Best coop option besides building one myself?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Peepums, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Peepums

    Peepums Hatching

    Jan 23, 2018
    I'm new here and new to raising chickens. It's been a dream for a while now, but I keep running into a wall when looking at coop options.

    Everything I've seen about prefab coops being flimsy and susceptible to cold and predators has made me hesitant to go this route. Unfortunately neither my husband nor I have any experience with or tools for building anything ourselves, so I'm sure one we built would be shoddy at best. I haven't found much locally on Craigslist either, and even if I did I don't have the resources to tow anything home anyway.

    I want a coop for up to 4 full sized hens, ideally with an attached run, and I'd prefer to pay under $500. Should I just go with a prefab? Any particular brands/companies that are sturdier than others? Should I just try to build one myself and hope for the best? Something else I haven't considered? Any thoughts & suggestions are helpful, as I said I'm a complete newbie!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Never go with prefab. They are overpriced and built by people that know nothing about chickens.
    The simplest is to get a storage shed and modify it with ventilation/lighting/roosts/nests etc..
    By ventilation, I mean big open windows covered with hardware cloth.
    Another option is to look at the coops page on this site.
    Most have plans and bills of materials. You can find a local carpenter to build your favorite for you and you'll have a superior product for the same or less money.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  3. penny1960

    penny1960 Going back to La La Land

    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    most prefab coops are very cheaply built old adage get what you pay for even a metal yard building can be modified fairly easy key is Hardware cloth lot's of it but chances are it will end up at more than 500
  4. Dayrel

    Dayrel Songster

    Mar 18, 2017
    I'll echo the sentiment above. I went with a prefab coop and regret it. My next one will definitely be home built. Read up on coops here. Depending on your taste, you don't have to get fancy/expensive at all. Here is a video I saw just today. Very simple and inexpensive-looking setup. I don't like everything about it, but it makes a good example of how it can be done.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2018
  5. RUNuts

    RUNuts Free Ranging

    May 19, 2017
    Eastern Houston
    Start with a 10x10x6 dog kennel as a run from craigslist for $200. Cover to be considered.
    Predator/chicken proof as needed.
    10x10 gives you 100 square feet minus the coop.

    Or get one of those covered car parking things. Dog kennel the inside and predator proof. This one probably too expensive.

    Get a garden shed from the local hardware store for $300 (?) and add roosts and a ladder.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    A prefab coop is your worst choice, and then replacing it will cost MORE in the long run.
    A garden shed, new or used, or build a hoop coop! They are inexpensive and work very well. Look for plans here, and as your only coop, make it predator proof rather than movable.
  7. nminusyplusm

    nminusyplusm Crowing

    Mar 29, 2017
    Deming, NM
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Can you post your general location. That will help you to get advice that is appropriate to your climate.

    If you go with a shed or shed kit, I strongly suggest that you do wood rather than metal or plastic.

    If you can purchase the basic tools (or borrow/rent them) you and your husband can easily build a coop you will enjoy and be proud of. I'm a 61 y.o. female, and within the last 5 years have built a green house, 2 tractors and a coop. If I can do these types of projects, they are easily within the abilities of the average home owner. Several years ago, my hubby and I built a 10 x 12 coop.

    The easiest coop to build would be a cattle panel coop.

    Next easiest would be a shed style coop, with a shed roof. If you plan your build to use 4 x 8 plywood, you will minimize your cuts and minimize waste of materials.

    The ideal coop has good roof overhang on all 4 sides, adequate pitch to roof to shed snow, lots of ventilation (= to 10% of floor space or 1 s.f./bird) Lots of natural lighting. Those windows can fit into your ventilation numbers. 1 l.f. of perch per bird, with at least 12 - 15" of space between perch and back wall, 18" or more height between perch and ceiling, at least 2' above floor. The perch must also be above nest box height. And the perch needs plenty of room in front of it so the birds won't smack their beaks on the wall in front of them when they fly down. I strongly recommend that your coop be a walk in style, to maximize your cu. ft. area which will help minimize issues with frost bite, ammonia build up, and moisture issues.

    Check out this book. Lots of easy to read instructions/photos, and many of these designs can be easily adapted to become "the coop of your dreams".
  9. KettermanHillCoop

    KettermanHillCoop Crowing

    Oct 23, 2017
    I picked up two 10' x 10' x 6' dog kennels for $50 ea. One from Craigslist and one from a friend that has a bunch of beagles. The one from Craigslist was once a chicken run so it already had a cut out for the pop door.

    Don't pay $200 on can buy new for $230 at PetSmart...
  10. Leigti

    Leigti Songster

    Oct 22, 2015
    Walla Walla WA
    I did a ton of research on this site and read some books. Then I made some really rough drawings and my friend built it. I can’t say that you better plan on more chickens in the future :) I started with three and now I have 12. 12 does definitely max out my coupe howeverr so I have hit my limit.
    I agree that a wooden shed would be much better than metal.
  11. MrsMistyReal

    MrsMistyReal Enabler

    Aug 6, 2014
    Welcome aboard to BYC family gr8 people tons of information and loads of fun enjoy shake your tail feathers, good luck build it & the chickens will come :thumbsup:goodpost::jumpy:bun:welcome:highfive::wee:celebrate:ya:yesss::woot

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: