how to build a coop

chicken girl 8

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 30, 2012
i know that there is a different place to look at coops on this website but can you post some directions on how to build one and some pics please?
i need help!
Depends on what your needs are... how many chickens namely. There are pre-made ones you can buy, kits, use an existing structure, or buy a small storage building and convert it to fit your needs. Take a look at the coops tab here, go into small, medium, and large. There are literally hundreds people have built and posted pictures of. As far as a step-by-step instruction manual on how to build a coop, I don't think you'll find it.
I agree, we need a little more information about your needs..

A few questions: How many chickens do you want? Do you live in a restricted area or in the country/rural area?
What's the weather where you live? Really cold/tropical or somewhere in between??
What are your building skills?

If you live in a gated community/ city/town you will need permission on your chickens and coop. Many have detailed restrictions.. Be sure to check those first.
If you live in the country you can build anything...

If you will where the weather has really cold long periods or snow/ice you will need a large coop that they can spend time in when it's frightful outside. BUT if you live in where it's warm all yr long -you might get away with just a secure run with a top and nest boxes.
Building skills?? You might want to hire someone if you don't have the skill or tools to do it.. Tools are expensive and before you know it--you could have purchased a small coop..
I built my coop 8'x7'. It is dirt floored, the girls love to scratch and dig in the dirt. It is tall enough for me to walk in it and the roof slopes so that the rain runs away from the coop. I trenched on one side to divert water from the next yard from running in the coop. It has lots of hardware cloth for plenty of ventilation and air as the climate here is hot.

Tell us a little more about your needs and how many chickens you have. There is no one size fits all coop. Some people spend lots of money for the perfect coop, some slap up orange plastic snow fence around a doghouse. A lot of us scrounge used lumber and pallets. There are as many ways to build a coop as there are chickens. It also depends on what predators you have. A neighbor's dog can wipe you out, or a raccoon, hawks, possums, or maybe you live in bear country. When you get chickens, you have to remember that other animals like chickens as much as you do.
well i live in hot climate in Austin TX so i need windows or something and my dad is going to he is a great builder so what ever you have and i am wanting to have 4 chickens and a roster.
well i live in hot climate in Austin TX so i need windows or something and my dad is going to he is a great builder so what ever you have and i am wanting to have 4 chickens and a roster.:jumpy

That helps, especially that you are in Austin. That is a warm climate. You have absolutely no worries about cold weather. Chickens can handle cold climates really well with a bare minimum of help, but in your climate heat is going to be your enemy and danger. Chickens can die because of too much heat. I did a quick check. Your average temperatures in the winter aren't bad at all, but you can get down to around zero. When looking at these things you need to look at extremes, not averages.

What you need is lots of ventilation. Lots. They need good ventilation in cold climates too but it is essential in your area for the summer. I'll give you a few articles that I think you should read before you build a coop. The cold weather one doesn't really apply top you but it’s such a good article I’ll include it.

Pat’s Big Ol' Ventilation Page

Pat’s Cold Coop (winter design) page:

Pat’s Big Ol' Mud Page (fixing muddy runs):

For five chickens, you have a whole lot of options as to the type of coop you can build. From a ventilation viewpoint, I'd have a fair amount of ventilation over their heads when they are sleeping that remains open all year long. It’s real hard to have too much of this type of ventilation, even in really cold climates. In Austin, I’d suggest having a lot of ventilation at or better below where they sleep that can be open most of the time. You could probably get away with one side being just wire, not solidly closed in as long as it is not open to your prevalent winds in the winter. If you want, you could have a way to block that off if the weather got into the teens Fahrenheit just to keep the winds off them.

Another thing I’ll talk about is space. It’s hard to give them too much space. You can squeeze them in too tightly and get behavioral problems. There is no magic number as to how much space you need. That depends on a lot of things, climate, the personality of your chickens, your flock make-up, and especially how you manage them. There is a rule of thumb on this forum to start with 4 square feet per chicken in the coop with 10 square feet per chicken in the run, but that is just a starting point for people with no experience with chickens. It will keep most people out of trouble in most circumstances. It’s also more than the absolute minimum a lot of us need, but it is better to have too much than too little.

If you give them access to space outside the coop when they are awake, your coop does not need to be that big. If you leave them locked in there during their waking hours, the coop needs to be at least that big or maybe bigger. I always argue for more space rather than less for a few reasons. The more space you give them, the less hard you normally have to work. Poop management, for example. The more they are spread out, the less often you probably have to manage the poop. You’ll still get a concentration under the roosts you’ll probably have to deal with, but that is contained to one area.

The other reason for more space rather than less is the more space you have, the more flexibility you have to deal with issues that come up. If you have a predator problem, it is nice to be able to lock them in a safe coop while you deal with that predator. Sometimes that can take days. If you want a broody to hatch and raise chicks for you or you want to integrate new chickens, that goes a lot easier if you have extra space.

Most building materials come in 4’ and 8’ dimensions. If you plan it right, you can often get a larger coop with less cutting and waste and not much more expense by planning around those dimensions.

As far as type of coop and coop plans, you have all kinds of options. In Austin pretty is probably important to you. It often is in suburbia to help keep the neighbors happy. Chickens really don’t care how cute it is, but many times humans do.

You can get plans at the top of this page in the coops section. You can get a book from the library on building sheds. All a shed needs to become a coop is a roost, nest boxes, ventilation, and a way for the chickens to get in and out. Places like Home Depot and Lowe’s usually have books on how to build a shed that can be really useful. You can get those prefab buildings and convert them. You are really only limited by your imagination.

I’m not going to suggest any one type of coop to you, there are so many that can work for you. What I suggest is that you read the articles I gave you, decide what you want the coop to do, then talk it over with your father since he is going to do most of the building.

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