Struggling with affordability of coop

mystprism

In the Brooder
Feb 14, 2018
14
21
26
I've looked at all sorts of sources from Amazon to Walmart to local feed stores. I've also looked at local buy-nothing groups, Craigslist, and things like that. I've got a fairly basic (if large, 8x8) coop design sketched out but might want to go with a kit since it's my first coop and it seems like my options are all quite expensive.

Option 1: Buy kit
To get a kit for 10+ chickens seems to start at around $800

Option 2: Buy building materials from the hardware store
I threw everything (studs, OSB, plywood, roofing, treated posts, hardware cloth) into an online cart at Home Depot and came to about $500. I imagine my actual cost would be higher because I'm sure I'm not accounting for everything.

Option 3: Spend weeks digging through free ads for construction materials to scrounge together most of what I need
This would be time consuming, gas consuming, and would probably leave me with lower quality materials.

Am I missing something, or is a coop of any size beyond about 4x4 feet gonna hit my wallet pretty hard? Are there inexpensive prefabbed options out there? I'm in a very mild climate so I don't need anything fancy. I'm also planning to free range them most of the time, so all the coops with big attached runs are overkill.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
5,955
10,983
642
Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Kit is always going to be most expensive since a lot of the work has been done for you (or conversely, poor quality because you'd have to cut corners). I've been looking at shed kits lately about the same size as what you're looking at, and they're all 2-3k.

If you're willing to do the legwork to get free/discounted materials via Craigslist or whatever, obviously that would be the cheapest option. Pallets are popular to save money and are often free, so have you considered asking around to see if some local stores might be willing to part with some?
 

Relleoms

Songster
Jan 22, 2018
560
891
201
Iowa
My two cents...

I bought a prefab coop for 7 chickens and spent a small fortune reinforcing, predator proofing, etc., only to realize there was no way it was actually going to keep my flock dry in the summer or warm in the winter. We were able to find a local small business who builds high quality, affordable coops. The piece of mind I get from knowing my flock is dry & protected when needed is worth every penny. And we’re not terribly handy, so it would have cost more for us to try to build it ourselves. I would think for $800 you could get a really nice, quality coop in your area. Our 8’x6’ cost just under $1000, but includes an auto pop door. Personally, I think it’s the most important investment you’ll make if you plan to have chickens for the long-haul, and worth doing right the first time. Good luck!!!

Edit: Well shoot, I lied :(. Apparently, decimals matter. Our coop was $1990, not $990. Didn’t mean to mislead. Getting older (sometimes) sucks.
 
Last edited:
Nov 28, 2017
1,703
2,632
346
UK
I don’t know what’s available to you but second hand sheds and Wendy houses are easily accessible and cheap here, a 10x12 shed is £50 second hand, that could hold around 30 chickens with 4sqft per. It doesn’t cost much to add predator proof ventilation, roosts and nesting boxes to a used out building. We go to auctions and second hand sales for bits and bobs useful to use.
 

GracieJ

Songster
Feb 16, 2018
296
649
176
Wales, UK
I don’t know what’s available to you but second hand sheds and Wendy houses are easily accessible and cheap here, a 10x12 shed is £50 second hand, that could hold around 30 chickens with 4sqft per. It doesn’t cost much to add predator proof ventilation, roosts and nesting boxes to a used out building. We go to auctions and second hand sales for bits and bobs useful to use.
I too am struggling to find coops that are not too expensive...I currently have two ducks but will be expanding. What do you use? I am not tech enough to build my own. Are Wendy houses good to use? Thanks in advance x
 

GracieJ

Songster
Feb 16, 2018
296
649
176
Wales, UK
I don’t know what’s available to you but second hand sheds and Wendy houses are easily accessible and cheap here, a 10x12 shed is £50 second hand, that could hold around 30 chickens with 4sqft per. It doesn’t cost much to add predator proof ventilation, roosts and nesting boxes to a used out building. We go to auctions and second hand sales for bits and bobs useful to use.
I too am struggling to find coops that are not too expensive...I currently have two ducks but will be expanding. What do you use? I am not tech enough to build my own. Are Wendy houses good to use? Thanks in advance x
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,610
26,708
907
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Do you have the tools? At the very least, you will need a good drill, and a skill saw. I much prefer to use a chop saw for most of my cuts.

What is your basic location? That will help folks to give climate appropriate advice. While you already have your coop drawn out, I suggest that you look at the Wood's Open Air style coop before making any design commitments. IMO these coops are by far the most practical coop for all locations.

You can build a coop that is far superior to any thing you could buy (unless you lay out well over a thousand dollars) To save money, you might scrounge up your doors and windows. I can get all the doors/windows I could ever need from my town dump. And they are good quality. You'd be surprised what people throw away. Then, after you get your doors/windows, you can design your walls to incorporate them.

Check out a little book published by Sunset, titled: "Sheds and garages". Lots of building details there to help get you started on designing the perfect coop for you.
 

Joeschooks

Just clucking around
Feb 7, 2018
3,170
10,445
742
Hampshire, UK
My Coop
My Coop
The set up is definitely the most expensive part. But as the others have said it is worth spending the money initially to get it right. My girls spend all their time outside and only really sleep in the coop so we’ve only got small coop but plenty of outdoor space inclosed with electric fence. The coop itself is raised so there’s a dry, sheltered area underneath where they can go in wet/windy weather. Bigger is definitely better but perhaps you could consider a smaller coop if they free range or have a run attached?
 
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