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Need to build cheap now, looking for advice.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wild Carrot, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Wild Carrot

    Wild Carrot Hatching

    Aug 29, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Hi everyone!

    We have 7 girls, 12 weeks old. 2 buffs, 2 barred rocks, 2 EE, and 1 black australorp. When they outgrew the bathtub, we threw together a MDF box in the garage but need to get a coop built.

    Right after we got the chicks, I received an unexpected medical diagnosis and our budget went down the toilet. Our original plan was to have a carpenter friend build the coop, paying for labor and material with a cost of about $500. Not possible now. I have scraped together $160 and need to get it done ourselves for that. We have basic tools, with minimal experience.

    Hubby wants to build 4' high, 4' wide, and 8' long. He is thinking easy and cheap. I want to go 6' high in the back, and 5' high in the front, 4' wide, and 8' long. I am thinking better ventilation and easier cleaning out. Nest boxes will go outside either way, but I am having a hard time seeing that 4' high will work when the girls get big. Pros and cons for either?

    We are in southeastern PA, and coop will go under a carport that is attached to garage. (The run is the easy part, we already have all of the posts and 1"x2" wire for a 10' x 12' run with bird netting for the top.)

    We have 4" cinder blocks and skids to start with. Is OSB ok to use for floor and walls? (We have exterior paint that we can use on it). If yes, can we get away with 1/2" or should we use 3/4"?

    For the studs/walls, I was planning on getting 2x3's, but hubby thinks we can use skids. I see a headache with that, and already have the Excedrin... Pros or cons?

    Since coop will be under the carport, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to use the clear corrugated panels for the roof? I thought any amount of light would help; there will be no electric or heat.

    All advice is appreciated!
    Wild Carrot

  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    Sorry to hear of your health problems. I do hope its not serious. My boyfriend built my coop out of osb. 1/2" for walls and 3/4" for the floor. It works fine. Its painted on the outside only. I glued a scrap piece of linoleum on the floor to kinda waterproof it and keep pine shavings in there so clean-up is a breeze. My coop is 4 ft high in the back and 5 ft high in the front. My girls are full grown and it works fine for them. If the chickens have a run I don't think it will matter what you use for the coop roof. Windows covered in wire will give them light. As for the skids, I have no idea. I have a friend who builds all kinds of stuff out of them but I've never tried it myself. And the chickens won't need heat as long as you have good ventilation. Good luck with your coop.
    1 person likes this.
  3. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chirping

    Aug 31, 2014
    I just completed my coop and have residential construction experience. I know a few ways you can cut the cost of your coop.

    The shortest length for construction lumber is 8 ft. So using 4ft long studs in your walls gives you two studs from one 8ft 2x4. Also since you don't have to insulate the walls you can frame your walls 24" on center instead of 16" on center.

    To save money on the roof I use 4 ft studs in my front wall and 3 ft in my rear wall. This allowed me to just lay 2x4 across at 24" on center to make a slant roof instead of actually building roof trusses. Metal roofing can be installed without OSB underlaymemt which will save you some more, and it lasts forever.

    My coop is up off the ground on posts, so not sure if this applies to you. For my floor I used a 2x6 frame with 2x4 floor trusses 12" on center and half inch OSB to cover the floor, instead of 3/4" tongue and groove. This wouldn't meet code for a deck but 20 chickens weigh a lot less then 20 people.

    Just do something to seal the OSB flooring. Soaking it in used motor oil is a cheap/free way to do this.
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Songster

    Apr 12, 2011
    Necessity is the mother of invention. If there is a will, there is a way.

    You can actually build an entire coop from skid material and scrap. My coops are 3x6x3.5h and 3x4x3h because that was the materal I have on hand. I only paid for the screws and hardware cloth.

    You can use thinner floorboard if you decrease the joist spacing. For small coop, as long as the floor is solid, the walls can be built with 2x2s and roof with 2x4s.

    Also, do you plan to walk in the coop? If so, better build it with good headroom. If not, make sure you have access to reach every corner of the coop.
  5. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Crowing

    Apr 5, 2013
    There was a coop page on the site that showed step by step for using skids. I was trying to find it so you could see it, but if you ever get extra time try to find it. I'll keep looking, but anyhow the entire coop was made of skids (cost effective) and it looked really neat.
  6. Farmer Ken

    Farmer Ken In the Brooder

    Jun 25, 2014
    Golden Vally AZ
    My main coop is 4'x4'x8' placed inside a 7'x14' run 7' high.

    We have 14 hens and a roster in this one. (I could put up to 25 hens in there) It has 8 nesting boxes and a dirt floor. I put a 3' door on it . It make's easy to clean out and get the eggs.

    Very cheap to build. Also check craigslist for supplys.

    Good luck [​IMG]

  7. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Crowing

    Apr 5, 2013
    Yes craigslist and hardware stores. I found a steel door in the clearance section of menards for $5. All I had to do was drill a hole for the handle and cut a chicken door out of it. (and then paint it whatever color I wanted)
  8. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I just made a coop that cost me nothing. :D

    tips to find free stuff:
    Scrounge through the dump
    Stop at all construction sites and ask if they have any scrap you can take
    And store that receives big items (hardware store, bulk food store, furniture store) stop and ask for shipping pallets
    Spend some time on Craigs list, whatever other local lists there might be in your area, and any area Facebook pages

    Also, it doesn't have to be pretty to be functional. This is my second coop that I have made myself, and I am NOT good with tools and building. Much of the wood I use is not completely sound. I either double up on the wood that isn't completely solid, or make sure it is in a place where it doesn't have to be very strong. Even with my high winds and my heavy snow load, the coop I built last summer made it pefectly through the winter.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  9. Wild Carrot

    Wild Carrot Hatching

    Aug 29, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Thank you for all of the responses! I decided to go 5' high in the back, and 4' high in the front. (I know that sounds backwards, but I want the slope of the roof to follow our sloped carport roof. Years ago we had a walk in coop that was awesome, but we moved and couldn't take it with us. This one will be 8' long, with a left and right side door for cleaning out in 4' sections.

    We are going to use skids under the floor (on top of concrete block) and OSB for the flor and walls. I got some 2x3's for the studs. Still debating on the roof.

    Here is a question: I have never used the clear corrugated roof panels and I am wondering.....since they are "rippled", wouldn't that make for a great means of ventilation? On the opposite ends, I plan to put in 8"x12" vents near the top. If I don't use the corrugated panel, we will use painted OSB.

    I will post pics as we progress. I love the posts and advice, thanks a bunch!

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