Do you need carpentry experience to build a coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SillyChick, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. SillyChick

    SillyChick Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    Hello [​IMG] Sorry! This question is very unnecessary, but....... [​IMG]


    Do you need good carpentry or architectural experience to build chicken coops and other chicken projects? Well, a stupid question. I got several chicken ideas flowing in my mind..........but I don't think I can make it on my own, even if I have all the time........We got our coop by hiring a carpenter. We have all the items: lots of wood(old though), nails, hammer, saw, measuring tools, etc.

    Should I study about carpentry first before I can build a coop and other chicken projects(like a big chicken feeder or a special chick coop)?

    Thanks in advance to all opinions........ :|
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  2. I don't have any real experience, either, except going out and doing stuff. I think the more you try, the more you'll see what you can and can't do with your own tools/time/energy. I'd definitely give the smaller projects a try. You'll probably build a lot of confidence and feel able to try bigger things. [​IMG]
  3. palabeco

    palabeco Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    S.W. PA
    We built our chicken coop with no experience, it took about 2 months, but it was fun. Maybe you could buy a diy book for shed building from lowes or home depot,
  4. SillyChick

    SillyChick Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    Thanks for the confidence boosts, everyone. It made me feel better. [​IMG]

    I'm wondering what small projects I could start with.........a brooder, maybe? Yes, we could really use one made of wood..... [​IMG]

    Thanks again! More opinions are appreciated!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2008
  5. crysmom

    crysmom Songster

    Sep 24, 2007
    I had no experience building, and no experience with power tools especially the skill saw.

    My husband had surgery and couldn't do my coop up and I felt like I wanted it now, so I built a tractor out of wood and supplies we had, I had the kids help me hold things, eventually I needed to use the saws, and my husband told me what to do from the chair. I completed the tractor all by myself, and It doesn't leak there is nice ventilation and even buil in nest boxes [​IMG] I say go for it, especially if the supplies are laying around your house, then you aren't even spending money
  6. RepoBob

    RepoBob Songster

    Nov 25, 2007
    Its a very good way to get experience. I don't think you need a course, just look closely at how people do it here. I've not seen a bad coop here yet. Pay attention to structrual components. The way you face a 2x4 makes adifference. Look at the pictures carefully and do the same you'll be fine.

    Oh yea, before you start buy some band aids and keep them close by [​IMG]

  7. professor_yellow

    professor_yellow In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2008
    Do it yourself. No need to buy a book which will be way overkill anyway.
    just keep the dimensions simple. A sheet of plwood is 8x4 feet
    Make the dimensions in 2 foot increments to keep down elaborate cutting.

    My duck house is 4x6, the chicken house is 12x6, and the meat bird house is 6x8, since I have a free truck canopy to use as the roof.

    If it is big enough and you plan to clean it and walk around in it instead of from the outside, use 2x6 dimensional lumber for the flooring. The rest can be 2x4, nd roof even 1x3 by ripping 2x6 in half.

    The first coop I designed and built was in 7th grade (1971) for an extra credit project in my drafting class, and I have built everal from that basic design ever since.

    Use 16 penny nails to attach studs and 8 penny for sheathing,

    Roof is your choice of material. I like to use whatever I can pick up free or almost free. Hope this helps a little. Email me your dimensions, and maybe I can take a look.
  8. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Songster

    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    It does help if you can find someone that's done some framing work to kind of help you on the first one. That said, there's nothing like figuring it out for yourself.

    It is a little easier if you have a plan to work from. Here's a site that gives you some basic plans:

    go for it and remember, the first one is going to be too small too soon, so you'll have a second chance to build a bigger one the right way.
  9. Marlinchaser

    Marlinchaser Songster

    Oct 18, 2007
    Quote:Maybe start with a nest box (mostly square, and not very big.

    I prefer to use screws, not as hard as nails, and easier to undo something. I agree with Yellow, except if it is small enough you can use 2x3 which will save you a couple of dollars.

    Another thing I try to do is use my material wisely:
    Plywood comes 4x8 So I try to use best dementions for that 3foot wide you loose a foot , and if 5 foot wide you have to cut another piece to get to 5 foot and you then have another seam(which would have to fall on a stud)

    and remember measure 2x cut once
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Of course you can!

    Professoryellow's advice about using 'normal lumber dimensions' is very wise, it will simplify your life considerably, you should heed it [​IMG]

    If you really want a practice project before you build a coop, build a storage chest for your garage, or a very simple kid's playhouse, or a doghouse. But I don't really think that's really necessary as long as you are prepared to be sorta slow and careful and doublecheck things as you go along building a coop.

    The simplest thing would be to find good detailed plans for a simple structure that could serve as a coop. I would suggest looking at your hardware store or in library or bookstore books -- you want plans for kids' playhouses or small storage sheds, without lotsa foofy complications or fancy rooflines or porches, just a big box. There are PLENTY such plans out there.

    The simplest thing is to pick one with a shed roof (a single slope from one side to the opposite side), but a gable roof (the stereotypical house roof, ridge along the center of it) isn't that bad. Do NOT choose any other, or any fancier, roof, you will regret it.

    Get a circular saw and READ THE MANUAL, esp. the part where it tells you what to do and what not to do. If you are concerned, get a book out of the library for additional info/advice on using power tools -- ask the librarian. (You *could* do it with just a handsaw, but it is really aggravating to have to cut sheets of plywood by hand, and as you will probably be using plywood I wouldn't recommend it for your first project). Also get a power drill, cheap and non-cordless is fine, with a basic set of bits and driver bits. And a hammer. Before you go cutting/drilling/hammering on your Actual Project Pieces, get some scrap pieces to practice on so your work will be less hairy-looking when you cut/drill/hammer on the coop [​IMG] You will also need a good measuring tape, several pencils for when you lose the first one, and three dozen trips to the hardware store for nails or staples or hinges that you have just now discovered you need [​IMG]

    But really, you know, it will work out FINE. Woobly structures can be braced and shored up considerably after the fact if need be; paint will hide a multitude of sins; and at the end of the day, remember, It's Only A Chicken Coop. It does not have to be the Taj Mahal and it does not have to be able to withstand nuclear war. Your chickens will be fine, pretty much no matter HOW you slap the thing together.

    And you will have acquired some VERY useful skills, and had fun, and invented some new swear words, and have something you can look at and really feel good about yourself for having done. Go do it! [​IMG]


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: