Coop and Run Diagram - Need some building help/advice


In the Brooder
6 Years
Dec 25, 2013
Chester County, PA
Hi there!

Let me start off by saying, I've never really built anything you could remotely call a "structure" in my life. However, I really want to attempt to build our own chicken coop for 3-4 chickens and a run and I think that my husband and I can do it as long as it isn't too complicated or too expensive. I'm a thrifty person so the lower the cost, the much, much better.

Here are two photos of the diagram I drew up for our 4x6 coop and 6x8 run.

The first photo shows the coop from the outside along with the adjoining run. Some concerns I have are that I will have to use two separate sheets of plywood for the sides in order to make the run tall enough and I was wondering how that would work out. I'm thinking of laying two sheets of plywood out vertically so that the seam between them falls at 36" and will be at the halfway point of the coop length and then cutting accordingly. If I do this, what should I do at the seam? Do I need to reinforce it outside/inside with a cleat of some kind? I don't mind if it looks a little shabby as long as it's visually balanced and not looking too piecemeal. Or should I add some kind of siding over top the entire side of plywood? I only worry that something like that could be costly.

The second photo shows a diagram of what I hope the inside of the coop to look like. My questions here are: do I need to have more than one cleat running along the back and side walls? Currently, my sketch just has one on each wall to help with wall support and to help support the roost. Additionally, the model/instructions I'm following are for a 4x3 coop. That isn't big enough for us so I'm making it 4x6 instead. The instructions for the smaller coop have me making only two frames (think cube). Can I get away with that if I'm extending the length or do I need to do three frames (the third one would be in the middle.) If I did do a third frame, it would actually fall where the seam would be for the two pieces of plywood (mentioned above). Would that be good/bad/not matter? I was planning on using 2x2s for the frames, are they strong enough?

Sorry for all the questions. If anything is confusing, please ask. I tried to describe my plans as best as I could. I look forward to some help...any help would be appreciated.


Dec 16, 2015
I don't think anyone can teach you a thing about planning a chicken coop :) that is one incredible plan. Woah! as Neo would say.

I just got home from the local hardware store with a trailer full of wood. Not an average trailer either, it's a really really long trailer that does about 3 times as much as a box trailer. It was chock full of wood. Thing is, it cost me nothing at all.


No No it's not like that

Thing is, businesses have to PAY GOOD MONEY to throw stuff out. So they're more than happy for people to take away their wooden pallets for free. Some pallets are returnable, you don't want those, you want ' non-returnable pallets ' ask and the guy on their dock will know. I got totally loaded up with Goodness only knows how many hundreds of dollars worth of timber, plus I get nails for free to pull out, straighten, and put back in WooHoo !!! hehe.

When you get your wood for free, it makes all those questions really easy because you don't need just two frames, you can skip three frames and go for six. Lol. And if it doesn't suit, you can rip it out and do over and any wood you wreck in the process is no problem.

You could use a sander to make the oldest rattiest wood look new again but I never do, I use the circular table saw because it is faster.


9 Years
Jul 18, 2013
Kalispell MT
Since you live where there is snow you might want to consider a sloped roof. Snow can get heavy. A sloped roof will also be less likely to leak when it rains. A flat roof can have places where puddles of water collect, slowly dripping into the coop. To do that and still use your 4 by 8 sheet of plywood for the roof you will need to make your coop just a bit more narrow.

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jan 30, 2015
Looks like a good plan to me. A couple of observations that may (I hope) help.

1. Putting food and water outside the coop will free more space, stop either being soiled and make cleaning easier (chickens do not need access to either when they roost at night)

2. Putting an angled roof on top of the nest boxes will prevent your chickens using them as roosting areas (providing the angle of the roof is sufficiently steep to stop them standing, and thus roosting on them.

3. No harm in adding an additional roost bar and it's more than likely that you will want more chooks in the future - we all do:D

Al the best with your build and do send pics of the finished product please!



9 Years
Jul 18, 2013
Kalispell MT
Also, your roosts should be below your upper vents so that no wind blows on the chickens. You also might want to rethink having the water inside the coop. In the winter the last thing you need is more moisture in the coop. There is a lot of moisture between the birds breathing and pooing. To keep the birds warm in winter you need to get that moisture out of the coop. I covered an area on the run so that they have a snow free area to go outside. That is where they have their food and water. It's also a convenience if you have a way to get to the nests from the outside without having to open up the coop.

Ballerina Bird

5 Years
Aug 29, 2014
I agree with the suggestion to keep food and water in the run rather than the coop. They won't need it at night, and I've found that the less stuff is in the coop, the easier it is to keep it as clean and dry as possible in there, which is important for their health.

If you have the food and water in the run, you will want to have some kind of overhang or at least partial solid roof over the feeders so that they don't get wet in bad weather.

In fact, I would also agree with the sloped roof suggestion for the whole run -- I just put one on this year, and it has made things a lot easier to not have a muddy run to deal with. The girls like it, too.

Awesome plans, btw! I wish I could draw such nice ones.


5 Years
May 5, 2014
I like your drawing and I think that it has great potential. Using 2x2s for the run is ok since it isn't bearing much weight, but I would definitely use 2x4s for the coop. They are usually less than $0.80 more per board and much sturdier. Any wood touching the ground should be pressure treated. Most walls have 2x4 studs nailed 16 inches apart from the center of each board, but you can probably get away with 24 inches in between. All seams of your panels should be nailed to a stud or they will be unstable. You can have one seam at 4 feet and then cut a 4x8 panel into a 2x8 and attached it next to the 4 foot panel for the 6 foot wall. When you nail one panel seam to the middle of a stud and the second seam right next to it on the same stud, leave an 1/8 of an inch gap between connecting seams to allow for expansion. To cover up the outside of the seam, use a 1x2 furring strip of wood and nail it over the seam. Use some paintable caulk along the edges of the strip to seal everything. As long as you paint the outside with exterior paint, you do not need to put on more siding although most hardware stores sell a treated wood siding panel that you can use by itself. I read Building Chicken Coops for Dummies to learn about the basics when I first started out years ago. You may be able to get it at the library. I especially recommend going to the top of the page on to the tab that says Coops. Once your on the coop page, click on the ones listed as medium coops. There are similar coops to yours and many of the posts contain step by step pictures of the building of their coops. I wasn't sure how you were building the floor of your coop based on your drawings, but I'm sure that you have it figured out. I hope this helps and I look forward to seeing your coop in the future.
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Jan 3, 2016
My Coop
My Coop
Can I get away with that
I wouldn't skimp on the frame. You're better off having additional support than not enough (you know how you find out you should have had more? It falls down, or goes wonky. It's not worth finding out). If you've got a sturdy frame, you can always replace the cladding or the roof, hang more "stuff" off it. You might be able to get away with less, but what if you find that ply isn't lasting as a roofing material and you'd like something else which is heavier? Be economical with other things, but not the frame, IMO.


Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
Southern Oregon

Great feedback above.

I just want to add, if you hang your waterer from the roost, you'll have poopy water every single morning. Chickens poop a lot when they sleep. You might want to research poop boards for ease of cleaning.

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