This is our scrap built coop. It's a hideous looking thing (but it has grown on me since we built it), but seems to be working well for my 2 girls right now, so aesthetics aside, it was practical and pretty easy to build. This picture makes it look tilted, but in real life the coop is level and not tilted at all. As is obvious, we are not all that gifted in engineering or woodworking, but we make do Front of coop with pen underneath. Chickens foraging in the morning. Front access door. Blank wall. This faces the sunrise in the morning. It is basically a 4 foot x 4 foot box on stilts. It's 6 feet tall. We used plywood for the walls, floor and roof (not the nice plywood, but the stranded unfinished stuff), 4x4 posts for the four corner stilts, caulked all the seams, then shingled the entire structure to give it some water proofing capability There's a plastic tarp on there because the roof started dripping in one area. We have since found the leak and caulked it, but haven't taken the tarp off yet. We cut out a door in front for feeding and cleaning access, and cut a pop door in the middle of the floor inside so they could go out into the fenced area underneath using a little ramp. There is a house vent on one side and we cut out a window opening on the back side and used chicken wire to cover it. My nest box is a dishpan bolted to scrap 4x4 for stability and filled with straw. The wood we used was mostly scrap stuff laying around, including some already painted 1x2 scraps we had. The roosts are made of what we had available, in a ladder type design. It's completely uninsulated, but from what I read, this shouldn't be a problem as I have easter eggers which are supposed to be cold-hardy (I hope). I live in Southwestern Michigan, so the winters can get kind of harsh. I enclosed the bottom of the pen with hardware cloth and dug it down about 6 inches to keep predators out. We live on a lake and not far from the woods, so predators were a concern. We have coyotes, racoons, hawks and snakes, although the only thing I have personally seen are garter snakes and black water snakes which hang out by the lake area catching frogs. Occasionally, I see roadkilled racoons and only once a roadkilled coyote, although I haven't seen any live ones and my yard is fenced. Still, I think the hardware cloth is a good choice just in case. I let the chickens outside every morning and out of the bottom pen when I am home so they can roam the fenced yard freely to forage during the day. Chicken wire covered window and vent. Rain leak prevention tarp I guess since this is the first time I have ever had chickens, that I am worried that the coop will not be good enough for winter. We got the two chicks in the spring after my daughter fell in love with them at the feed store around Easter in April this year. One has just started laying this past week, and the other one looks like she wants to lay, but hasn't yet. I have been reading that the chickens should be able to keep themselves warm in the coop with their body heat and breath, but since there is only 2 of them, the coop is kind of big for them so I don't know if the coop will keep warm enough. I also worry that the window we cut out will let too much cold in, or if I should cover it with plastic in winter. Then I worry that there won't be enough ventilation if I cover the window. I was also thinking to put a shutter/awning on the cut out window (basically a square of wood, hinge it at the top, hold it open via a wire and a hook) so we could shut the shutter if it gets too cold, when it's snowing really badly or raining, etc. Another thing we contemplated is putting a small incandescent bulb in the coop, not a heat lamp, but a regular old 60-75 watt light bulb and hang it from the ceiling. The coop is only about 8 feet from the porch, so running an all weather extension cord would work. I just worry that they wouldn't get much sleep, although I could put it on a timer to go off or on, or maybe put a shade on it. I don't want to overexpose them to light, but I do want them to keep comfortable and give them some light with the shorter days that winter brings. I've read there are timers out there that react to temperature but I have no idea what they are called or how expensive they are. One of my friends who "grew up on a farm and had chickens" told me to just put a lot of straw in there and they would be fine in winter. I use straw for their nestbox, but I guess using it for coop bedding would work, too. Anyway, any ideas on how to improve our make-shift chicken shack? Maybe an outside eggbox access door or should I add insulation in some form? Maybe take the tarp off (although I kind of like the ramshackle look and it prevents any future leaks). Cut another window in the blank side that faces the sun? Any suggestions or comments would be welcome. Thanks!