Least inexpensive coop that still looks nice

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blessedmamato3, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. blessedmamato3

    blessedmamato3 In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi everyone,

    We'll be getting about 20 chicks this week and will need to pull a coop together pretty quickly. We'll need space for about 15 adults. We'd like to stay in the $200-300 range. Anyone have any ideas or point us to where to look? I received free plans for a nice coop, but it's way out of our budget.

    Also, at how many weeks should I expect to have to transfer the hens to the coop? We have mostly Rhode Island Reds, with a handful of Black Broilers.

    We're in North Texas if that helps with design for weather.

  2. cupman

    cupman Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    You got some time. I think most typically move their chicks out to the coop at anywhere from 5 weeks to 8 weeks roughly. I'm sure there's exceptions. As far as designs go I would just browse through this forum, people are so creative. 200-300 dollar range is a good one, I actually just began plans for a new coop myself in about that same price range. No plans yet, however, but OSB(oriented strand board) and 2x4's are awfully cheap. For 15-20 hens you could probably get by with an 8x8 floor. OSB comes in 4x8 foot pieces so if you laid 2 pieces on some cinder blocks as your floor that could be a good start.. build up some walls out of OSB and a door. The roof is the tricky part, you could probably even use OSB for that if you put it on a slant. You might want to shingle it, but I'm unsure the price on that.

    Anyways I'm getting long winded so I'll wrap this up. In my experience the most expensive piece of the entire construction job is the hardware cloth. If you attach a run to your coop you'll need some. I wouldn't be surprised if 70% of your total cost came down to pure hardware cloth. I hate buying hardware cloth. 4x8 foot OSB boards cost about 6 dollars and cinder blocks only about 2 dollars. Another cost that seems to add up quick is the little things, like screws, hinges, latches, paint(optional), wood shavings, etc. But I bet you for $300 you guys could build a pretty neat house capable of filling your desired flock size. Watch for designs here, most people are WAY more creative than me, you'll find some good ones. Best of luck.
  3. WishboneDawn

    WishboneDawn In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Are you looking for used materials? We let people know we're building a coop and now we've been gifted with lumber, plywood, windows, deck blocks, a door and a small dog pen (we've been using it as a tractor for the meaties). We have leftover shingles for the roof. That cuts down what we need to purchase by quite a bit. We have bought a much bigger dog pen for a permanent run attached to the coop (used!) and a roll of hardware cloth but that's probably most of what we'll need to purchase. That puts us at about $200 and there's enough materials that we can be a little choosy about the plans.
  4. lynn1961

    lynn1961 Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    south central Oklahoma
    Hi, southern oklahoma here. We use a pole shed ( salvaged materials ) with windows (salvaged ) that you can open and shut depending on the weather. Put you coop where you can get the best air flow, since our summer weather is so hot. Nest box's made out of old kitchen cabinet drawers ( salvaged ) painted the outside barn red. The chickens don't care where they sleep. As far as the roost, a ladder type has worked well. And litter (such as shredded paper ) makes cleaning out the chicken coop so much easier.
  5. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    Just an example. I'm already around $400 with my coop which is my design, which may be my problem, and haven't gotten the siding, interior paneling, nor insulation. I've not been able to find much of anything at a bargain. I did get a 48 inch roll of hardware cloth at 25% off cause it had the plastic wrapping removed. But that's been it. These things get more expensive as you go. 2X4's around here are selling for $3 each.

    Good luck on staying in your range.
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    In N. Texas, you guys probably get NO winters do you?? So that should make things cheaper, because you can probably go with a very simple, open air type coop, spending most of your money on an ample run.... Your main cost for that kind of set-up will be in sturdy wire.
  7. Chemguy

    Chemguy Songster

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    [​IMG] I'm in the process of building as nice a coop as I can, as cheaply as possible. Like WishboneDawn said, if you let others know you are building, it's likely you will have many offers of free odds and ends. That has been my own experience. So far, I have been able to use (or will use) everything that has been provided to me. I'm sure that at some point I will look at my donor materials and ask myself what I was thinking when I said yes, but so far so good. [​IMG]

    Another thing that I've noticed is that once I started looking for free materials they were everywhere! I have seen many nice coops built from wood salvaged out of shipping pallettes, and I've 'rescued' some of these myself. I did learn, however, that palettes are a mixed bag. Most aren't worth the free wood they are made of; a few are. Plus, there are a lot of fasteners (staples, nails) to be removed. I don't mind doing that and have managed to build up a large pile of good quality rough-cut 1'x4' boards. The rest (well, the non-treated stuff) goes into the burn pit for a night with friends around a bonfire.

    One aspect of building cheaply that I had to recognize and accept early on is that I had to allow my design to change a bit as materials became available. The main goal is to complete the coop as quickly as possible, not to complete the coop *exactly* as I envision AND as quickly as possible. I envisioned a batten-board exterior made from pallette wood until someone offered some treated plywood. Now, I will finish the coop with a plywood exterior, and resume pallette salvaging after it is built for the batten-board. I have therefore also learned to be patient and go with the flow, which saves me money.

    Cupman is right about the main costs when building on the cheap. Sometimes you just have to buy new material. The fencing material and fasteners shouldn't be used, they should be new, and they can cost a bit. Horse fencing and welded wire are cheaper here, so I'll go with those for the run. I'll just place a skirt of hardware cloth around the bottom of the run.

    I haven't totalled up my own costs yet, but estimate that my 4'x8' raised coop with a 20'x30' enclosed run will cost me about $100 for wood (posts are hard to come by here), $150 for fasteners and other hardware, and likely $300+ for fencing to keep the birds secure.

    It's been a great time so far, and I wish you the same in your project. Keep us updated and take lots of pictures!
  8. Urbanchickenranchers

    Urbanchickenranchers In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2011
    Rochester, MN
    Hey blessed!

    Like most have siad it would be best to send an email or otherwaise contct all your friends to see what they have sitting around that they may want to get rid of. I have been able to build a majority of my run and coop off from friends that donated items (2x4s, plywood and other materials). So far I have only paid $6.

    Like someone said most of my expense will come in the form of shingles, wire, latches, and locks. Here is what I have so far...the run is attached to our current playhouse:


  9. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    If you're getting 20 chicks and assuming none are lost, you need a 8x10 coop (80 sq ft). Try watching Craislist for a garden shed or other small building. I would suggest you start with this and remove one of the long side walls as well as cut in a large vent hole into each gable for air circulation. The run will need to be about 10x20 (200 sq ft) Again, watch Craigslist for a couple chain link dog kennels (typically they are 6x12 or 10x12 and have man gates planned into their design) fasten them together and you have a excellent start. If you can come up with this, you can throw a tarp over for shade and, although your not secure against coons, you can at least stop a lot of the issues you will encounter. (It will still need a top, reach thru guard and apron but as I said before, it's a good start toward a secure area.

    Another run idea, trying to stay in budget, is go with the building and build the run with electric fence, with the coop inside the secure perimeter. (Be sure the charger's output is 5-6 Joules) and then throw deer netting over it to keep the fuzzybutts inside the safe area. When you set up the wire, run the first strand about 3-4 inches off the ground (not the grass) then run the second strand about another 4" above the first. Run the top strand as high as the posts allow and the 3rd strand dividing the difference. Step-in pre-insulated posts are great and make the set up fast and easily moveable if you decide to move their run. A couple old umbrellas or picnic table sunshades will give the birds overhead cover and shade for your hot days. This design will stop about any predator you will fight except rats and mice
  10. seanb

    seanb Songster

    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    I can't overstate how much I agree with the others who mentioned how many people you'll find who have stuff laying around when you start asking around.

    Before I built the run, I had $29 into the coop. It's now finished with rain gutters, downspouting and a rain barrel and the total bill is still under $300.

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