Suggestions on what type of nails or screws to use?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 5, 2012
Good day all,
This is my first post here on BYC. I have designed a coop with the traditional slanted roof. Against my own plans, my SO suggested we use 2x2s for the entire frame (the coop is 3x3, I wanted to use 2x4s). The wood is pine I think (since that's all we've got in this area).

We purchased 1.5" aluminum nails to put the frame together. When we attempted to put the frame together, most of the nails bent before they made it even half way through or they angled out and split the wood.

Any suggestions for low-tech people with little carpentry experience? Should we be using screws instead? We have a drill, but we have no nail gun, so nails are done manually.

All ideas regarding nails/ tools/ wood/ and communication with SOs is greatly appeciated!
2x2's are more than sufficient structurally. It's all I use even for coops as large as 4x8. My personal opinion is that most of the coops people build are way over built. There simply isn't any need for 2x4's on 16" centers when the animal you're housing is light enough to fly.

If you visit my small coop tutorial you can see how I use 2x2's.
Hi, and welcome to the forum!

Yes, do use screws. It takes a bit longer (you'll have to drill pilot holes first), but it makes it possible to undo mistakes so much easier, among other things.

Are you sure you only want to build your coop 3' by 3'? That's only 9 square feet, which is generally considered to be big enough for only 2 chickens. As a general rule of thumb, figure 4 square feet per chicken in the coop, plus 10 square feet per chicken in the run. You can get by with less than that if you expect your chickens to be in the coop only at night and/or you have breeds that tolerate crowding pretty well.

The other factor is roost space. With a coop only 3 feet wide in both dimensions, it will be tricky to place the roost for more than 2 or 3 birds. It's good to put in about 1 foot of roost width per bird.

You didn't mention the vertical dimension of your coop, but when you plan for that, remember to add enough height so that you can put the vents higher than the level of the chickens' heads as the sit on the roost. You want to be able to leave the vents open without drafts blowing over the birds as they roost.

Sheet goods come in 4' by 8' dimensions. If you built your coop 4' by 4', it wouldn't be significantly more expensive, you'd have to make fewer cuts to lumber, and you wouldn't be wasting any materials. And you'd get almost double the square footage (from 9 to 16). If you went up to a 4' by 8' coop, you'd have almost 4 times more space.

I've never heard of anyone who were sorry about how big they built their coop, but I know many people who regretted how small they built their coop. Me, for instance. It took me three tries before I got the right size set up.
Thanks for the info. I'll take a look! It does seem that "overbuild" is the motto around this forum. However, when your budget and city ordinances limit you, along with stifling summer temps, a light build seems the way to go.

Yes, I'm sure I want to build it that size (3x3) as two hens are all we are allowed due to city ordinances. That gives them 4.5 sq ft. each inside the coop. I designed it with practicality in mind. We rent, so it has to be moveable. The heighth of the coop is 3.5 at the highest. If there are only two hens I can put a 3ft long roost in without the vents causing drafts as you mentioned.

It was very difficult to convince my SO to go even this large (3x3). Apparently, when one visits the internet, they get "ideas" in their head instead of jumping in with both feet without a plan (as he tends to do).
use screws for sure dont have to worry about them backing out...............I used deck screws on mine............also
We started out using nails and quickly switched over to screws because the wood split (we had no previous carpentry experience either!) Deck screws work great and it really helps to have two drills: one to drill the pilot holes and the other to attach the screws; otherwise, we were constantly switching bits back and forth.

Once we started using 2 drills, it was actually faster since we had so many problems nailing in the nails...

Good luck with your coop - I'm looking forward to seeing your pics!!
I'll second predrilling holes on 2x2s. Sometimes they still split if you just screw directly in (although you could give it a shot first), so predrilling, at least part-way, is the most sure way to go. I do have a nailgun, but with 2x2s you'd still get a LOT of splitting.
I used almost 5lbs of 8d framing nails which I think were vinyl coated steel? Aluminum nails seem like they would be very soft and easy to bend....

I have one of those excessive overbuilt coops that can be seen as waste of money as chickens don't care. Well not lavish at all, very simple, but made out of material I would use on a house. My SO had a big learning curve on how to nail straight without bending nails and had a sore finger for about half a year. He started with no experience and it really was a good learning curve to get the nails to go where you wanted. That said, I love my overbuilt coop.

My 3 previous coops were smaller tractor styles. Made out of 2x2's and 1x4's, they were screwed together with just plain deck screws. Don't remember exactly the type as it was a long time ago.
I used 2X2's with our 4X4' coop. Predrill holes and just use any exterior grade screw, 1 1/2" is plenty long as your really only screwing the siding to the 2X2's. If you need to attach 2x2's together than you'll need some 2 1/2".

My coop construction is on my webpage.

Have fun.

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