La Cage Mahal Chicken Coop

A beautifully perfect "all in one" coop built it to house three to five chickens.
By Renee · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. Renee
    La Cage Mahal
    Mike and I built our first chicken coop in March 2008, here in Southern California. Overall, it is 5x10' with a 3x5' henhouse and a 5x7' covered run. We built it to house three to five chickens. It is designed to blend with the other buildings on the property and to improve our garden's appearance (it's made out of better materials than our house!). Our thanks go to both the BYC crew and Monica for wonderful ideas on how to build coops.

    Basic Instructions
    Step One: Framing​

    We used treated and painted 2x6 lumber for the foundation and painted 2x4 lumber for the rest of the frame. Note that the uprights are attached to the inside. The area on the left will be the storage area and henhouse, the right side will be the covered run. The frame is 5x5x10' (which means ducking to get in through the screen door).​
    Step Two: Flooring and Framing the Henhouse
    Next, we put polyurethaned OSB flooring in both henhouse and storage areas (each required a full sheet, boo hoo). We framed for the window and the pophole in the henhouse, and the doors for the storage area. We added the roof joists and stabilizing cross pieces.
    The roof joists were hard to cut at the correct angle:
    Step Three: Roofing
    We roofed La Cage Mahal with 7/16" OSB, metal drip edging, tar paper, then asphalt shingles and cap. The very short roofing nails were just a hair too long. I recommend thicker OSB or plywood.
    Step 4: Siding
    The siding is 1x6" shiplap. We should have attached it to the ends of the coop BEFORE we put the roof on, so that we could draw the angle easily with a pencil, rather than getting out the protractor and trying to calculate the angle mathematically!
    The back siding:
    Step 5: Doors and Windows, Hardware Cloth
    We built the doors for the storage area and the henhouse out of 1x6" shiplap cut to the size of the opening, then we screwed scrap lumber to the back to hold it together, then we used 1x4" pine to frame the door edge and to make the diagonal cross pieces. We hung them with galvanized exterior hinges and fastened them with hasps. The window came from an old cabinet. We just painted it and hung it. We used the other window from the same cabinet to make a fixed screen door that is fastened to the frame.
    The screen doors were constructed by sandwiching hardware cloth between two overlapping 1x4" frames, then placing another 1x4 diagonally across the face for stability.
    The hardware cloth enclosing the run area was nailed to the outside of the frame, then another 2x4 was placed over the nails, sandwiching it to secure against predators (including Sam, our new dog). We will line the bottom of the run with attached, welded wire when the babies are allowed out.

    Step 6: Pophole, Ladder, Roosts
    The ladder is made of 1x10 pine with 1/2" square dowels nailed to the top and a 2x2" nailed to the underside for stability. I think it is too long, and we might replace it with a step ladder. The pophole has a sliding door made of melamine and it opens from outside the coop with a rope and pulley.
    The roosts are polyurethaned 2x2" sitting in joist hangers, so that they can be removed for cleaning. We purchased a piece of scrap linoleum for the floor of the henhouse. It is easily curled into a funnel and SWOOSH all of the poop and shavings go right into the green recycle container or the wheelbarrow, headed for the compost pile.​

    The henhouse in use:

    The storage area:
    The coop and chicken yard:

    The chicken bridge:
    The finished Cage Mahal.
    Ahem. Did I say three to five chickens?

    Changes Made Since Construction​

    1. Shortened chicken ramp so that we can get into the run!
    2. Moved nest boxes to back of henhouse and roosts to front for easier poop-scooping.
    3. Made folding fence of left-over wire and wood. Each panel is 3x5, hinged together. We can now grow grass and other forage in a section of the Chicken Yard.
    4. Made a "screen door" for the pop hole to increase air flow in the summer.
    5. Eliminated pine shavings in hen house and replaced shavings and straw in run with sand.
    6. Gave ten chickens to brother-in-law. The space is just right for four chickens.

    Materials List​
    I apologize to all for incorrect construction terms and vocabulary. I hope you can understand the meaning of my terms through context. We splurged on shiplap siding, Dunn Edwards paint, and asphalt roofing shingles. The materials were purchased, for the most part, from Home Depot in February and March of 2008.
    Number Item Unit Price Total
    3 2x6x10 treated @ 10.97: 32.91
    1 2x6x8 treated @ 7.97: 7.97
    4 2x4x10 @ 2.39: 9.56
    33 2x4x8 @ 1.88: 62.04
    5 7/16 4x8 OSB @ 6.98: 34.90
    2 2x2x8 @ 1.98: 3.96
    1 1x10x8 @ 9.46: 9.46
    20 1x4x8 @ 3.06: 61.12
    40 1x6x10 shiplap @ 5.97: 238.80
    2 doorpulls @ 2.98: 5.96
    12 T-hinges @ 2.69: 32.28
    1 pkt 2 small T-hinges @ 2.79: 2.79
    5 post hasps @ 4.98: 24.90
    24 "L" brackets (frame anchors) @ .43: 10.32
    2 extension springs @ 4.17: 8.34
    1 pkg hook and eyes @ 1.79: 1.79
    1 4x25 ft roll ½ inch hardware cloth @ 39.94: 39.94
    1 4x10 ft roll ½ inch hardware cloth @ 19.97: 19.97
    2 boxes 2 ½ inch exterior screws @ 6.97: 13.94
    3 bundles asphalt shingles @ 16.70: 50.10
    1 box ridge cap @ 44.00: 44.00
    4 1x2x10 edge flashing @ 3.16: 12.64
    3 tubes caulk @ 3.49: 10.47
    4 cans spray polyurethane @ 5.96: 23.84
    3 gal Dunn Edwards exterior paint @ 36.00: 108.00
    5x12’ linoleum scrap @ 19.89: 19.89
    3 4x4x8 treated @9.97: 29.91
    1 5x50 feet welded wire @ 42.98: 42.98
    2 nest boxes @ 12.98: 25.96
    1 lg waterer @ 37.00: 37.00
    1 lg feeder @ 25.00: 25.00
    1 small waterer @ 5.98: 5.98
    1 small feeder @ 5.99: 5.99
    1 galvanized tub with lid @ 19.99: 19.99
    Sandpaper: in stock
    1 box ¾ inch galvanized roofing nails: in stock
    1 box box nails: in stock
    1 box 1 ½ inch exterior screws: in stock
    4 joist hangers: in stock
    8 3 ½ inch exterior screws: in stock
    2 small windows: in stock
    80 sq ft tar paper: in stock
    Four ½" square dowels: in stock
    2 post finials: in stock
    1 scrap melamine: in stock
    Rope: in stock
    Pulley: in stock
    Total Cost for Cage Mahal: $1,082.70
    Total Cost for 15 Pullets: $49.00
    Estimated Date for First Eggs: August, 2008
    Estimated Cost Recovery Time: When H-E-Double Toothpicks Freezes Over

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Recent User Reviews

  1. goldysgirl
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 22, 2019 at 6:55 PM
  2. cheezenkwackers
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 14, 2019
    Great article! I am in the planning stages of building a new duck coop. I could understand your instruction well and will be using a modified version of them. I really appreciated the lack of builders jargon. Your coop is cute and looks like it will last a long time!
  3. DuckMama9
    "Very detailed how to!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Sep 13, 2019
    Love the cool and your detailed instructions!


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Chesca
    awesome looking coop!
  2. Yeagar Farms
    I like the storage area underneath.
  3. RaeRae2
  4. juliachick
    That is pretty neat!
  5. AtChaseFarm
    What a great-looking coop! Thanks for sharing!
  6. birdbrain1948
    My favorite part is the chicken bridge! Beautiful yard and coop-kudos to you for all your effort.
  7. chickentender1
    Hello. Yes, that looks fabulous. How many chickens will it hold comfortably. I wish I could have hens in my city. Just as side note: how easy is it to keep clean? Are you in a city or large town? What of the smell factor? Thanks. I am just studying getting started with chicken.
  8. M Rinier
    This coop reminds me of a pull it coop that I have seen on a manufacturers website called a pull-it coop. I think it was Horizon Structures. You coop appears to be very predator proof. I like the storage underneath for food etc.
    I know you showed 9 birds i think in the photo but how many do you plan to have when all is said and done?
  9. apteryx
    Fantastic looking coop - I really like the built in storage.
  10. vegaome
    Very nice and a good presentation as well.



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