Pallet coop discouragement... with some pics


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 11, 2010
Kitsap Peninsula
Somehow I got it into my pointy little head that I could build a coop out of the free pallets that are available around here. I brought home what I thought were tons of them, picked six for the floor, and started dismantling others to make into siding as I've seen around the forum.

What I've learned: There are slow and material conserving methods, and there are faster, lower yield methods. I got tired of pounding and prying to release boards, and decided that sawsall and I could just cut shorter length planks from between the 2x4 in the pallets. I'm planning on making board and batten type siding for my 8x10 coop, and figure I need about 270 sq ft of siding. After I'd been at it for a while today I decided to stack the pieces neatly and see if I could come up with an estimate of how many square feet I've rough cut. I figure I've got maybe 40 sq ft of usable material so far. It's so small compared to what I need!! We need to get this done!! How long before I should panic?!?

I'm trying to be extraordinarily frugal, still have about $150 available, but still need to buy fence posts, nails and screws, tarpaper, floor and roof sheathing, etc., etc., etc......

The beginning of the foundation:

Tenative candidates for the floor:

My "big girls" in the free tractor:

The $50 craigslist tractor:

I have 8 one month old chicks in this, the coop portion is about 3ft X 4ft, the run is about 8x4. It will be getting crowded soon!
I just finished a pen last weekend. We did not remove the boards. We just used them as a double barrier leaving both sides of boards on. You can cover the open "slat" areas with wire all around when you are done, or like we did- put up and wire a 2x4 frame and screw the pallets on around it. It gives a nice picket fence look. Good luck, Do Not get frustrated. It should be fun, not a chore...
I thought about using pallets for the walls, but, filling in the gaps, making the coop smooth on the inside to keep mites at a minimum, making the outside look decent, all sort of made it a bit more of a challenge. I was able to get lots of 2x4s at the Habitat store for less than $1 per 8ft board, so doing some sort of regular framing won't be a problem. I also got stuff like vinyl for the floor, a cute little people door, and a wonderful window for cheep, even a piece of 1/2" hardware cloth for $3. The tension between trying to keep costs very low and doing a nice and presentable job is the big challenge. I was raised by architects, and I have a property value conscious husband, so, I want it to look as nice as possible. So, I guess it's back to craigslist for me!
I sympathize...did a similar thing for about half my coop. From having to break down the pallets, pound out old nails and mix-n-match boards during construction it's pretty darn time consuming. I ended up using plywood for the other half of the coop. Plywood brings in some extra rigidity. To me the pallet boards have more character and look nice, but only if you've got the time!

Good luck...plywood can be your friend!

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