Build vs Buy ?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Soulpatch59, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Soulpatch59

    Soulpatch59 Chirping

    Mar 13, 2013
    [​IMG] Hi guys/gals--
    As I mentioned in my intro, I'm brand new but a compulsive I have lots of theory--no experience. I'd like to begin with 3 girls, and I suspect already that chickens are a bit like potato chips....
    So my quandary: I don't own a mitre saw--or band saw for that matter. I have a fairly crappy drill though!!! [​IMG]I've not built much but I am handy and can follow directions. So, say I get some plans and some lumber...I don't see myself saving any $$ doing it that way initially, considering I'd have to buy all that hardware bling.
    I'm also wondering whether it doesn't make more sense to have some experience under my belt, so I know what I do and don't want to do on a coop, before I make the time investment of constructing my own.
    On the other hand, if you think I'd still be able to construct something healthy and safe for the girls, I'm not averse to trying.
    What would youall suggest?

    thanks very much.

  2. KBlue

    KBlue Songster

    Apr 21, 2011
    Katy, TX
    Buying a coop can get expensive really quick, plus all the accessories that need to go with it (feeder, waterer, etc.), it can be upwards of a few grand.

    Chickens are pretty forgiving on shelter requirements and even with crappy tools, you can fashion something functional without too much hassle. Size, ventilation, and draft protection are probably the three things you'd need to keep in mind when building, but you could do it for very low cost and it can still look nice. It'll be a learning experience. Gotta start somewhere!
  3. missnu01

    missnu01 Songster

    Nov 16, 2012
    The cheapest way would be to find someone that has the tools you need and would let you use them...Then again me and m husband just sort of collect tools a little bit at a time...I would look at getting a circular saw first. It's versatile and you use it more than I feel like we use our other saws and such...
    but without the tools then building or buying a coop is going to be ridiculous, unless you gathered only pallets of a certain size and then measured everything else to work with the size you already have. Try to come up with dimensions so you don't really have to cut as much. There has to be a way, or look on craigslist for cheap coops. Some people want 300-500 dollars for something someone else wants only 150 for so watch out.
  4. tymimo

    tymimo In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2013
    Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    I just wrestled with the same question and decided to build my own. At first, new coops on Craigslist seemed overpriced, but after I went out and bought all the materials I'm quickly approaching (and will likely surpass) the cost had I just purchased it and that's not including the time I've spent. That said, in the end I'll have a coop that I designed and built and the experience of having done it.

    If you have time and patience used coops can be had for much less if you are willing to scour craigslist or other places. I actually came across a free coop just by talking to people about chickens; a parent in my son's preschool heard I was interested in chickens and mentioned that her neighbor was looking to get rid of her coop. If you decide to build, I second the recommendation of borrowing tools. Here in Seattle we also have tool libraries that allow you to "check out" tools for a reasonable fee. In my case, an email to family members turned up a miter saw and table saw that I could borrow.

    hope this helps,

    Mr MKK FARMS Crowing Premium Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    We built our own, I mean, you have all the options of what you want it to look like, how big it is, ETC. But it can be a lot of work. Its still a great learning experience though!
    Hope that helps you,

  6. Soulpatch59

    Soulpatch59 Chirping

    Mar 13, 2013
    [​IMG]Coolest of all. I realized when I drove home last night--the prior owner left a large wood doghouse in the backyard.[​IMG] Never even thought of it because I don't use it--so that pretty much clinches it for me. I'm going to figure out how to make that into a nice coop for the girls.[​IMG]

    I really appreciate all your responses, it helped to clarify what is important to me! I will definitely keep you informed of my all I have to do is find my chickens. Which is actually proving to be a challenge if you can believe it.
  7. KBlue

    KBlue Songster

    Apr 21, 2011
    Katy, TX
    ^^ that's awesome!

    Good luck!
  8. BridgeMan

    BridgeMan In the Brooder

    We had intentions of picking up something used on CL. It only took 2 visits checking out "possibles" before we decided to pull the plug and buy a new one. The smaller CL coop ($100) had an odor of rotten whatever, and the bottom was soft enough on one end to push my thumb through. The other was a poorly-constructed 8' x 8' shed with shingled, pitched roof, with a firm asking price of $200. It had possibilities, but needed a lot of work, including replacing a trampoline floor, entry door and much of the exterior trim. Even figuring my time at $1 an hour, I would have been into it to the tune of at least $400 before I had something suitable.

    So the girls' new digs are scheduled to arrive in a few days. Cost us $320 for the thing, with room for 6 - 8 birds. We'll see how it works out, although I see a problem already developing--someone sneaked 2 more girls into the cardboard brooder box while I wasn't looking, making a total of 9 egg-laying machines. Maybe some bunk beds are in the future?
  9. Tarac

    Tarac In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2013
    Gainesville, FL
    If you find salvaged stuff you can build a nice coop for very little. Most of mine is built from the good bits of a few outbuildings someone was taking down. Tools are a necessity though. A great way to get perfectly good tools at a steal is to check pawn shops. I always pictured old wedding rings and guns in them but I had a washing machine malfunction. So we took our laundry to the laundromat that weekend which happens to be by nothing interesting but a pawn shop. We figured we had nothing better to do so walked over. The cheap tools!! Wow! I got my sliding compound 12" for $50 with extended warranty, Craftsman. Drill press for $80. Extra drill, because who likes changing bits all the time? Most expensive laundry trip ever but huge savings on tools.

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