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About how much is it to build a coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by xashleynguyen, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. xashleynguyen

    xashleynguyen Chirping

    Jul 26, 2010
    Hi! My name is Ashley and I've been lurking on this website for a while now, but finally decided to make an account! I'm buying my first home this September and finally can build a chicken coop with run in my backyard. I was just curious about how much it is to build a chicken coop with run? I plan on having 3-4 hens. Also, since I'm buying my first house, I'm a little low on money right now [​IMG] So what is the minimum I can spend and have my babies safe? Thank you!
  2. MakNugget

    MakNugget Songster

    May 31, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Since you are planning a big expense, I would recommend that you wait until you settle in.

    Building a coop (and run) can be done inexpensively, but keeping chickens and securing them with safety in mind can be costly.

    You can cut corners if you have a lot of access to reusable material (remodels, etc) but the best favor you can do for yourself is to plan plan plan. Then really plan. Seriously, this will save you so much now and later on. Figure out where you want it, how big, how to clean and how accessible it is to chickens and humans, how to water and feed, shelter...predator prevention. Then draw it out, and look at plans here and what others have done and should have done to make it better for your needs.

    Doing all that, I spent more than 2k; I stopped counting after that. [​IMG]

    I reused some goods but most were bought new. I could have made something half the size and price, but that wasn't what I wanted for the girls. I think you can build something nice for 700-1000 range, or even 500 while still being acceptable. It all depends on your situation.

    I think it's safe to say most numbers here have exceeded what they initially intended to spend for chickens, but that's really not the point.
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    The hardware cloth cost me the most..around $150. I had an arbor in my yard that I used as a frame. If you have salvage available for the wood you can save there. Just don't use the chicken wire stuff, waste of time and not so secure against predators.
  4. OliviaDeHav

    OliviaDeHav Chirping

    Jul 21, 2010
    We are just finishing up our coop and run today... i think all in all it has cost us probably around 700!! I am so shocked! our biggest expense has been the hardware cloth! This is just us now...so don't get discouraged.... we had to line the entire shed with it because of huge gaps, holes etc, then put in insulation (blue board). We used as much scrap as possible (and we did have to have a bit of help from a builder, add 260 right there!) so you can subtract that...
    There is a post on here where someone asked about a survey of building inexpensive coops.... i will see if i can find that... lots of ideas! But i agree with settling in first... it is a lot of work.....
    Good luck moving!! [​IMG]

    FOUND IT! https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=377619
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  5. sixinva

    sixinva Chirping

    Apr 6, 2010
    about 500 more than you think it will..... there is a ton of good info on this website, so do some searching around and you will find some great advice. just keep it secure, and a little bigger, is better than a little too small. Also, if you hit up your friends for 'stuff' sitting in their garages and sheds, you can cut down on costs...remember, its just a chicken coop, and you can always upgrade.
  6. SGM

    SGM Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Easley, SC
    Hi Ashley, I'm an Ashley too. [​IMG] Depends on the size and materials you choose to build with. For me, I'm planning a really big coop (well big compared to my past coops), so about 12'x16' or so. We're building our coop out of found or recycleable materials such as pallets. You can find some awesome examples on the links above where it says coop designs. There are some very creative people on this forum. For our run, I actually have a 6'x12' dog kennel that's 6' tall. I plan to use it along side of our chainlink fence so that I have less area to actually cover with wire. Cutting costs wherever I can.

    Sometimes you can find deals on materials locally and sometimes you can find people who have junk laying around that just want it gone, then you can get it cheap or even free for your coop. So it all depends on what lengths your willing to go to and how long your willing to wait as well as the size. For only a few chickens you won't need a big coop or a large run so that'll help too.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Anywhere from $20,000 to absolutely free.

    Really, it depends THAT much.

    If you are a good scrounger, living in an area that lends itself to scrounging (esp. of run fence wire), willing to wait until you have scrounged all the stuff you need, your costs can be extremely low. There are even BYCers who have done it for free although most normal people would at least buy new fasteners (nails, screws) [​IMG]

    If you are more of the Martha Stewart, "I saw it in a magazine and I want what I want and I shall have one of my people build it for me" type, then it can get real expensive real fast.

    Or anything in between.

    FWIW the bit that's hardest to find for free, in many areas especially urban areas, is wire mesh for the run. SUITABLE wire mesh, i.e. not chickenwire and not too flimsy and holes not too big and not in too terrible shape. For 4 chickens, an adequate (not overly spacious) run would be like 4x10, ish, which if one of the 4' ends is your coop itself, would require only a 50' roll of 36" 1x1 welded wire mesh. You can price that locally. (That 50' roll would give you either a 4' high run, awkward to work in, PLUS a 2' digproof apron; or a 6' high walk-in run with no apron so you would have to get additional wire or scrounge some pavers or *large* flat concrete rubble to digproof it, unless the run is on or surrounded by concrete slab. In both cases, a *top* for the run would require extra materials)

    As a ballpark, though, I'd say if you want to build it yourself and go for economical-though-tidy-looking, and you pay full retail for most of your materials, you are probably looking at between $500-200 for a minimal 4-chicken coop, more if you go bigger (which you may ought to if you're in a very cold-winter climate)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  8. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging Staff Member Premium Member 9 Years

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop

    You can build a coop relatively inexpensively or completely costly. It just depends on what you want. I would take the time to get settled in your new house, then start building the coop/run.

    Whatever you do, do NOT skimp on the hardware cloth. Chicken wire in not effective in keeping predators out. I bought this coop to brood babies in and what I believe was a raccoon pulled a fully grown, 16 week old Splash Orpington pullet through this small hole.


    Showing the vent door, now screwed shut.

    ETA: My main coop is fully secure with hardware cloth. (the really thick stuff)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2010
  9. Honestly - I agree with everyone else - it depends on many factors :

    How much time your willing to plan and search for cheap/free materials
    The quality and security
    The aestetics of it (really pretty and cutesy with all the ammenities or something that does its job and isn't exactly perfect or pretty)

    Check out my BYC page under my avatar - I made a coop big enough for 3-4 larg fowl layers and come out about 50$ BUT i had alot of stuff already - and found cheap extra materials.

    I'd say with security - to cut on cost but still be secure - hardware cloth on the bottom 2.5 -3' of the run only - the rest can be welded wire 2X4 inch and/or chicken wire. Also use hardware cloth as a skirt under the ground of the run (dig a few inches down 18-24" away from edges of run) attach hardware cloth to run bottom - lay it out and cover it over with the dirt you dug up - this will make it secure but nicer to look at without the wire sitting ontop of the ground and save you the back breaking work of digging a trench.

    If you're looking for low cost - search craigslist and freecycle in your area for cheap or free materials - shop at re-stores and ask hardware stores for their scraps/off shelf lumber. Pallets are great to use for floor bases or pulling them apart to use as siding. Paint - buy opps paints.

    PLAN PLAN PLAN. take your time - spend a couple months searching, shopping, collecting supplies and planning your dimensions and design. The simpler you keep it - the cheaper it should turn out. I'm converting a rabbit hutch I had had a pair of rabbits in into a bantam coop for some of my silkies - I had the hutch and the shelving boards i'm using as the siding/walls of it already and had access to free shingles to roof it. So i've totally spent 7$ for a box of screws and a door handle.

    Search craigslist for free large wooden dog houses or cheap wooden dog houses - these are easy to convert into a chicken house for a few layers. [​IMG]

    Good luck and have fun!
  10. SarahBeth9394

    SarahBeth9394 Songster

    Aug 23, 2008
    Yeah the price of hardware cloth surprised me. I can't even find 1" mesh. I'm only finding 1/4, 1/2, and 2x2. I'm thinking of using t-posts and 2x2 for the fencing. Then putting 2 layers of chicken wire on the bottom two feet. Then broken cement and bricks as a dig barrier. My issue will be keeping the dog noses from poking through the 2x2. The dogs pretty much keep things like squirrels, and raccoons out. So I think my quest will be to build it doggie proof.

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