This Page Submitted By: NChickenwing
Building Your Own Chicken Coop

In the spring of 2009 we decided to join a friend in raising chickens for meat and eggs. Quickly we realized we needed housing for the birds and a way to keep them safe. I decided they needed a large building that would provide shelter, a safe place to sleep, and a place for them to leave my eggs. After much research I decided a 8x12 building would provide the needed space. Now I needed to figure out how I was going to build this building and what modifications I needed to make for the birds. I found a nice building I could modify easily and move when necessary. Only one problem, Lowe's wanted almost $2200 for the lumber. That was out of the question, so back to the drawing board. I needed lumber for cheap, I checked Craigslist, checked the local paper, and then a light went off in my head. My bossman's dad builds houses! I started out gathering scrap lumber, (anything that had been cut or had nails), in 3 days I had most of the framing materials. I stopped at a huge construction site and asked the super if I could get scraps from the dumpster, he said sure and after 3 truckloads I had everything I needed to begin construction. Oh, wait, what am I going to build? I needed plans, I searched the internet, and went to Lowe's with my camera. I finally came up with some plans and a building materials list. The photo to the right is a graphic representation of the basic plan.

On the following pages you will find a complete set of building plans with graphic representations, elevation drawings, work in progress photos, a complete building materials list, templates, and an explanation of how to assemble this building on your own. Throughout this page you will find tips for construction. Just look for the red text.

**NOTE: In the construction of the unit shown, 2x6 boards were used "ONLY" in the construction of the joists. Drawings showing 2x6 boards in the roofing section are inaccurate. **

For Starters: You will need access to a circular saw, chalk box, tape measure, speed square , hammer, ladder.
Below is the materials list:

Materials List





Drainage material

1.4 cu. yd.

Compactable gravel


3 @ 12'-0"

4 × 4 treated timbers

Floor Framing

Rim joists

2 @ 12'-0"

2 × 6 pressure treated


10 @ 8'-0"

2 × 6 pressure treated

Floor Sheathing

3 sheets, 4 ×8'

3/4" tongue&groove

Joist clip angles


3" × 3" × 3" ×16 gauge galvanized

Wall Framing

Bottom plates

2 @ 12'-0", [email protected] 8'-0"

2 × 4

Top plates

4 @ 12'-0", [email protected] 8'-0"

2 × 4


40 @ 92 5/8"

2 × 4


2 @ 10'-0'', [email protected] 6'-0"

2 × 6

Header spacers

1 @ 9'-0", 1 @ 6'-0"

1/2" plywood 5" wide

Gable Wall Framing

Top plates

2 @ 8'-0"

2 × 4


2 @ 8'-0"

2 × 4

Roof Framing


22 @ 6'-0"

2 × 4

Metal anchors

10, with nails

Simpson H1

Rafter ties

3 @ 8'-0"

2 × 4

Ridge board

1 @ 14'-0"

2 × 4


1 @ 8'-0"

2 × 4


1 @ 8'-0", 2 @10'-0''

2 × 4

Soffit nailers

3 @ 8'-0"

2 × 2

Exterior Finishes

Plywood siding

10 sheets @ 4×8'

T1-11 plywood siding


2 pieces @ 8ft.

Galvanized 18 gauge


10 @ 10'-0"

1 × 4 S4S cedar


8 @ 8'-0"

1 × 6 S4S cedar

Plywood soffits

2 sheets @ 4 ×8'

3/8" cedar or fir plywood

Soffit vents

4 @ 4 × 12"

Louver with bug screen


8 linear ft.

Galvanized 18 gauge


Roof sheathing

6 sheets @ 4 ×8'

7/16" OSB

Asphalt shingles

150 sq. ft.

6 Bundles

15# building paper

150 sq. ft.

1 Roll

Metal drip edge

2 @ 14'-0", [email protected] 6'-0"

Galvanized metal

Roof vents

2 units




2 @ 8'-0", 1 @ 6'-0"

3/4 × 4 1/4" S4S cedar


2 @ 8'-0", 1 @ 6'-0"

1 × 2 S4S cedar

Panel material

12 @ 8'-0"

1 × 6 T&G V-joint S4S cedar


4 @ 6'-0"

1 × 6 S4S cedar

Construction adhesive

1 tube

Exterior trim

2 @ 8'-0", 1 @ 6'-0"

1 × 4 S4S cedar

Interior trim

2 @ 8'-0", 1 @6'-0"

1 × 2 S4S cedar

Strap hinges

6 with screws

Exterior hinges



5 @ 6'-0"

3/4 × 4 1/4" S4S cedar


1 @ 3'-0"

2 × 4 S4S cedar


10 @ 6'-0"

1 × 2 S4S cedar

Glazing tape

30 linear ft.


3 pieces

1/4" clear tempered

Window muntins

3 @ 8'-0"

1 × 1 S4S cedar

Exterior trim

5 @ 8'-0"

1 × 4 S4S cedar

Interior trim

5 @ 8'-0"

1 × 2 S4S cedar

Ramp (Optional)


2 @ 6'-0"

2 × 8 pressure treated


1 @ 8'-0"

2 × 8 pressure treated


7 @ 6'-0"

2 × 4 pressure treated


16d common nails

16 lbs.

10d common nails

1 lb.

10d galvanized casing nails

1 lb.

8d common nails

1/2 lb.

8d box nails

3 lbs.

8d galvanized box nails

1 1/2 lbs.

8d galvanized finish nails

7 lbs.

3d galvanized box nails

1/4 lb.

7/8" galvanized roofing nails

2 lbs.

1 1/2" joist hanger nails

80 nails

1 1/4" wood screws

70 screws

3 1/2" deck screws

12 screws

3" deck screws

50 screws

2 1/2" deck screws

40 screws

1 1/4" deck screws

30 screws

Silicone latex caulk

1 Tube

Step A: Build the Foundation & Floor Frame

1. Excavate the building site making sure it is flat and level.​

2. Cut three 4×4 treated timber skids at 144". Arrange and level the skids on the ground, following the FLOOR FRAMING PLAN.​

3. Cut two 2×6 rim joists at 144" and ten joists at 93". Mark the joist layout onto the rim joists, following the plan. Assemble frame with 16d galv. common nails; be sure to check each joist for crowning and install it with the crowned edge up.​

4. Set the floor frame on top of the skids and measure the diagonals to make sure it's square. Install metal clip angles at each joist along the two outer skids, using 1 1/2" joist hanger nails and 16d galv. common nails, and toenail each joist to the center skid with 16d galv. nails.​
Notice the crowned edge is up.

5. Install the tongue-and-groove floor sheathing, starting with a full sheet at one corner of the frame. Use 8d galv. nails driven every 6" along the edges and every 12" in the field.

Tip - Use a wood block to tap the sheets tongue into the other sheets groove. The object is to not damage the groove of the sheet you are inserting.
Step B: Frame the Walls

1. Snap chalk lines on the floor for the wall plates.

2. Cut the 2 × 4 wall plates: four at 144" for the side walls and four at 89" for the front and back walls.

3. Mark the stud layouts onto the plates following the FLOOR PLAN.​

4. Cut twenty-seven studs at 92 5/8", and cut six at 81 1/2" to serve as jack studs.

5. Build three headers with 2 × 4s and 1/2" plywood: one at 65" for the door opening, one at 67" for the right side window, and one at 35" for the rear window.

6. Assemble, raise, and brace the walls one at a time, then add the double top plates.​

You can see the framing for the nest boxes in the wall; I needed 10 boxes for 30 birds. I made the framing 70x32.​

The window on the right wall measures 72x36.​

I did not need a double door so I made a single door at 29x74. The header was cut at 32 inches and doubled with a piece of 1/2 plywood as a spacer.
Step C: Frame the Roof

1. Cut two pattern rafters, following the RAFTER TEMPLATE. Test-fit the rafters using a 2 × 4 spacer block, then cut the remaining twelve common rafters. Cut eight rafters for the gable end overhangs-these do not have bird's mouth cuts.​
Tip - Follow the rafter template. Cut the angle first on a 6' 2x4, then measure the overall length and make the plum cut. After both cuts are made measure and mark the birds mouth cuts. Use wood screws to install the top of the rafters to the ridge board.

2. Cut the 2 × 4 ridge board at 156". Draw the rafter layout onto the top plates and ridge board, using 16" on-center spacing. The outsides of the outer common rafters should be 6" from the ends of the ridge board.​
3. Install the rafters. Reinforce the rafter-wall connection with metal anchors-install them on all but the outer common rafters.​
4. Cut three 2 × 4 rafter ties at 96", and clip the top outer corners so they won't project above the rafters. Position each tie next to a pair of rafters as shown in the FRAMING ELEVATIONS. Face nail each tie end to the rafter with three 10d nails, then toenail each tie end to the top wall plate with two 8d nails.

5. Cut the gable-wall plates to reach from the ridge to the wall plates. Install the plates with their outside edges flush with the outer common rafters. Cut and install the gable studs, following the FRAMING ELEVATIONS.​
Step D: Build the Gable Overhangs

1. Cut twelve 2 × 4 lookouts at 3". End nail the lookouts to each of the inner overhang rafters, using 16" on-center spacing (see the GABLE OVERHANG DETAIL).​
2. Face nail the inner overhang rafters to the outer common rafters with 10d nails.

3. Fasten the outer overhang rafters to the ridge and lookouts, using 16d nails.​
Step E: Install the Fascia, Sheathing & Roofing
1. Cut and install the 2 x 4 subfascia along the eaves (see the EAVE DETAIL Below). Keep the ends flush with the outsides of the overhang rafters, and the bottom edges flush with the bottom rafter edges; use 16d nails.

2. Install the 1 x 6 fascia along the gable overhangs, then along the eaves, holding it 1/2" above the rafters so it will be flush with the sheathing; use 6d galv. finish nails.

3. Install the 7/16" OSB sheathing, starting at a lower corner of the roof; use 8d box nails driven every 6" along the edges and every 12" in the field of the sheets.
4. Attach metal drip edge along the eaves, then apply 15# building paper over the sheathing. Add dripedge along the gable ends, over the paper.
5. Install the asphalt shingles, starting at the eave edge. If desired, install roof vents.
Step F: Install the Soffits & Siding
1. Cut twelve 2 x 2 nailers to fit between the rafters, as shown in the EAVE DETAIL. Fasten the nailers between the rafters with 10d face nails or 8d toenails.
2. Rip the 3/8" plywood soffit panels to fit between the wall framing and the fascia. Fasten the soffits to the rafters with 3d galv. box nails.
3. Cut holes for four soffit vents: locate one vent in each of the two outer rafter bays, along the eave, on both sides of the building. Install the soffit vents.
4. Install the plywood siding, using 8d galv. finish nails. Butt the top edges of the siding against the soffits. Don't nail the siding to the rear-window and door headers in this step. At the gable ends, install Z-flashing along the top edge of siding, then continue the siding up to the soffits.
Note: Along the side walls, 8-ft. siding will cover the floor plywood by about 1/2" (this is necessary); if you want the siding to cover the floor framing, use 4 x 9-ft. sheets.
Step G: Build & Install the Doors
1. Cut out the bottom plate from the door opening.
2. Cut the door frame pieces from 3/4" x 4 1/2" (actual dimension) cedar: cut the head jamb at 61 1/4" and the side jambs at 81 7/8". Assemble the frame by screwing through the head jamb and into the side jambs with 2 1/2" deck screws.
3. Cut 1 x 2 stops and install them inside the jambs with 1 1/4" deck screws or 3d galv. finish nails. If the doors will swing out, install the stops 2 1/4" from the outside edges of the frame; if they'll swing in, install the stops 2 1/4" from the inside edges.
4. Install the door frame in the rough opening, using shims and 10d galv. casing nails. Make sure the frame is square and plumb.
5. Cut twelve pieces of 1 x 6 tongue-&-groove boards at 81 3/4". For each door, fit together six boards with their ends flush, then mark the two end boards for trimming so that the total width is 30". Trim the end boards.
6. Cut the Z-brace boards following the DOOR ELEVATIONS. Lay the doors on a flat surface and attach the brace boards using construction adhesive and l 1/4" wood screws.
7. Install the hinges and hang the door, using shims to set the gaps at the bottom and top of each door.
8. Install flashing above the door, nail-off the siding, then install the 1 x 4 door trim, using 8d galv. finish nails.
Step H: Build & Install the Windows & Trim
Note: If you've bought pre-hung windows for the coop, install them following the manufacturer's directions.
To build homemade windows, use the following directions.
1. For each window, cut the 3/4" x 4 1/4" frame stock to form a rectangular frame with outer dimensions that are 1/2" shorter and narrower than the rough opening. Assemble the frame with 2 1/2" deck screws. Cut and install a 2 x 4 mullion in the center of the frame for the side-wall window.
2. Install each window frame in its rough opening, using shims and a level to make sure the frame is plumb and level and the jambs are straight. Fasten the frame with 10d galv. casing nails.
3. Cut the 1 x 2 stops. Bevel the outer sill stops as shown in the WINDOW JAMB DETAIL. Attach the inner stops with 6d galv. finish nails. Order the glass to fit.
4. Install the glass and outer stops, applying glazing tape to the stops on both sides of the glass. Install the 1 x 4 window trim.
5. Install the horizontal 1 x 4 trim as shown in the ELEVATIONS. Fasten the trim with 8d galv. finish nails.
6. Install the 1 x 4 corner trim so that it butts against the horizontal trim and extends to the bottom edges of the siding.
7. Caulk along all trim joints, where trim meets siding, and around the door and window trim.
Step I: Build the Ramp (Optional)
Determining the width and length (and thus the slope) of the ramp is up to you, but here is the basic construction procedure:
1. Determine the best slope for the ramp using boards or plywood set on the ground and the shed floor. Mark the ground to represent the end of the ramp.
2. Cut two 2 x 8 pads to the full width of the ramp.
3. Measure the distance from the ground to the shed floor; subtract 2" from that dimension to get the height of the tapered stringers.
4. Use the ground marking to determine the length of the stringers-be sure to account for the 1 1/2" thickness of the decking. Cut the tapered stringers from 2 x 8 lumber: cut one for each end and one for every 16" to 24" in between.
5. Attach the pads to the stringers with 16d galv. nails driven through the bottom faces of the pads and into the stringers.
6. Cut 2 x 4s for the ramp decking-the number needed depends on the length of the sloping sides of the stringers. Allow for a 1/8" gap between decking boards when calculating the number needed.
7. Attach the decking boards to the supports with 16d galv. nails or 3" deck screws, maintaining a 1/8" gap between boards.
8. Set the ramp in place against the shed and fasten it by toe nailing through the end stringers and top decking board with 3 1/2" deck screws.
My Modifications
1. I decided to make 16x16 openings in the gable wall for ventilation.
2. I also decided to use a insect screen and hard wire cloth to cover the window and vents. I put the hardwire inside to keep the birds off the window sill and to allow a plywood cover to be framed forming a tight seal during the winter.
3. Nest Boxes... I wanted exterior nest boxes to help save interior space, I framed the nest boxes just as I framed the walls except I turned the finished framing on its side and screwed the bottom plates to the wall framing. I used a single piece of plywood for each bottom and cut partitions to divide the boxes. I used 2x2's as nailers on the bottom. The roof for the nest boxes was added after the siding was applied to the building. I took a long 2x4 and cut the same angle as the roof then put it on top of the nest box framing. I set the angle flush with the building siding and marked a 3 inch overhang. I cut the plumb angle and used this rafter as a template. After the rafters were cut I used screws to secure them to the building using the 16 on center studs as anchor points. I did not add doors to the nest boxes to help keep them dry. You can easily add doors by cutting the opening in the siding and adding hinges.

4. Roost... I started with a 2x6 and cut it plumb to the floor, I nailed the top to the rear exterior studs and screwed the cut end to the floor. I added pieces of 2x4 on the exterior wall and attached 2x4's to the top of the scraps lying flat. I then used wood screws to attach the 2x4's to the 2x6; taking care to assure the roosts were level. Everyone says they look like stadium seating. The outdoor roost is a 1.25" closet pole mounted in 36" 4x4s buried 20" in the ground.

5. Door... I cut 2x4's at 74 inches and cut a 45 degree angle on both corners, I did the same on 29" 2x4s, I saved the cut off ends and used those as a support for the corners of the framing. Once the framing was assembled I applied a piece of 7/16" OSB. I added the hinges and hung the door.
The Almost Finished Product


Some Pics of the Flock
The Roo...
The Older Girls...
The New Chicks....we got them on 7/23/09 from McMurrary the bottom roost on the right is my Buff Orp who survived a dog attack.
Things Left to Finish and Change
  • I still need to paint and add the trim work. I also need to build a partition wall inside the coop. After the chicks are ready to integrate with the older members of the flock I need to add the pop door and ladder.
  • What I would add or change.
  • I would like to add a window over the nest box and two windows, one on either side of the door. I want to add to the run and increase the size from it's current 12x18 to 15x20 and add netting over the top.
At this point in the construction I have roughly $50.00 total in materials, and another $20.00 in tools (always an excuse to buy more tools!). I got all of the lumber, shingles, and nails for FREE! Do not be afraid to stop at a construction site and ask if you can get scrap wood. The construction company has to pay to dump the scraps in a landfill; you will be helping them save some money while getting the things you need and helping to save the environment. Search your local Craigslist for deals on other materials. I got a new roll of roofing paper for $5. Shop around; know what the going rate is for your materials so you can jump on the good deals. I got all of the pine shavings you see for free on Craigslist also, I had to drive an hour each way, but I got a full size pickup load, enough for me and my friend. Ultimately free is free.
This basic plan can be modified to suit any size coop you wish to build; the only changes you have to make are the measurements. You can add windows wherever you like by following the guidelines in the window section. Consider all of your modifications before you begin framing. Modifications are sometimes difficult to make after you apply the siding. Take your time doing the framing. The key to any good structure is the framing. I hope this guide will help you succeed with building your New Chicken Coop.