See How To Build A Chicken Coop Like A True DIYer

Raising chickens can be a lot of fun, right? Not only that, but you can enjoy fresh eggs daily or even get your kids in contact with nature. Of course, when you’re going to raise chickens, you’ll need a place to house them, and here comes the DIY chicken coop!

a woman gathering fresh eggs into basket at hen farm in countryside

To keep your feathered friends warm and safe, you can either find a pre-built coop kit or build your own. You can also use an old dog house or garden room and renovate it. Building a chicken coop is a simple weekend woodworking project, needing only some basics for the material list. Feeling ready to put together a home for your new fowl? Follow our step-by-step instructions and host your ‘’breakfast club’’.

Chicken coop plans

Before you start building the chicken house, there are some DIY chicken coop plans you should make. The goal is to keep chickens safe and happy and make a coop that will be strong and beautiful. Here’s all you need to know.

Location of the coop

The coop’s location on your property is essential to consider in order to maintain coop hygiene and protect your birds. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  1. Build the hen house on high ground to avoid flooding or any buildup of moisture and water.
  2. Build it relatively close to your home or in a highly trafficked area of your yard to deter any unwanted predators. 
  3. Choose a space to build away from lots of foliage that can shelter predators to keep your backyard flock safe.
  4. If possible, place it underneath a large tree to offer shade in the summer and keep your hens from overheating.
  5. Try not to place the coop directly in the shade since sunlight encourages egg-laying. Alternatively, you may use warm yellow light inside your coop to increase egg production.

Coop size

The ideal size of the coop changes drastically, depending on its type and how many chickens you have. Here are some of the most common types of chicken coops:

  1. Chicken coop without an outdoor pen: This is the most basic coop type, consisting only of the indoor structure. The chickens will stay inside the coop until someone lets them out, allowing at least 0.5 square metres per chicken.
  2. Outdoor chicken run: This coop is a bit more challenging to build than the simple one, but it will allow chickens more space and the option of being outside. Allow 0.2 square metres per chicken for the coop and at least 0.4 square metres for the outside chicken run.
  3. Winter only coop: You can use this coop to keep chickens inside during the winter months. Allow 1 square metre per chicken.
  4. Keep in mind that egg-laying hens will also require a nesting area, as well as a roosting one of 15 to 25 cm per chicken. Roosts should be at least 0.5 m off the ground to keep them dry during wet weather.

Overcrowding in a chicken hutch can lead to many issues among a backyard flock. For example, it typically causes chickens to fight more and a faster buildup of bacteria and faecal matter, meaning more parasites of insects entering the coop and making your birds sick.

Industrial chicken hen for egg production. chicken overcrowded

Predator protection

One of the most important things you need to consider for your coop design is how to secure your flock from the threat of predators. Some of them could be coyotes, raccoons, fisher cats, dogs, and snakes. To keep your chickens safe, raise the coop high enough from the ground. Otherwise, use a dirt floor with wire underneath. 

To make sure no predator will come through the coop door, secure latches on all windows and doors. Finally, cover any openings in the coop with hardware cloth. This is a wire mesh made of a stronger gauge metal than chicken wire

Step-by-step guide: How to build a chicken coop

You are now ready to build your DIY chicken coop. Below you will find a know-how tutorial to help you make one and keep your hens safe in your garden.

Step 1: Make the proper measurements

This simple chicken coop is 1.2 m by 1.8 m. If you need less or more space, you can scale the measurements accordingly. To make your coop, you should use plywood, but if you can find reclaimed wood and pallets, you can bring the costs down. It’s generally better to use any wood than PVC or metal.

Chickens and roosters on the farm in the evening light

Step 2: Make a frame and build the floor

  1. To make building and cleaning as easy as possible, start with a piece of plywood or pallet cut to the ideal size (in this case, 1.2 m by 1.8 m). Be sure that the plywood is between 1.3 cm and 0.6 cm thick.
  2. To cut the plywood yourself, use a straight edge and a pen to make lines before you cut.
  3. Keep the floor sturdy, putting screws around the bottom perimeter. For extra security, screw 1 across the floor’s middle. Use a long pipe clamp to ensure a tight joint on the corners.

Step 3: Build the solid wall

This wall is the only one that will not have an opening and is the easiest to build. 

  1. Use a piece of plywood that is 1.8 m long and 1.3 cm thick
  2. Screw nails to the vertical edges’ underside. The screws should stop 10.2 cm from the plywood’s bottom.

Step 4: Connect the floor to the wall

Place the wall you just made on the floor so that the extra 10.2 cm of plywood covers the screws on the floor’s underside. Then, use 1.3 cm nails, your screwdriver and construction glue to secure the wall in place.

Step 5: Make the front panel

  1. Use 2.5 and 1.2 cm screws and construction glue to attach a 1.2 m long, 1.3 cm thick piece of plywood to the coop’s front
  2. Screw the plywood into the nails on the coop’s bottom and the other ones on the solid sidewall
  3. Cut the door opening using a jigsaw. It should be 0.6 to 0.9 m wide. Cut its height according to your preferences, but keep in mind that you should leave 15 to 25 cm between the door’s edges and the plywood panel’s top and bottom.
  4. After you are done, reinforce the chicken door’s top using a piece of scrap wood about 50 cm long and thick enough to attach using plenty of screws and glue.

Beautiful grown healthy rooster walking in rural yard. White hen standing in coop door or entering chicken coop.

Step 6: Build the back wall

  1. Attach the second 1.2 m piece of plywood to the coop’s back using the same method you did for the front panel. 
  2. Cut and reinforce the door opening, as you did for the front.

Step 7: Construct the last wall

To construct the last wall, you’ll need 3 smaller pieces of plywood. 

  1. Cut two 0.6 m long plywood pieces and one 1.2 to 1.5 m long plywood piece that is 1/2 as wide as your coop is tall. 
  2. Attach a piece of plywood to the underside of one of the vertical edges of a 0.6 m long plywood piece. 
  3. Repeat this step on the second piece of plywood.
  4. For the other side, keep the small panel stop 10.2 cm from the plywood’s bottom to allow it to hang down over the floor’s underside plywood.

Step 8: Attach the wall

  1. Screw one 0.6 m long panel directly next to the coop’s front and the other directly next to the back
  2. Attach the longer panel between the 0.6 m long panels. You should line the edge up with the tops of the 0.6 m panels so that the opening is near the floor.
  3. Reinforce the middle panel by attaching 2 pieces of scrap wood where the board joins with the 2 side panels. The scrap wood should be as long (vertically) as your middle panel.

Step 9: Start building the roof by cutting out your gables

A gable is a triangular wood piece that sits on the coop’s top front and back walls, supporting the roof. 

  1. Both gables should be 1.2 m long. With a jigsaw, cut the gables out of a 1.9 cm thick oriented strand board.
  2. Determine the exact pitch of the roof using an angle finder. If you don’t have one, you can also eyeball it; just make sure it’s the same for both gables.
  3. Notch the gables where you reinforced the openings. You can make exactly the same cut on both gables if the wood you used for the front is the same size as the back. If you used scrap wood, you’ll need to make unique cuts for each gable.

Henhouse with reed roof in the village

Step 10: Screw on the gables

Place the front gable against the front wall’s inside and attach it using screws and construction glue. Repeat the process for the back gable.

Step 11: Build a truss

The truss supports the middle of the roof. 

  1. Ensure that the truss’s angle matches the gables’ angle, clamping two panels to the diagonal edges of one of the gables. 
  2. Cut a crosstie from 0.6 cm thick plywood to strengthen your truss. Cut it to the exact measurements as the gable, and then screw it to your panels.

Step 12: Notch the truss

  1. When you’ve screwed the crosstie to the panels, you can remove the clamps
  2. Rest the truss in the coop’s middle and mark where the side walls intersect the panels of the truss. 
  3. Make a 1.3 cm notch in the wood where you put each mark.

Step 13: Make and attach the roof

  1. Join two 1 m by 2 m pieces of plywood with some inexpensive hinges to make your roof. Join them along the 2 m sides so that the roof will cover the entire chicken coop.
  2. Place the roof on the coop’s top. Make sure that there is an overhang at both of the coop’s front and back. 
  3. Screw two panels to the bottom edge of the front and back overhangs to prevent structural failures.
  4. Screw the roof to your truss and gables. 
  5. Add a rooftop cap to keep it weather-proof, covering it with a layer of tar paper and galvanised roofing.

Step 14: Attach the doors

  1. Cut the wood for the doors using a well finished medium-density fiberboard. The pieces’ size will depend on the chosen height of your own chicken coop. Keep in mind that each entry should be as tall and half as wide as the coop’s door opening.
  2. Install a door frame, screwing a panel along each side of each door opening and the tops.
  3. Attach the front doors, screwing in 2 hinges per door.
  4. Repeat the same process for the other 2 openings. Just remember to take new measurements for the side coop doors.
  5. Add closures as brass hook catches.

Step 15: Raise the chicken coop(not necessary)

  1. Add legs to raise your chicken coop and keep it safe from predators. 
  2. Add a ladder that will offer easy access to the chickens while still being too narrow for predators. 
  3. If you have a small chicken coop, you can also add wheels to it and make it a chicken tractor. If you don’t know yet, this is a portable chicken coop that you can move easily around your yard.

free range chickens by coop, chicken tractor with snow on the ground

Extra features to make the best chicken coop

Looking for some chicken coop ideas to make your hens’ home inviting for them to live and give you fresh eggs? Here are our top DIY chicken coop plans and ideas to follow.

Set up a fencing system

Chickens of free-range love to wander just like an outside cat. The last thing you want is your chickens walking across the road or ending up in the neighbours’ garden. To keep your feathered friends safe, set up fencing or chicken wire.

Include a perch area and roosting bar

Have you noticed that chickens tend to sleep perched? Make them feel more comfortable by offering them space! Add extra space for the roosts to relax with a roosting bar.

Add nesting boxes

A nesting area is necessary for the hens to lay their eggs safely. Keep your nest boxes at least 10 cm deep to keep them protected. Also, make it large enough so they can lay as many eggs as they can.

Include bedding material

The most common bedding material for chicken coops is straw since it’s absorbent, affordable, and soft. You may also use chips or wood shavings. You can use the bedding to layer the coop’s floor and possibly the nesting boxes. The bedding should also be absorbent to soak in the waste, meaning you don’t have to clean the coop that often. 

Add drinkers and feeders

These items are essential to the coop. You can choose the size of the waterer and feeder depending if you have a large chicken coop or a little coop. You can place these either inside or outside the chicken house.

Add additional items

You can add extra fun for your chickens using additional items like:

  • Sand tubs for dust bathing
  • Chicken toys
  • Treat bowls
  • Wading water tubs

Free range chicken drinking from a wooden tub
When you’re building your backyard chicken coop, remember; chickens don’t care if its corners aren’t square or it is not the prettiest building in the neighbourhood– the goal is to be draft-free, dry, and keep them safe and warm. So, be careful to follow our instructions while completing your project. Of course, you may add extra features and colours to make the coop look fantastic in your yard. Just remember, chickens are like potato chips; you can’t just have one. So, you chicken keepers should consider making your chicken coop a bit larger than you need, or even make a second one soon!

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend