Debate: Is it cheaper to buy a shed and convert it, or build a coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ptig78d, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. ptig78d

    ptig78d Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Bucksport, ME
    Good day, fellow BYCers! I hope you and your flocks are all doing well!
    Our flock is growing...from the 6 BR chicks we got last spring, to the 16 chickens we have now....our newest ones being 2 Silverspeckled Hamburgs I got in June from our local Blue Seal feed store, and the 2 Americaunas (beautiful birds!) I got from Solsken Farm two days ago.
    I have a lady on my mail route that has some chickens left over..there was a guy coming to take them all, but he left 7 of she said I could have them all for 15 bucks. So, the flock might be a little bigger now. Oh yeah, and we have a broody Phoenix hen sitting on a few eggs....I seperated her and converted the dog crate we had for the babies into a broody box for her...all it took was a staple gun and and old t-shirt.
    So....we've decided that we're going to pay the 25 bucks for a building permit from the town....(I saw a post about making a portable coop on skids...but I don't have the materials or a tractor to move one) So, we're going to have build a bigger one now.
    If you don't know from my page (when did I last update that??) I converted an old dog house into a coop and we got some fence sections from someone who had them laying around behind their barn.....and due to my back-door neighbor's inability to keep his dogs on his own property despite numerous calls to the local PD and animal control, I bought some plastic poultry fencing and made a 50' x 50' run.
    So, to my question....would it be cheaper to buy a shed and convert it into a chicken coop, or just build one from the ground up? I know that if I build one, I can put windows and design it how I want....but I'm also looking at time since my wife works full time and I'll be going back to school in the fall for my A.S. degree.
    What do you all think?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Generally speaking it is cheapest to build your own coop. It can range from *very very very* cheap (if you use scrounged materials) to merely being able to build the same type product as a good-quality kit or prefab would give you, only a bit cheaper. (Of course if you go all berzerk it is certainly possible to spend *more* building it yourself, but paying attention to budget will prevent that [​IMG])

    Building your own will also give you a better quality (fit, finish, durability) than most prefabs or kits, which are often very cheesily constructed from cheesy materials. And you can very easily make it exactly the way you want (tho see previous paragraph about budget)

    OTOH it will take longer and more energy (both physical and mental), depending on how comfortable you are with the processes and how picky you are about Wanting What You Want.

    I would guess that the optimal solution for you, if both time and budget are somewhat of an issue, would be to find a secondhand shed in good condition and move/convert it. Of course this is contingent on whether you CAN find something that suits you, in your intended time frame, but in many regions (at least) you would have a reasonable shot at it.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    We had thought it would be cheaper to build it, but it ended up costing the same as a much larger shed, and taking 3 weekends. Next time we're getting the kit. Since it's the end of summer sheds may be going on sale soon.
  4. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    We had thought it would be cheaper to build it, but it ended up costing the same as a much larger shed, and taking 3 weekends.

    I ditto that. I thought I'd never get all the little things finished either. And even 9 months later I still haven't finished covering the vents under the roof overhang.

    Quote:I was going to suggest a used shed too. I've seen many on Craigslist around here.

    When I wanted a second coop this spring, I bought a prefab one made by Amish. I'm very pleased. The walls and pop doors I put in were easy and quick. Not cheap, but worth it.​
  5. Garlydog

    Garlydog In the Brooder

    Jul 20, 2009
    Joliet, IL
    Quote:That sounds interesting. Did you buy it on-line? Or someone local? Can you PM me some specifics? Or just post them here?

  6. wombat

    wombat Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    It depends on how handy you are with tools, how particular you are about what you end up with, and what it needs to look like.

    Coops hand-built from scrap wood are cheap, but they tend to look like they've been built from scrap wood. [​IMG] (Unless you've got a wide selection of nice scrap wood, and are a pro at putting it to use!) This might or might not be what you want, depending on your neighborhood.

    Coops built from new lumber will set you back quite a bit, and may be no cheaper than a converted shed by the time you add in your labor, but if you're skilled with tools, you can build exactly what you want. You might be able to scavange some scrap wood, but buy some new materials to make up what you're short, with good results.

    I considered converting a new "kit" shed, but the materials that came with the kit shed were so inferior that I decided against it. The ones I looked at were low-grade 2"x3" studs with crap 1/4" grooved plywood for the exterior. I could have put my forehead right through the wall of them if I were so inclined. The hinges and latches were tiny, and I'd have been better served with replacement ones from the start.

    I was second-guessing my decision all summer, though ... we had a lot of rain early on, and every day after work and half the weekends seemed to bring rain. It seemed like I'd never get the new coop built. The costs mounted too, as I ran back to the hardware store to add this or that to it.

    Still, now that it is done, I'm glad I built it the hard way. We built interior and exterior walls, put insullation between them, painted the inside with an easy-wash high gloss paint, built a pull-out tray floor for easy cleaning, and covered the real floor and the tray with vinyl flooring. The insullation has been keeping the coop cool through the heat of summer, and it's peace of mind for the cold of winter as well. I splurged a bit and put fiber-cement siding on the outside, too. It was a lot of work, but I don't expect I'll be out there tearing off rotting plywood and replacing it in a couple of years, and those kit sheds would have probably resulted in that!
  7. Bigdaddy101

    Bigdaddy101 In the Brooder

    Jul 24, 2009
    I like a happy medium between the two. I try to find free or cheap sheds, carports, etc. These structure have proiveded me with the most expensive portion of building, and that has been the roof for me. The problem with converting is that you are constrained by size. If you build from scratch you can make whatever size you need or want to fit your space, flock, and your creativity.
    This is a picture of a pseudo-tractor I built from an old door and 2X material salvaged from exterior steps. It is three stories tall. I have silkies in it now, but i think it is even to small for them, I will probably put my bantoms in there eventially.
  8. I have built 3, 6ft x 8ft x 8ft high coops since the spring and they cost around (material costs fluctuate a bit) $300 each. I used 9/16" OSB for the floors and sides (painted) in lieu of PT Plywood. Studs are all PT. Roofing material is painted metal "seconds" from a local metal roofing company. Roofing cost $1.20 - $1.40 ft. I tried to find a "repossessed" pre-fab building, but at the time the cheapest I could find was nearly $1000

    My vote is build it yourself

    Hope that helps
  9. bantiesrule

    bantiesrule Songster

    Dec 1, 2008
    Long Prairie, MN
    It all depends on what you can find to convert and how much work it would be. I found an old trailer house entry for $100 and in one weekend my husband and I walled in the fourth side and got it painted. I didn't take pictures before or while we were working on it but here it is all done and I'm very happy with it.

    Here's the front

    The back

    And the inside

    We had some old home-cut lumber to wall it up and my BIL had some old siding (that matched even). Living in Minnesota, we insulated the wall we did-the rest was insulated already. All total, I don't think it cost over $200.
  10. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    DH and I found a repo 10x16 shed, built by Mennonites, that is very sturdy! He says we couldn't have built anything comparable for the same amount. It will have 5 coop areas in it, plus an area for the incubators, brooders, and supplies. has pics.

    It was a lot less than the full price, had a partial loft & some shelves built in already. But it was a lot more than I wanted to spend at once... With both of us working full time, and 2 teen daughters, we'd never have had time to build this though.

    The only flaws were oil stains on the floor, which we'll cover, and some cosmetic dings in the wood exterior.

    I figure we saved ourselves months of stress by buying it. And now we can work on refitting it for the breeder pens I want!

    I checked craigslist for our area, but no sheds. And I called a couple of places where I'd seen old office buildings (for new housing developments) but never could find someone who'd tell me if they wanted the old 'office' sheds on the sites.

    Our new shed was delivered yesterday and I LOVE it!!

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