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Trictle's Chicken Coop With Plans


Attached is the design and construction of my small chicken coop.  It is based off of the recommendations given in Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens.  It is intended to house four, heavy egg layers.  I am attempting to provide year round comfort without the need of, or the worry of needing, supplemental heat during winter in the foothills of the Cascade Moutain range of the Pacific Northwest. You will find that some, small license has been taken in the actual construction as compared to the plans but on the whole it remains true to the framing plan.  I want to thank both silkienewbiegurl and Msbear for their coop designs as they were very inspirational for the design of mine.

It is a small coop, 4x4 ft giving 32 sq/ft of confined space between the coop proper and the lower, covered pen.  It is constructed using 2x3 framing and accommodates an r-13, batt insulation (its a little compressed so likely it's more like r-11).  The ridge beam, floor joists and platform brackets are all 2x4.  The platform legs are 4x4 cedar for rot resistance as they are in contact with the ground.  It is designed so that the roof and the house and the base all separate from one another for deep cleaning.  Thus, the need for the beefy gable ends was important as they, in addition to the seat cuts of the rafter, largely support the roof.  The nesting box design changed during construction and is actually a top hinged lid with a pitched roof.

First, the framing plans, as from these you can adapt the exterior trim to look as cute or as utilitarian as you like.

 coop  coop ii

 Here are two overviews of the the framed, whole.


This is an overview of the whole thing laid flat so you can orient yourself to the following framing plans.

West wall

Here is the west wall

east wall


and the east wall

north wall

and the North wall.  This is the nesting box wall which accounts for the additional framing in order to support the weight of the box hanging off of the outside. The gable end framing between the two support "rafters" is open to interpretation depending on what you choose for a gable end vent.  You'll just have to modify the framing to suit your idea.  I just used a store-bought vent from Home Depot and framed it in based on those dimensions.

south wall

The south wall has an additional piece of framing below the window to support the weight of the flower box.


This is the roof.  It is a 10:12 pitch roof but you can modify it to suit your own design aesthetic.  I used a framing square and rafter table and so the lengths shown, beyond the total width of the structure, aren't really meaningful.  The fly rafter lengths are important because they support the large overhangs at each gable end.  We get a lot of rain here in the Pacific NW so that was a necessary element but you might not need to worry about that in your climate and thus can shorten or eliminate them.

mobile base

The base platform is the floor of the coop and has a hole in the floor to allow the birds to enter/exit along an inclined ramp.  The hole is sized on the spacing of the joists.


This is upside down for clarity.  The base uses 4x4 cedar for rot resistance.  The joists are hung on joist hangers and the braces make for a very stable base.  The whole thing will be enclosed with chicken wire to form a small but secure pen for the mornings and evenings: effectively doubling the available space of the coop from 16sq/ft to 32sq/ft (4, insulated sq/ft per chicken or 8sq/ft total if counting the pen), based on Storey's recommendation.

 Here are the construction photos:

layout  sister walls  third wall

Building the walls.  It's handy to have a template on the floor so you can nail it flat.


     rafterssheathingsheathing II

 The gable ends are built and integrated into the walls because they help to support the ridge beam of roof.  The roof is removable so the seat cuts of the rafter tails aren't doing much in the way of support.  The sheathing is osb. 



Walls are insulated with r-13 batt insulation.  I used 4mil plastic as a vapor barrier.

  house wrap        house wrap II

 I took a page out of the old timers books and used tar paper as the house wrap.  Much less expensive than tyvek.


   interior sheathing             exterior sheathing

I used 3/8" plywood for the interior sheating and used a molded, OSB product for the exterior siding.  The roof is also osb.  I also caulked all the seams and cracks to minimize hiding places for

pests.  The interior will be primed and painted.


  roof felt  starter course  drip edge

Tar paper underlayment for the shingles.  I added a metal dripedge for additional waterproofing security.


first side  overhang  mistake

Inexpensive, 3-tab shingles.  Dont forget to leave about an inch overlap.  The shingles will tear if you bend them too sharply as you can see on this last photo.  I did my best to seal the tear with

roofing tar.

icy  soffitswindow

Paint is always tricky.  This first color was too icy so i took it back to HD and had them deepen the color a bit.  I much prefer it now.  You can still see the exposed lookouts supporting the gable fly

rafters.  These will be closed in after being insulated.  The rafter tails now have blocking between them to keep out pests and clean up the look.  The drop down access door is big enough to access

all the feeders and clean the interior.  It's made of vertical t&g cedar held together by by the rails and siles and braced with the diagonal.



shutters open    shutters closed

The soffits are now framed in and the shutters are on.  These are also T&G cedar.


in place  coop frontside

Here it is in the place.  I think the window box adds a nice, finishing touch.

1 year old chicks


The chicks are 6 months old now so I can now make some suggestions after completing the project.

- I would hinge the entire wall on one side rather than just having a hatch.  It would make accessing the droppings board and cleaning much easier.  

- I wouldn't bother to make the roof removable.  It's so heavy that it's not really practical to lift it on and off anyway.

- I would prime and paint everything before I assembled it.  I really hate painting trim.

- I would design the window openings to fit off the shelf glass windows in order to make winter weatherproofing easier.  I have to make custom windows in order to fit the existing openings.

- I will add a covered run that can attach to the side of the house so that they have more room in the early morning and don't wake me at 6am with their squawking to be let out: perhaps 4x8'.

- I will add gutters to reduce the splashing of dirt at the ground.

- I would get quieter chickens.  The Delawares are LOUD!  Don't rely upon what you hear or read in the books; hens might not be as loud as roosters, but they are still loud enough to hear through closed windows at a distance of 75 feet at 6am.


- This coop (along with other great coops from BYC) has recently been published in book form: 

                                                           Backyard Chickens' Guide to Coops and Tractors. (2011).

                                                           Cincinnati, Ohio: Betterway Home



                                             Screen shot 2012-05-08 at 1.40.42 PM.png






Comments (38)

Thanks so much for the ideas! I have completed all of the framing and am set to build the base and roof tomorrow! I did like you idea of making one of the walls into a door. I figured that I would stay somewhat tru to the plans and figured extra support of a framed wall was needed. I framed a much larger door into the east wall. I am also going to make it so that the door on the floor of the coop can be close by pulling a handle...thanks
Wow great i might have a shot at making one
I'm going to sound like a complete dumbass here.....The first couple of actual photos show the wall framing. There is the frame and then an additional board Inside each part of the frame. I wasn't sure of its purpose, since it looked like that would make it heavier than necessary. Then I looked at the next photo showing the same walls after the OSB was attached and those extra boards are not there. So I'm curious of their purpose? Is it just for stability while putting the framework together? I hope this makes sense. Without being able to point an arrow to exactly what I'm talking about, it may not....
HEChicken- ...LOL you do not sound like a complete dumbass....and no it does not disappear...think hard and look took me a minute to figure out what you were talking about, but then it all made sense and you are does look like it disappears. This second board...placed in the frame long ways (opposite of all others) is used to attach the the are at the end so you can attach the other frame parts to it....if you look closely you will see that it all matches up...if you didnt have this board you would not be able to attachthe walls together...... the only dumb question is one that is not asked!
Thanks for your reply. I've never built anything and I'm working on plans for a largish coop and trying to understand it all in my head before I even start planning. So much to learn.....ah well - at least the chickens won't care if its not perfect.
This looks great! I am gearing up to build one now. I live in Idaho so the insulation is key for me. I love how clean and neat it looks. About how much did this cost you to make? Also, would you be willing to email me the plans?
I can only speak for myself, but so far I am into it for about $130. I have built the entire frame, the roof frame, and the base...I used all pressure treated wood for the base. I have made modifications to the plans....
Did not see any roosts in plans/photos. I thought they were essential for a coop
from the research i have done roosts are not necessary for silkies...what I have, but I plan on adding several low roosts for them anyway....roosts are very easy to add in anywhere you like
You have done an outstanding job of showing how the coop was constructed. Thanks for the gorgeous pictures. I'm a newbie and I did wonder exactly how you get into the coop to clean it. ? Thanks!
Gorgeous coop. And wonderful plans. They are the best plans I have found and great looking. I appreciate the fact that it is insulated. We live in MN and have some cold nights. Do you have any idea of what your building material list looked like?
You have a beautiful coop! What program did you use to draw those plans on the computer?
Hi where abouts in MN do you live, and do you have to have any additional heat source such as a bulb or lamp? Also, what type of vent do you have in the gable end. Is it able to open and close? Thanks for the great pics and info. What modeling software did you use for your schematics. Thanks again, great job.
Very nice, those are going to be some very warn Chickens ;)
love the compact size and cute painting. My dad and i used a lot of your ideas to build our castle themed bantam coop.
This coop is unreal! If knew what the heck I was doing, I would so build it, or maybe get my husband to...this is the neatest coop i have ever seen!!!
Wow. I had no idea that people were commenting on the coop. Thanks everyone for your positive feedback. After two years the coop is holding up well. Time for a spring cleaning this weekend if the weather is nice...yuk. I am really regretting that I didn't hinge the whole side of the house rather than just the little access door. Climbing inside for cleaning is a tight fit! I'll try to answer some of your questions:
ecourbandad asked: How much did it cost? and Can you email me the plans? I can't remember exactly anymore but it was about $500. What you see on the website is everything I have in the way of plans.
chickaroo3 asked: Where are the roosts? I made a ladder and it leans up against the inside and hooks on with hooks and eyebolts.
Crittermommy asked: How do you get in? I climb in the access door on the right side (the one framed like a "Z".
cluckinghen asked: What is the materials list? I don't remember but it can mostly be sussed out by reading through the coop page. I used both screws and nails (galvanized).
TabbyChickens asked: What program did you use? I used Sketchup.
gsk1978 asked: Where in MN are you? Is there a heat source? What vent is in the gable end? I am in WA. There is not additional heat as their body heat keeps the coop about 6deg warmer than the outside air in the winter.
This is a wonderful design. trictle, I agree that the entire facade should be hinged. It helps a lot with mine. Another thing that made life simpler for me, I used resin on the floor/deck. When I clean the coop, the shavings and waste are easy to slide out and the wood has not absorbed anything gross. Your coop is top notch.
thanks for the plans. not totally done yet but its lookin sharp. i added a little run onto it too.
2 cute!! might have to try it
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