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To build, or to buy....that is the question..

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MikeDaub, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. MikeDaub

    MikeDaub Out Of The Brooder

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    I am sure this question gets asked a TON here, but I figure, why not, lets ask again.. I might have a little more info that helps with a decision..

    To build, or to buy..thats my dilemma.

    Currently, I just inherited 6 hens (2 of them bantams), and I think thats probably about as big as the flock will be. To get the chicks moved quicker (their old owner sold their house, needed to move and wasn't able to move the coop which was part of the shed), we are borrowing a home build tractor. While we can use it as long as we want, I think its time to move the ladies into something a little nicer and roomier. I started looking at all kinds of options of buying, then I thought, heck, I can build something that will work.. After about 3 week of thinking about it, I came up with something is roughly just a 4x8 box, with a slanted roof. When adding up what I think I need from a rough sketch (4 - 4x4s, 16 - 8' 2x4s, 10 - 6' 2x4s, and 8 sheets of ply), I came up with a rough cost of about $400, all before hardware, roofing and finishing material (the plan has a door on each end and a built out nesting box). Sure, it is probably a bit big (and slightly over estimated on lumber), but I'd rather have the extra room. Plus with my 4 out of 10 carpentry skills, it being late November and I live in Maine, it has me more thinking about buying.

    Now, I know that if I buy a prebuilt one for the a bit more, the quality can't be out of the world, but I figured I would see what others thought..

    A lot of the knowledge I have about chickens came from MyPetChickens.com. They seem like they know whats going on, and they have some nice coops on sale. I was thinking "The Bungalow" would work well - http://tinyurl.com/nj35r43 And not a bad price. Then I started thinking more locally, and while I do live in a pretty big farming community, with plenty of folks having chickens, its harder than I thought to find something.. But, RootsAndCoops.com is somewhat local and offer some nice coops at a decent cost. I was thinking "The Layla" (http://tinyurl.com/p4m7qze) as an option.. Then while doing more research here, one of the ads popped up was for http://cumfychickencoopsnhutchs.com/. I checked out the site a bunch, but nothing really screamed at me..but I figured I would throw it in there..

    At looking at the 3 sites, MyPetChicken seems to be a winner as they seem to have a large web presence (and free shipping) and Roots and Coops are somewhat local and I could have a nice looking coop assembled by the end of the week...

    So, any thoughts on any of these?
     
  2. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd vote for building it yourself. You'll increase your skills, and building it yourself gives you flexibility in the design, and may make it easier to expand or change the coop down the road. My coop has been built and rebuilt 3-4 times now, each time changing the design, layout etc for the better. You didn't say how tall you're making it, but I would recommend making the coop work for you, not just the chickens. You'll be cleaning it, caring for the birds in etc, so give that consideration too when choosing a size. There is a good chance you will end up with something you are really proud of. Here is my coop, version 4 or so. I started with a plain shed (was here when we bought the house). Added the covered run, replaced the doors, added windows, a stone walkway etc. I've learned a lot, and have something I can say that I did it!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. sn0wwhite

    sn0wwhite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    X2 for build yourself. I was really worried about doing it myself but am so glad that I did.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    You could buy one of those...then when you realize it's too small and hard to maintain because of limited human access you can use it as a brooder coop and build a real coop for your big birds.

    Most of the premade coops tend to be flimsy and almost all of them grossly underestimate how many chickens can fit in them...especially in your climate. Beware of the dimensions, they are often overall dimensions that exaggerate the real space available for chicken habitation, you must look closely at how the dimensions are described.

    Chances are that you will have to bolster the build of these coops....one thing that stuck out for me in that first one was the 'tongue and groove roofing', think that'll hold up to Maine snowfall? Probably will need some real shingles or rolled roofing.

    If you want to buy something quick, look at buying a garden shed and adding roosts and nests inside. It will be a much better purchase in the long run IMO.

    Sorry to sound harsh, but pragmatism is often a harsh reality. Do a search on premade coops and you'll see most are disappointed with the purchase:
    Advanced Search>Titles Only> pre made coop
     
  5. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I vote for build. I've seen a few pre-built coops and the majority of them look good in a picture but are flimsy and won't withstand two seasons. Some seem really small for the number of birds they say they'll hold, too. One company - can't remember the name - has sturdy looking coops but it appears whoever designed them don't have a clue about chickens as there's not enough ventilation and way too many nesting boxes for the number of birds it's designed to hold.

    Check the threads here about the different pre-built coops as some people have given feedback. There are also a few threads where people have purchased them and then had to modify them to make them work as they want.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    It's tricky, we have both here... the pre builts one is VERY well built but only suitable for banties or a like 2 standards at best. It we snagged on a clearance otherwise i wouldn't have bought it, they are way overpriced lol

    The other pre built super cheap buy, it's super cheapy made too but houses two silkie bantam roos, does the job but if we can pull together better next year we will, it likely won't make it through several winters.

    For builds, we have done a few ways.. one was within a building, if you have the funds a kit shed from lowes, home depot are fantastic coops, you don't have to turn the whole thing over either, we made a small coop inside with a pop door leading to a run.

    Next we used a recycled old ship crate and built up, that became housing for some ducks. The main duck barn here was an expansive build, basically creating a mini barn, we used a lot of free materials but it was still costly and loads of work.

    My call ducks coop is one from the chickens coops for dummies book, the minimalist model, a sound basic build, good space much to large for the mere calls but i overbuilt, we're so used to needing large around here. It's touted as costing about 200$ we found that to be fairly accurate.

    We also built the main chicken coop, using a copy of a design we saw at a ready built place tough build as we had no plans, it worked out well but plans help loads!!

    I think each person has to find what works for them, and pre builts vary vastly in quality, plus contrary not everyone can build not only due to lack of skill but the tools so i do recognize that is not always the best option.

    GL!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  7. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree. Your money goes A LOT further by buying a garden shed, and it doesn't take any skill at all to modify it into a coop. Slap some roosts up, cut a hole in the wall for a chicken door (uber easy if you use a doggie door instead of making a guillotine or hinged door!), make some more holes for ventilation and you are done! Oh, if you aren't handy - buy one with a window or 2 already installed for better ventilation airflow.

    Both of my coops so far have been garden sheds. I think I will always go that route. Even though I absolutely love how creative some people have been with their home-made coops, and my husband and I definitely have the skills, we DO NOT have the patience to work with each other on that type of project. We are both perfectionists and can never agree on little details. We rock at putting up livestock fence and building post frame buildings, but I'd never tackle a coop with him.
     
  8. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with all the above advice with building yourself. If you can use a circular saw, have basic skills, and don't mind a day or two of hard work then you can save a lot of money and create a coop much stronger than any coop kit. Keep in mind that the kits come precut but often time take as long if not longer to assemble compared to your own build. Below is a picture of my initial coop framing that was built during a Summer afternoon years ago. Sturdy 4x4 pole construction and you are looking at 150 dollars or less of new materials for a simple 7x8 ft with slant roof. Another day of work and another 150 worth of paneling and you can have a nice coop. If you decide to add chickens then simply add on to the coop over time. I started with 4 chickens but now have over 30 in the flock. :)

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    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I like your goat supervisors lol
     
  10. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! They were constantly stealing tools off my belt and leaning on the wood studs. For sure a challenge to keep them at bay during the build. Here they are with their final inspection.

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