Absolute cheapest possible coop? Need plan ideas.


8 Years
May 27, 2011
My neighbor really wants to have a few chickens in her backyard but unfortunately lost her job and can't pay for a pre-made coop.
Last year I made a coop for my backyard but I used my own plans and frankly spent far too much on it but I figured I could probably make her one if I could find some plans for a REALLY cheap coop.
I live in Texas so the only thing it absolutely has to have is a roof and a way to keep the chickens safe at night. It's a small yard in the city (chickens are legal here) so the only predator is maybe raccoons although I've never seen one myself.
Anyone have any ideas, links, or outside-of-box design suggestions?
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You can look at craig's list and search for some free stuff that people are trying to get rid of. A dog house, lumber or someone who replaced a deck - maybe someone who tore down a chain link fence and they want to get rid of it. That can help you find some materials at little to no cost. I pulled some 2x6 and 2x4 lumber from an old single wide trailer that someone was tearing down. Cleaned them up (removed staples, wires, junk) and used them to make my run for the tractor. I also used some of the lumber to frame my coop. Someone also had some plywood pieces laying around and I picked them up and used that to make the coop as well.
I second this. Salvaged wood is the way to go. If it doesn't all "match," a cheap gallon of paint can go a very long way. Another possibility is to find someone who is getting rid of a shed. They're usually in poor shape, but with the framing intact.
Pallets? They are often available free. Lots of decent wood in them. Constriction site leftovers? Tin roofing someone is replacing and throwing out?

A 4x4x4 coop should handle 3 or 4 chickens and not take a lot of lumber.

(I scrounge all sorts of stuff)
Construction dumpsters at new houses being built and remodeling jobs are a great place to get free wood. 99% of contractors are more than happy to let you pick the dumpster as it will save them on disposal costs. Working in the waste hauling field, I have long been picking dumpsters and got some great finds and not limited to wood. The whole inside walls of my 8x8 coop was done in 8" pine lap board that I pulled from a dumpster. It was painted blue on one side but flipped it to the raw side.

The smaller the coop the easier finding what they need. It has been my experience that the bigger the house, better the selection. McMansions being built offer sometimes the best stuff and will include EVEN brand new unused lumber that is easier to throw away than load it on a p/u then unload it. The bigger contractors(who typically build these mansions) can't be bothered handling the material 10 times just throw it in the dumpster. Good Picking!
I drive by a business that revamps pallets and resells them. They first go out and pick up old ones from businesses. Also they get the 4 ft. by 4 ft. shipping crates. I often thought to use 2 together to make a coop.
Place one upright and turn the other over and place it on top. Use boards to attach them together and there you have a nice safe coop. First cut out small windows in it and place hardware cloth over them and a small door.

My hubby builds drop doors for my coops but you can just use a board a bit bigger than opening and hinge it to close and a clasp of some type to secure it.

I buy really nice paint at Lowes that is in the mistint section for 5.00 a gallon. I have some that originally cost 35.00 a gallon but were not to customers liking. Humm for that savings I do not mind off shade or two....
I used an old shipping crate I got from work, added some beadboard, painted it. Got free hardware cloth too. Total cost was 150, The ondura roof, screws and latches cost the most for me. Orchelyn has a really nice coop for 3/4 hens that is 199, kind of a good deal and almost the same price.

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