Build or Buy?

Aunt Angus

Crowing
Jul 16, 2018
2,542
6,828
492
Sacramento County, CA
My Coop
My Coop
Here are some pics: View attachment 1625964 View attachment 1625965 View attachment 1625966

The back of the coop is solid & faces the neighbours to the north. The nesting boxes face east. The lid of the nesting boxes 2] lifts up for easy access. You can see the handles for the slide out tray. The roofing is waterproof.

I don't think it would hold up real well in your winters but we are sub~tropical & it has weathered our storm season pretty well ~ including our big winds, hail & lightening.
How long have you had it? That's pretty impressive! And you have 6 birds. Do you feel it is roomy enough in the coop? The pre-fabs I looked at seemed really small.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,452
14,545
751
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Buliding gives you confidence in quality of materiel and total control to build it to your needs/wants.

If my 22 year old daughter (21 then) can build this entirely on her own:
548.jpeg


And she, now at 22, and my 17 year old son can bulid this....still in progress (both from scratch):
15963.jpeg


It's not that hard, just intimidating at first... you just gotta pick up some tools and start and you'll find it's actually fun and very satisfying....and so what if it doesn't come out perfect, it'll he grat practice for when you build your next (bigger) one ;)
 

Aunt Angus

Crowing
Jul 16, 2018
2,542
6,828
492
Sacramento County, CA
My Coop
My Coop
Buliding gives you confidence in quality of materiel and total control to build it to your needs/wants.

If my 22 year old daughter (21 then) can build this entirely on her own:
View attachment 1625970

And she, now at 22, and my 17 year old son can bulid this....still in progress (both from scratch):
View attachment 1625978

It's not that hard, just intimidating at first... you just gotta pick up some tools and start and you'll find it's actually fun and very satisfying....and so what if it doesn't come out perfect, it'll he grat practice for when you build your next (bigger) one ;)
Shoot! Those are fantastic! Shoulda hired them to build my coop!
 

Ribh

Crossing the Road
Dec 18, 2018
5,701
39,316
917
Island, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
My Coop
My Coop
How long have you had it? That's pretty impressive! And you have 6 birds. Do you feel it is roomy enough in the coop? The pre-fabs I looked at seemed really small.
I only have 5 hens. I nearly went for 6 ~ buff orpington but they are huge & I'm pleased I didn't as there isn't a lot of spare space. My girls like to cuddle so it has worked out ok & as soon as I have the day's eggs I let them out: they have 1/2 an acre on our hillside so are really only confined for short amounts of time.

I have had the coop up about 7 months ~ so through our winter, spring & now the hottest part of our summer. It has held up really well ~ even the storm that saw 40~45 k winds with gusts up to 60.

We are pretty predator free. Foxes are rare. Our raptors would rather scavenge than hunt. Our biggest issues are monitor lizards & snakes. The girls go berko if a lizard is around.
 

ChocolateMouse

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
2,754
5,688
387
Cleveland OH
To answer the OP...
Build. The answer is almost never buy unless you have some compelling reason to not build (like you're disabled, you need the coop yesterday, you have a tiny number of chickens with specific needs, no time to build, etc.) Even then I'd try to build it anyhow if I could find ANY way to build. Build build build! It's cheaper, you'll actually get what you want, it will last longer, it will be better. Buuuuuild!

When you build, consider how many chickens you plan on keeping and what predators are in the area and how you will be keeping them. This is important for prefabs too, but with prefabs your options are limited to what you can buy so you often have to make due.
For size, consider how many chickens you need, and how long they will need time in the coop. 4sqft/bird is a good starting place. If your birds mostly use the coop for sleeping, you can go smaller. If they get snowed in or have very late mornings, you need to go bigger. Then for the pen, seriously consider what you need for predator protection and what's legal and make it as big as possible. 10sqft/bird is a good MINIMUM, but you really WANT to go bigger if you can. The more space the better! For safety, an electric poultry net will keep most things out, but that's not legal everywhere.
Also when building don't forget about ventilation! Always make sure your coop isn't drafty but DOES have a lot of fresh air.

For prefabs, if you MUST buy a prefab, look at what the coop is made out of and what the size of the inside of the solid part of the coop is to determine size. Remember; PREFAB COOPS ALWAYS LIE ABOUT HOW MANY CHICKENS FIT. One person on here recently got a coop labeled "for up to 15 birds" and it was only a 4x4' coop, so 16sqft!? Do your own calculations on how many birds will fit, DO NOT rely on manufacturers recommendations.

Oh, and the note about retrofitting a small shed is a good one too. Sheds make great chicken coops and are nice and often reasonable prices.
 
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Maya Vance

Chirping
Dec 27, 2018
45
136
74
St. Louis, Missouri
How many birds do you have/plan to have? Any restrictions on size of a coop by your town, HOA, etc?

You'll always get better results building a coop to suit your needs, or having someone build to your specifications. If you're not inclined to actually build something (hey, I'm no carpenter) you can also buy something premade like a shed or a large playhouse, and modify it. Prefab coops are probably the "worst" option in that many of them are built to look nice without being functional for either chickens or owners, and may be made with flimsy materials which won't last long. Some prefabs are much nicer than others, which usually gets reflected in the price.
I will be getting 3 chickens : A sapphire gem, a Cinnamon queen, and an easter egger.
 

ChocolateMouse

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
2,754
5,688
387
Cleveland OH
But seriously, if you're only getting 3 birds, most prefab coops will suit your needs just fine. Most of them are 8-16sqft, which is perfect for 3 birds.

But you should be aware that your 3-chicken-deal isn't set in stone. I know a lot of people who put all their bets on "I need THESE EXACT THREE OR FOUR birds!" and then were sorely disappointed and flipping out when either A) they couldn't get them in such small numbers or B) one died/got sick/was a boy, or c) one was a bully that needed rehoming, etc. So take care with that. And also bear in mind, with the collection of 3 chickens, you will probably want more. A bigger coop will only give you chickens a nicer house if you never get more birds, or will put you ahead of the game if you DO want more birds.
 
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