig pen is fenced in with pallets also from his work.

    • Thanks for the pig-pen ideas Rose. We are looking forward to having pigs again, and I’m trying to think of ways to redo that fence (since we’ve scrapped most of the old one). Nice work!

  6. What a great chicken coop. Ours was built around an old dairy so the laying boxes and nesting side are all on concrete. The whole pen is meshed in both sides and top. We didn’t do too much to it when we moved here just added more laying boxes and put in some posts to support the roof where it was sagging. But I must say it doesn’t look as nice as yours. Thanks for sharing how you went about this. Blessings

    • We had two before this. One was a tiny coup under the Russian Olive trees (no protection), and then just 15 manufactured chicken boxes in a barn. It was sheer joy to barter them away…
      We joked the whole time we were building this that we were going to have the ugliest chicken coup ever. Until the siding magically appeared–what a blessing!
      With concrete floors though, you probably have an easy clean-up, right? Yours sounds like it has good protection. I want an extending mesh “roof” over the front run for when we have babies next spring.

  7. This looks like a great coop! I particularly like the windows. We have just built a coop for our first ever chickens using scrap wood that was around the place when we bought it. We spent a wee bit on some corrugated plastic for the roof, but other than that, free 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  8. I love projects like that!
    Great looking coop.
    Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop!

  9. We are finishing up a very nice-size coop, mostly built from left-overs and freebies, as well. We are $60 in, since we had to buy screws and plywood. My hubby is amazing!

  10. Oh wow, what a great chicken coop, and for $20 bucks, you guys made a killing on it just in what you saved! As for us and how we keep costs down, it’s funny that I ever read this today. I spent the morning taking apart our chicken coop (it’s an 8×12 room, really). I took down the 8 or 9 nesting boxes since we only have 5 chickens (so far), and reused some of the wood for other jobs I wanted to do in the coop, and set aside the rest for other uses (like maybe a raised herb garden bed). One of the pieces of wood became a wind break because the coop has only 3 walls and an open front. Some of the nesting boxes became a storage area. It’s fun to try to figure out how to use all the wood.

    • It sounds like you made good use of all that wood.
      Chickens are funny, aren’t they? At one point, we were down to four layers. Even though there are 12 nesting boxes, they would all wait in line to use the same one or two 🙂 . I think you made a good call on getting rid of some boxes with a flock of 5.
      Blessings,

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