Cheapest DIY coop for new "peeps" - 4 backyard chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TrueWords, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. TrueWords

    TrueWords Hatching

    Apr 20, 2012
    North Carolina
    We are VERY NEW to the whole backyard chicken thing. Despite researching heavily for a year, I am coming up at a loss for a PLAN IN HAND for a cheap portable coop. I'm thinking A-frame or chicken ark type design for our little flock of 4 backyard chickens.

    I search online and I keep getting redirected at every turn to that $29 book but I honestly don't know if it is worth the money. I have been burned before.

    We want a simple design, fairly easy to build, and fairly "cheap" (not $300-500 in materials...I can live with $200)

    ANY IDEAS??? Please help. My cheeps are going to be ready to move into their new digs sooner rather than later.

  2. chickmom1304

    chickmom1304 In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2012
    SE Wisconsin
    Think about scrap lumber and such. It helps that builder here is a carpenter and we have lots of scraps. However, coup not at all scrappy looking! We did buy a book, if interested, I could send you photo. We went with a tractor style, it's actually for 15 chicks, but we will only use it for 6. Size could easily be scaled down. We only had to purchase a few latches and chick wire/hardware cloth. Think boot tray or plastic box lid for poop tray. Natural wood for roosts. Any furniture or building that you can grab wood from? Leftover paint to seal/color...Be creative!
  3. cantwellcolton

    cantwellcolton In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2012

    see about going over to anywhere theyre doing construction (building houses etc) - if you ask theyre usually let you take drops for free..
  4. ScottM

    ScottM Songster

    Pallets pallets pallets, you'll become an expert in pulling nails.

    Also scout Craigslist for used materials or look up your local habitat for humanity restore.

    Check out my creative use of two matching cabinets.

  5. auto5man

    auto5man Songster

    Jul 27, 2011
    All great suggestions above. Think outside the box to get a temporary coop, then yor girls can use that while you plan and take time building your more permanent structure. I used a tile pallet crate scrounged for free thrown away behind a discount building supply place. It is a four sided box with a bottom that I strung wire,hdwr cloth around and use a plywood board and tarp for the roof, my chickens (six) have been happily usung it since September. For four chickens you could even use one of those plastic little tykes houses. They can be found on Craigslist or on the curb regularly. Just think outside the box, it doesn't have to be the perfect looking structures you see featured here on BYC.

  6. MamaNini

    MamaNini In the Brooder

    Feb 28, 2012
    Harpers Ferry, WV
    I'd look around to see what you can build/ use quickly and cheaply... then work on something more permanent. When that gets finished, sell the first one. Once your chickens are in their "permanent" coop, think about how you'd like to improve it and build a new one... when it is finished, sell the old one... [​IMG]

    This may not be the best advice but it seems to be what I've been doing in search of building the perfect chicken tractor!!
  7. ColoradoMount

    ColoradoMount Hatching

    Apr 15, 2012
    Quote: We made the mistake of buying this book just before discovering this website... The plans in that book are good, but wasn't what we were looking for. There is way more information and design options on this website, so I would not bother with buying said book...
  8. sonjap

    sonjap In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2012
    Parker, CO
    This months Grit magazine had an article by someone who built a coop for $50. It's kinda of like a hoop house. He said it took him 4 hours to build and houses 30 chickens. I tried to find the article on their website, but it looks like you have to buy the magazine for it.
  9. Back on the Farm

    Back on the Farm Songster

    Mar 9, 2011
    I found this on the web: The PDF is free although it looks like they also have a newsletter for sale. The plans are what you get - not a lot of detail, just the layout with measurements and a material list. There are some photos that help. If you have any building experience - this will be easy. If not, it can take some figuring out. I do recommend not using traditional chicken wire, but hardware cloth instead because it is a bit more predator proof. This plan is designed for you to move the ark around your yard -it is heavy and I'm not even finished. I'm not planning on moving it around - I just got more chickens and need more space, so it is a second coop that will be inside my really big run, and I'm only building the 'house' part, not the run.

    In case the above link doesn't work - google Pasture poultry ark from UW cooperative extension

    Good luck.

  10. jerryb

    jerryb Chirping

    Oct 7, 2011
    Southern Michigan
    the plan above looks like a decent idea and should work well. But, IMO, it's built way too heavy. use 2x2 instead of 2x4 and 1/4 inch exterior plywood rather than 1/2 and I think it should be much easier to move and plenty strong enough. they use vinyl siding for the "roof" (very creative!) you could also use vinyl or aluminum soffit so grab what you can get for a good price, or as job site scraps.

    the hardware cloth is a good idea if you think there might be hungry critters around.


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by