1. yousif fadool

    yousif fadool New Egg

    Jun 18, 2016
    I have a question about why most of the coops are made out of wood?
    Is it better for the chickens? Or i could make one out of metal or something?
  2. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Probably a number of reasons in favor of wood.

    Easy to work with and to fabricate. Most folks have the resources and ability to cut, nail and screw wood.....they can't most other things.

    Depending on the source, wood is readily available and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other choices. Some who are able to re-purpose salvaged wood can almost build a coop for free.

    Chickens create moisture and chicken manure is high in nitrogen, so is corrosive to metal. Some have done runs in PVC pipe, but if done to any size is not as structurally strong, and PVC pipe is expensive in relation to wood. Chain link fencing materials is an option for runs, but would probably be more expensive than wood.

    Metal is hot in summer, cold in winter and moisture will condense on it, which again, gets into the corrosion issue. Less well understood is the problem with uninsulated metal roofs, which will condense moisture on the inside, which will rain down on the birds, creating wet, damp and unhealthy conditions. Most who install metal roofs because they are inexpensive and easy are not aware of this.

    So when you add it all up and subtract it all out, then multiply and divide, wood usually wins out as the material of choice.
    3 people like this.
  3. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    I heard of one chicken owner that has kept chickens in nothing but a frame work of basically hardware cloth covered with tar paper in winter conditions with no issues.

    Over 90% of the structures components was only those two materials.
    Light was provided by folding back the tar paper and uncovering the hardware cloth.

    I never personally witness it but some how I believe it.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Many coops are too closed in and lacking ventilation, never good. Birds need shelter from rain, snow, and wind, and extreme cold and heat. That means a solid roof and more of a three sided shed, and lots of hardware cloth, welded wire, and/or chainlink. For cold climates, adding plastic sheeting over lower hardware cloth walls does great, while having the top foot or so open for ventilation. Mary
    1 person likes this.
  5. yousif fadool

    yousif fadool New Egg

    Jun 18, 2016
    Doesn't it get damaged cuz of the sun rain.....?
  6. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Apr 1, 2014
    Longville, La
    Yes. Eventually rain, sun, and all other natural elements will damage the wood. LOTS of people have made coops out of metal. There are quite a few on this site that have repurposed old metal storage sheds into coops. Howard E was right though. Metal is hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It sweats, so depending on your climate, you may be battling moisture in the coop a lot of the time. Even galvanized metal will eventually rust unless you constantly maintain it. If you go with metal, you should probably think about adding insulation to the walls and roof if possible.
    Wood is much less expensive and for most of us, much easier to work with. If you prime and paint it, the exposed wood will last a 100 years or more.
    And most of the metal coops I've seen in person are not as sturdy as the wooden ones. It takes a lot more work to make a strong corner wall out of metal than wood. If you have the budget for it, frame up you coop with wood then add metal siding. Insulation between the studs, then plywood or other sheet material for your interior walls.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can make your coop out of about any material. Some might be better for certain climates than others, but even then local drainage or shade could make a difference. Even if we knew your climate it would be a bit hard to generalize which material may be better. Often the one that is not better is still good enough. If your heart is set on using something other than wood, go ahead.

    Wood that stays moist, either from touching the wet ground or construction that retains moisture like a flat roof that doesn’t drain, can rot. It’s also susceptible to termites, carpenter ants, and other critters, though moisture is usually involved with these too. Any wood that touches the ground should be either treated wood or a special wood like fir, redwood, or cedar that resists rot. Wood up in the air that stays dry can last a long, long time, though if pretty is part of your purpose you may need to repaint it occasionally.

    Metal made of iron or steel can rust if it is not protected, usually with galvanizing and sometimes paint. Scratches where the metal is exposed will rust so you may need to touch up the paint if you scratch it during construction. Eventually it will rust but with good galvanizing/painting it can last a long time.

    There are so many different kinds of plastics it’s hard to generalize about them. Many can become brittle in sunlight. It doesn’t rust or rot but it can deteriorate over time.

    I think Howard hit the key points of why wood is most often used. It’s normally easier to work with tools that most people have on hand than metal or plastic, especially when cutting. It normally doesn’t leave sharp edges that can cut you. Unless you are using salvaged materials you already have it is usually the most cost-effective.

    But you can use whatever you wish. My coop has a metal roof and one wall is metal. I used part of a shed to make my coop and those parts were already metal. The rest I made myself and those are wooden. Mine is not insulated, in my climate I don’t see any need. I do get condensation with drips but my coop is pretty well ventilated so that moisture doesn’t cause a problem.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    BTW, I built a portable.......more like moveable......Woods style colony house. It is all wood, including the roof. The thing is pretty well ventilated, with the south facing walls wide open screens.......maybe 20% of the entire sidewall area of the house is open screens for ventilation, plus two opening side windows. I intend to add an inside screen door to go along with the solid pass through entrance door. The upper monitor windows will also have screens. For now, they are still covered with temp plastic roofing.

    Roof is white composite shingles (cooler and matches adjacent barn roof), roof on the front scratch shed is corrugated plastic to let something like 40% of the light through, but does let in some light.....barely enough to make a shadow under full sun.


    We just went through a week of temps in the upper 90's, pushing 100, and while the birds were panting and suffering from the heat, nobody died. They are still young, so for now are not yet allowed to range out, so they stayed indoors and in the shade of the sidewalls, even with a nice breeze blowing through the front part. Still, I could not see it was any hotter inside the house than outside, or not much. The adjacent horse barn, with it's dark paint sides and uninsulated metal roof was about 10 degrees hotter inside than out, and it is more open and has more ventilation and air running through it than most chicken houses I see.

    Having said that, I could see doing a metal roof, but only if it were over insulation. It would be that reflective foil stuff with foil on top and bright white on the inside. Birds can't reach the ceiling to peck, then eat it. They would peck on and eat insulation on the sidewalls, so I'd go slow on that one.

    BTW, about a week ago I was looking at the chicken house on my parent's farm. It is pushing 60 to 70 years at least. Unpainted car siding, over light wood frame. The roof is shot.......second one I know of......I helped put the existing one on about 50 years ago. Sidewalls are still good. Only rot is where the building has settled and the bottoms are touching the ground. Rot runs up a few inches, then is solid again.

    Vertical wood can get wet on the outside from rain and snow, etc, but the saying is "high wood is dry wood". Keep it away from ground contact and vertical exterior wood will last a long, long, long, long time.
    2 people like this.
  9. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2016
    Valley of the Sun :)
    probably the cheapest and ideal materials for construction

    if you live in a state with 110-120 degree heat during the summer months.. you do not want metal materials like using a shed as a coop ?

    if you can't stay in the shed even when it's 80 degree.. can't you stay in it when it's 100+ ?

    also metal would be too cold during the winter as well

    lastly, if you live in a desert state.. be sure to use a coop plan that is ideal for the desert like heat.. since those coop plans they have out there are pretty worthless .. unless you want your chickens to stay in an oven like coop.. improvise or pick the coop that is ideal for the desert areas

    give as much ventilation and shade as possible especially in 110-120 degree heat. .also create removable nesting boxes where you can put in the coolest area of the fun instead of the coop if needed..
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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