Hubby said YES!!!! Now what? I need HELP! :D


8 Years
Nov 28, 2011
Carver, Oregon
My hubby and I have been discussing starting our flock for quite a while now and just the other day, he finally (FINALLY) said he was ready to build me a coop!!!! I am beyond excited! I've spent so much time waiting on him and researching what ladies I want to fill my coop with that, now that he's on board, I don't know what to do!

He told me to draw up a coop design for him and I'm working on that, but, I don't know exactly what I want. I know we want it at least 2" off the ground, single slant roof, external nesting boxes, but, other than that, I'm not sure. What features on your coop could you not live without?

Any advice on inexpensive materials? I know he's got some 4x8's and 4x6's set aside for the coop and a bunch of 2x4's, etc. We don't have much cash to throw at this thing, so, I want to make every penny count and get what we can for free. Any tips? Designs?

Thanks in advance. I can't wait to get this coop going!


8 Years
Apr 12, 2011
Portland, OR
Always ask about factory seconds. I got shingles at $9/bundle when brand new was $26. They work fine just aren't pretty. I got seconds on T-1-11, $11 a sheet versus $24 new. Works fine
Habitat For Humanity - mixed reactions on this, it depends a lot on your location. I've heard lots of likes and many upset over "overpriced junk." I personally spent $74 there on probably $350 worth of stuff from Home Depot. It blew my mind, I've been a strong supporter ever since.
Learn your facts. If your winters are mild and summers aren't too bad, don't blow your wad insulating a coop, chickens don't risk death until it gets in the negatives farenheit. Friend wasted a bunch on just that.

I'm excited for you. My dad is retired and he said for my birthday in June we should father son tagteam a new coop, cause mine was pathetic and he has real building experience. Nothing more fun than planning out exactly what you want. I recommend building BIG, much bigger than the flock you want currently. I had 12 chickens and I wanted a coop that could fit around 30, I built my coop and now I wish one that could fit 50. My coop is 120 square feet, 10'x12' I expect it can fit around 35-38 chickens max, as they free range and winters are so mild in my area they are never inside, cramped.

As for your other question, and sorry to be long winded, depending on your climate check out the PVC waterer. That's my biggest problem and I plan on addressing it after winter. A big feeder is easy to design, but a bowl of water is easy to knock over. I have to refill their water normally twice a day to ensure they don't run out. Efficient feeders and waterers will be your best friend. Also I've heard using sand beneath the perches is wonderful. Like a litter box for your sleeping poop machines. I hear you can just get a metal rake and sweep it like a kitty litter box. Ok, sorry for that 3 page message. Good luck.
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8 Years
May 14, 2011

I got a cull pack from Lowes for a fraction of the cost of what the lumber was originally. Check Craigs list for cheap or free materials.
You will want windows that you can close and an easy way to clean it. You can make windows with plexiglass or get them really cheap on craigs list or from a used materials supplier in your area.

For me I could not live without the linoleum on the floor and poop boards. It makes cleaning so easy.
I also like that I can walk into my coop. I have power in the coops and can run tools or heated waterers that way.
Please be sure to go to the coops pages and check it out. There are so many different and wonderful coops on it. Tons of ideas and pictures.
Happy chickening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


8 Years
Jan 30, 2011
Western montana
How many birds? I say good windows, even if you use plexiglas glass, sunshine is a plus on all sides. Can not tell you much unless you tell us how many birds, how big it will be etc. Also are they going to free range or be in a pen? If a pen I say make the pop door to open out side the fence lol. My next coop will have a weighted door and opens out side the pen!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Nov 18, 2011
Nr Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK
i'm new to all this chicken stuff too, when i built mine i listed the chickens needs and designed around that, they were (in no particular order): chicken entrance / exits, poo removal access, human access to clean coop out, perches, nest boxes and ventilation. i hope this helps



13 Years
Mar 29, 2009
Coastal Southern California
Hopefully you've already perused the coop pages here on BYC - there are so many great ideas.

The feature of our coop that I couldn't live without is the "chunnel" my husband designed that allows the girls to freely move between the pen and coop. At night we drop a sliding plastic door for safety and coop warmth. But all day long they have access to the pen so even if we're gone and can't let them out to free-range, they have the choice of being safely outdoors or indoors.


I also really like that our coop has a walk-in human-sized door. I have back problems so can't get down on my hands and knees to clean so that's important to me. More expensive, of course, but since I clean the coop out every single day, it makes a big difference to be able to easily access it.



9 Years
Aug 1, 2010
Western WI
I love free and cheap coop material, too. Try an internet search for free things in your area. I live near St Paul/Minneapolis and we have a site called People with leftover materials or stuff from remodels can post the stuff. I snagged a nest box door, shingles, and people doors from the site. Also see if Habitat for Humanity has a ReStore in your area. Check local contractors for leftovers (ask first before taking) or tear outs that are headed for the dump like old windows. Shipping places might have pallets you can take for wood. Check lumber yards for "seconds" or slightly damaged goods that will work. Hope this helps.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 21, 2011
I am glad to hear that you are getting a flock of chickens. Some tips I have found useful. Keeping the coop off the ground is a great idea. It prevents night time animals from digging under to get to your birds. I know this next idea is kinda costly but it helps - insulation. If you insulate the coop it will keep the birds warm in the winter. It may not be an issue where you live but in some places around the world you'll need it. I built the windows to where they have heavy duty wire on them. Why? Because I have hot summers reaching up to 115 degrees so I like to open the windows at night to keep the birds as cool as I can. But opening the windows allows predators to enter the coop. Some if you put the heavy duty fenceing up the creatures can't get in. In my coop I put in 2 roosting bars for them to sleep on. Mainly because I wanted to give the chickens options. you don't have to do this. My biggest tip of all is to go to home depot and buy the plastic concrete mixing tubs. Place those under the roosting bars. So, it will catch the poop your chickens will drop at night. It keeps the coop sooooo much cleaner. The chickens stay outside for most of the day so they don't poop much in the coop. They only stay on the bar at night so that is where the poop falls. When the bin fills up too much just dump it out and set it back down. It will save money in the long run. So you don't have to keep buying pine chips for on the floor. Because those will stay clean if you set those down right under the bar. Chickens like to have the nesting boxes above floor height. So just raise those up 6 inches and they are happy. Lastly, put locks on the coop doors and lock them at night. It has to be something a toddler can't open. Simply because racoons have a mind that is equal to one of a toddler. I lock my coop up to prevent creatures like that from entering. I hope this info helps you out. Good luck to you, your husband, and your future flock.
You will find that raising chickens is a fun experience.


In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 6, 2010
We used tin for the roof. We also just had to put hardware cloth over the chicken wire because of critters and dogs so I suggest hardware cloth instead of chicken wire.
I agree with having one that you can walk in. Mine wasn't built that way and it's a total pain to try and clean it or access anything.

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