Shipping Dunnage Coop

By grohfrog · Mar 30, 2014 · ·
  1. grohfrog
    I was recently given a couple of 45" x 48" shipping totes. My son and I set about looking for a way to create a durable, but ultimately cheap, way to turn these totes into coops.
    Above is the first tote before any modification.

    Two strips of 2x2 wood were screwed in through the sides of the tote. These were spaced to allow 5-gallon buckets to rest level with the back end against the back wall of the tote.

    I cut the backs out of three 5-gallon buckets to use as nest boxes. A small lip was left on the bottom edge of each bucket. The buckets were screwed into the wood strips to prevent them from rolling around. The above photo shows the back access panel lowered.

    A 4-inch picket fence post was added to prevent the chickens from pushing their bedding out of the nest boxes.


    Two 2x2 posts were screwed in from the sides to act as roost bars. The lower roost doesn't span the entire tote. The block of wood on the right roost supports the roost adjacent to the coop door.

    Above is the space that was cut out with a roto-zip as the entrance. I plan to add a sliding door frame to the front to close up the coop at night.

    The tote lid had to be slightly modified to allow the nest box access door to be opened with the lid in place. I used a dremel tool to cut away the lip of the lid in this area.

    Nest box access door opened.

    I didn't get photos, but there were also two panels that were cut out and plexiglass windows were installed.

    All considered, this coop required a few 2x2 boards, several screws, and three 5-gallon buckets.

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Recent User Reviews

  1. Anonymous
    "Shipping Container Coop"
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Feb 12, 2019
    Would be nice to have an update on what about this works and what doesn't. Wonder if any modifications have been made since built.
  2. 21hens-incharge
    "Not very practical"
    2/5, 2 out of 5, reviewed Jul 2, 2018
    That black tote is very likely to heat up in summer. Not enough venting and not predator resistant.


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  1. grohfrog
    I've got 2 of these 45 x 48 crates at the moment. I currently have 2 Marans that are laying age, with another 10 pullets in the brooder. So I expect to have 2 crate-coops for 12 chickens, but have access to a third crate if needed.

    I'm realizing that I need to install a frame around the door that would allow me to install a door for predator proofing. The lid itself is a solid piece and is waterproof, but I need to build something with an overhang, and that will also handle snow weight. It would also probably be a good idea to repaint the crate a lighter color to prevent it from becoming an oven in the summer.

    The original intent was to create a functional coop with as little investment as possible, but I'm finding that there will be a few important projects needed to make this a better-than-minimal setup.
  2. SuburbanMomof4
    Looks snappy! A couple Qs...
    1) How many chickens are you keeping in there? I'm assuming this is sleeping/laying quarters only?
    2) Are you doing any other predator or weather proofing?

    I need to go price shipping totes! Great coop!
  3. teneyck farms
    i like this coop good job

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