Tips on building a cheapo coop and run?

Dec 28, 2017
41
35
66
Western Wisconsin
Hey! I have been looking around on here for a while at all the different coops people have built, but have been shocked by the prices. THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!!! 500+ is way out of our price range. I don't really know if I'm being unreasonable with what I want, but I'm looking for some tips on how to get away with an aesthetically pleasing, good quality coop on the cheap. We have all the tools we need, plus a bit more, but no hidden stash of wood. Any tips, ideas, or other info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

And here's a bit of my Pinterest inspiration:
chickencoop1.jpg
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chickencoop3.jpg
chickencoop4.jpg
chickencoop5.jpg
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Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
Premium member
5 Years
Feb 25, 2014
16,751
29,397
767
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
Cattle Panels. Cheap, easy to work with, expandable and flexible, can be quite attractive, and they are effective! Mine was wonderful and it's still standing now, even though I don't have my chickens anymore. For winter the hoop run is acting as a lawnmower/lawn equipment shelter and the coop is holding garden tools and such. This summer the run will become a greenhouse. I don't regret one dime spent on that setup. The link to my build is under my avatar, and this thread was started by a good friend here on BYC as well.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/cattle-panel.1140564/#post-17718482
 

Sunshine Flock

Crowing
Sep 27, 2017
1,332
3,709
307
Northern California
Some questions: Where are you located? Will the coop go in a fenced backyard? How many chickens would you like in your flock?

Research pallet wood before going that route. There are codes stamped on them that will help you identify whether it was treated with insecticides.

Ideas:

- Nesting boxes. It takes more materials creating an external structure that gets attached to the side of the chicken coop. You could build it from scrap, but you'll also need hinges and latches. Recycle cat litter containers or plastic crates and put them on a shelf inside the coop and save some money. There are some really nice examples of this in the forums.

- The coop doesn't have to be tall enough for you to walk inside. There are shorter coops built on raised platforms that seem to work well for a small flock.

- When you buy lumber make sure you know the length of each cut, do some math, and make sure you maximize the cuts on each one. Will a ten or twelve foot board be used with only a few inches of wood leftover? Then that's what you should buy. Bring a tape measure and cut it down at the store. The longer boards may save you money on each foot purchased, and you won't waste wood.

- Cover your plywood roof with a large tarp and allow for a sizable overhang. This will save you money on shingles or corrugated metal until you can afford to buy some.

- Save money on brackets and go old school for the wood framing. Notching wood is easy, just measure carefully and sharpen your chisels.

- Post holes for the fencing. Forget cement. Toxic, harmful industry. Go old school on this one, too, and use 3/4" road base and rocks. You can buy it in bulk. We got 1/2", but larger would probably lock in tighter. Take a five gallon bucket, tell them how many buckets you need, pay at the office, and scoop it yourself. You want it dusty, not clean and pretty. The fine dust cements when wet and yet you can dig out this hole and reset your posts should the need ever arise. I think we paid $13 for seven five-gallon buckets.

- Don't skimp on the quality of your fencing materials. Do shop for pricing. There's an online website that's been referenced here a lot that offers free shipping and great pricing. I can't think of the name, so hopefully someone will know and post a link.

- I'll say it again (learn from my mistakes): Build with a plan and the measurements of your boards already mapped out. No wasted wood.

I hope you keep this discussion going and post updates on your progress!

ETA: The seven buckets was used for eight posts we sunk 28" into the ground. We had some left over and poured it into the trenching we did around the chicken run perimeter, to secure the hardware cloth we sunk into the ground.
 

Sunshine Flock

Crowing
Sep 27, 2017
1,332
3,709
307
Northern California
Cattle Panels. Cheap, easy to work with, expandable and flexible, can be quite attractive, and they are effective! Mine was wonderful and it's still standing now, even though I don't have my chickens anymore. For winter the hoop run is acting as a lawnmower/lawn equipment shelter and the coop is holding garden tools and such. This summer the run will become a greenhouse. I don't regret one dime spent on that setup. The link to my build is under my avatar, and this thread was started by a good friend here on BYC as well.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/cattle-panel.1140564/#post-17718482
I just read your wonderfully detailed post on the construction of your chicken coop and cattle panel run. And then I clicked around the forums for a bit and ended up back on the homepage, and there in the slider is a gingerbread house of a chicken coop and panel run exactly like yours!! That's gotta be your entry, right!!! So cute!!
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
Premium member
5 Years
Feb 25, 2014
16,751
29,397
767
Northwestern Wyoming
My Coop
My Coop
I just read your wonderfully detailed post on the construction of your chicken coop and cattle panel run. And then I clicked around the forums for a bit and ended up back on the homepage, and there in the slider is a gingerbread house of a chicken coop and panel run exactly like yours!! That's gotta be your entry, right!!! So cute!!
Um, guilty. :oops:
 

Bogtown Chick

Free Ranging
7 Years
Mar 31, 2012
6,852
5,018
557
Northern Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
Construction site dumpsters are LOADED with free for the taking misfired nail gun boards, cut too shorts, cut bad angles boards, boards with scuffs or dings. Tear down cabins or homes may have an offering of doors and windows . Fire departments sometimes train on old homes that are going to be burned down . Could ask for first dibs on windows or a door.


This coop is the result of construction site dumpster diving and collecting a door and old windows
 
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Smuvers Farm

Melvin Up the Taterhole
Feb 16, 2017
4,917
23,132
872
TN/Western KY Border
Cattle Panels. Cheap, easy to work with, expandable and flexible, can be quite attractive, and they are effective! Mine was wonderful and it's still standing now, even though I don't have my chickens anymore. For winter the hoop run is acting as a lawnmower/lawn equipment shelter and the coop is holding garden tools and such. This summer the run will become a greenhouse. I don't regret one dime spent on that setup. The link to my build is under my avatar, and this thread was started by a good friend here on BYC as well.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/cattle-panel.1140564/#post-17718482
x2!
 
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