Coop design question-start building today!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 7, 2011
Portland, Oregon
I start building today, even though the weather is windy/rainy/nasty. As soon as the wood order arrives, I start building the frame of the coop/run! I'm terrified! I've never done anything like this in my life! I've been researching for months, but every time I turn around there is another option staring me in the face. Oh well, no more dithering, I am starting today-the chicks need a home in a month (or less). The coop/run will be 13'L x 5'W x 6'H enclosed with hardware cloth (open air roof design) and have panels across the whole roof, and the coop will be built into the run, elevated 3' off the ground. I'm still deciding on the exact dimensions of the guys have too many good ideas! Now a question-is it better to have a tall but narrow coop, or a wider but shorter coop? I thought a coop that was longer would be better, since I could fit more roosts in at the same level. If I tried to build a taller coop but kept it narrower it seems like I would have all this vertical space but would it really be useful? One poster thought my first coop design would be too hard to maintain because the reach would be too far. I was thinking of doing a 5'L x 6'W x 3 'H with at least two full access doors. Is that just too hard to reach? Could I add another access door to the rear of the coop so I could reach it from 3 sides (4th will be the external nest box)? I'm limited because I've ordered wood, have a modified design ready to go (well, still more mods to come as I figure out what works) and don't have time right now to start all over. I'd like a full walk-in coop someday, but the elevated one seems like the best bet for now in the rainy NW.

post pics as you work if you can. i'm getting to build mine in the next week or so and keep seeing more great ideas here. thanks and good luck with it
If it were me, I would build it with the two access doors, but in the building process, keep in mind that you might remodel to add the third opening door. So frame your design, you only need to make the four cuts and add a couple of hinges and locking hasp for the third door, in my mind I'm basically thinking that the entire wall could be a door opening into the coop.
Welcome to the forum!

4' is about as deep as you can go for a comfortable "reach in" coop, in my opinion. I have one, with one whole wall that opens up for cleaning. It works quite well.

I would not recommend that you build a coop shorter than 4 feet either, and even that is pushing it a little. Why? Well, you'll want to put the roosts somewhere above the floor, right? The chickens will then have to get up and down off those roosts, and a standard, full grown adult chicken is more than 12" tall when the're standing normally (probably closer to 18 inches, but I can't go and measure one because I've just got bantams). So even if you put your roost at only 12" high, that plus the chicken are already up at around 3 feet. It's good to have a vent above the heads of chickens as they roost because you can leave that one open in the winter without danger of drafts, so add that all together and you're in the 4 foot range or even more.

The more doors you build, the more doors you'll have to secure from predators, and honestly the more of a headache for the builder. I'm no carpenter myself, and the doors were for me the hardest part to get right so there are no vulnerable gaps. Luckily I discovered shims, because the door frame I ended up with was not square. So I'd recommend you build just a single access door into your coop, but make it one that opens a whole wall, so you can really get good access out of it. Maybe something like this:


Just another though: wood and sheet goods come ready cut in 8 foot lengths, and a 4' x 8' sheet of T-11 can be cut in half for you at the store. Why not build based on multiples of 4? Fewer cuts, less waste.

Dive in! You'll make mistakes, you'll learn, and you'll have fun. Just remember to cut your pop door a few inches higher than floor level to take into account for the bedding inside the coop. That was one goof I made.
See, I love that idea. I really wish I had real construction skills, because I KNOW a door is pretty easy, but it's hard when you've never done it (or seen it done) before. I'm inclined towards my original size with lots of doors too.

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