A month ago I owned ZERO chickens and never raised a farm animal in my life. Now I have this in my back yard, and it was a blast to build. Let me show you!
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DIY Chicken Coop
So, to get started on this coop I pretty much have one job and that’s to cut a pile of big 2x4s into a pile of smaller 2x4s
It’s a lot of cuts to make but my miter saw station makes easy work of these 12 footers
Unlike most of my projects, there’s no milling rough lumber. I’m just cutting construction lumber to length and moving on which is kind of a nice change.
Most everything in this build uses standard 2x4s but there’s a few pressure-treated ones thrown in the mix wherever the coop will come in contact with the ground
And After what seemed like hours of chopping I have all my parts cut to length and now I need to move this stack off my bench so I can actually build something
The first thing I’m going to focus on is framing out the walls and roof of the coop
The roof is pretty straightforward, all 90 degree cuts that just need to be assembled
I decided to join all these with a framing nailer because its quicker and cheaper than using screws but later in the build you’ll see I switched over to using screws
My reasoning for doing it that way is that if I ever want to get rid of the coop I want to be able to easily disassemble it into its component parts like walls, roof, etc but those component parts wont need to be taken apart because they’re all fairly small so I could use nails on those.
The walls of the coop were easy too but the design has a slanted roof and so I need to cut that angle into the top of all the studs
I asked the internet what’s a good angle for a chicken coop roof and I got everything from about 5 degrees to 18 ½ degrees.
After designing it out I went with 15 because it looked pretty good and is easy angle to remember
I think if you made a bigger coop than this one, 10 degrees might be better but for my little coop I think It looks nice.
I’m putting a big access door on one side of the coop for cleaning and maintenance and so the studs don’t go all the way down except for the one at the front which I doubled up for added strength
But the angled cuts at the top and the stud spacing are all the same as the other side
The front wall continues the angles across the top and I also want to add a couple small shed windows so I framed those in too
The header board does have a 15 degree cut on one edge so it lines up flush with the angled studs
And the bottom is pretty open because that’s where the chickens will access the nesting boxes.
Compared to all the cutting I did, assembling these walls went pretty quick and pre assembling these on the bench made it easy to keep everything square.
DIY Chicken Coop Run
For the next part of the build I shifted over to my garage because the walls of the run are 10 ft long and I just don’t have that much open floor space in the shop
The bottom plate of these walls are pressure treated since they will be in contact with the ground
The run will have a slanted roof also but only half the angle of the coop because it’s much longer
It’s about 8 feet tall at the front of the run and slopes down toward the back
I’m 6ft 2 and I will be able to comfortable stand at the back of the run without bumping my head which is really all I ask for in life LOL
For the door to the run I wanted to add some fancy criss cross bracing with a half lap joint
Sounds like something you wouldn’t bother with because , well, geometry.
But its actually easy and you don’t need any math
Just lay the boards inside the door frame and mark where they intersect.
I then just line up my miter saw exactly to that line and set my depth of cut to be exactly halfway through the board and begin feeding it through the blade like I was back working in the deli department.
I sneak up on the final fit and bam, I have an X with no math needed
And it drops right back into the door because that’s where I took the original measurements from!
DIY Chicken Coop Base
Moving on, to the base of the coop I’m going to use 4×4 posts as the main supports and those get the same 15 degree angle on top
Each 12 ft 4×4 will give me a tall post and a short post
Each front and back post will be connected by two main horizontal supports.
To make those I’m, going to gang a couple 2x4s together
I plan on putting sand in the bottom of the coop a couple inches deep which will be fairly heavy and I don’t want the floor to sag over time.
To attach these to the posts I opted for pocket screws because it felt like the easiest way to get a solid connection to the posts
I put pockets on both the inside and outside for added strength.
Now to join the two sides together it was back to the garage
I added a couple temporary feet just as a helping hand while I attached the other side of the base
This made the process so easy
You can see my reference line on the post.
the height was just right to drive my screws and then remove the temporary support.
Then I got a surprise visit from one of the future occupants
Just making sure project is still on schedule.
I added two more supports in the middle and held those in place with little scraps of wood
All I need now is a floor
I made the base of the coop exactly 4 ft wide by 6 ft long
That way I can use a single sheet of OSB with only a couple feet cut off one end
The other reason I went with this size is that it’s recommended to give each chicken 3-5 square feet of coop space and since I have six chickens, this will give them 4 sqft each.
I marked out notches on all four corners and then cut those out just using a jig saw with a speed square as my guide for a straight cut
I use the same method to cut out toe kicks on cabinets it’s so quick and easy.
That just drops right into place without too much persuasion and gets screwed down to the frame with inch and a half screws and that’s it for the base.
DIY Chicken Coop Install
The next day I got a few helping hands to carry the base of the coop to the least slopy part of my yard.
This was a real challenge because I live on the side of a hill but in this spot we were able to get it really close by temporarily propping it up with a couple 2x4s.
Then we could begin adding the walls of the coop
This is where prefabbing them in the shop was clutch because now I just have to drop them in and screw them into place.
On this side I just toenailed the front to the floor.
For the walls of the run we referenced off of the 2×4 at the bottom so the bottom of the run was flush with the bottom of the coop
This will keep the run and the coop in the same plane so when we do final levelling we can get the whole thing at one time.
We did the same thing for the back of the run as well.
Before adding any more walls we decided to swap out our 2x4s for some more permanent support in the form of concrete pavers which you can kind of see in this super out of focus shot!
BTW the long board attached to the bottom was used to level the entire structure and was removed later
Then we could add the final two walls to tie everything together making the structure nice and rigid
The last bit of framing left was adding the nesting box.
I reserved the last 12 inches of the coop for this
The idea size of each nesting space is 12-14 inches wide which gives me room for four good sized spaces in here which should be plenty for six birds because I’m told the birds will end up picking just a couple spaces as their favorite and always use those.
Hey, this thing is starting to look like a coop!
DIY Chicken Coop Siding
For the outside of the coop I’m using T1-11 siding panels
T1-11 is a kind of pine plywood with a shiplap look on one side of it
It come’s in standard 4×8 sheets and is a half inch thick
I can just cut all my panels to size using my track saw in the shop which is super handy
Then screw them right to the framework of the coop
The panels aren’t very big but to help out I screwed a scrap of 2×4 to the base of the coop to act as a ledge to hold the panels in place while I attach them.
The coop was already pretty sturdy before but now with all these panels screwed onto it, it’s rock solid
The panels went on easy enough and yes, I covered over my window frames which will be easier to cut out later than to cut around now
This T1-11 is going to give the coop a real rustic feel and look great when it’s painted (that’s foreshadowing).
Oh and randomly I noticed I hadn’t added sides to the nesting box so I screwed some of the OSB to the vertical supports to wall each space off.
To make the siding match the angle of the walls I opted to cut them with a flush trim bit on my router
This was so quick and easy but man was it messy
I felt like I was in a blizzard of sawdust.
Then I painted the coop which I decided not to bore you with
If anyone is curious I used Emerald Exterior house paint from Sherwin Williams
Not a sponsor, I just like their products.
Then it was time to knock out those windows
This is super easy to do
From the inside of the coop I drilled four pilot holes at each corner of the window framing
This gives me entry and exit points and I can connect the dots with a straight edge
Then I just drop in my jig saw and cut to the lines
Note to self though, staring this close at a fresh white surface in direct sunlight is killer on the eyes, like snow blindness so maybe cut the windows out BEFORE painting next time
The windows fit in nicely and screw right to the framing
You know, they say the eyes are the windows of the soul.
But I also think the windows are the eyes of the chicken coop.
DIY Chicken Coop Door
OK, I need to make another hole in the back for the chicken’s door
I’m using an automagic door that opens and closes based on light levels or whatever schedule I set because you know everything these days needs a smartphone app
This one is made by Run Chicken and I chose it because it looked simple to install and operate
To cut the hole I used the same technique as the windows but because I did it from the outside I screwed up the hole locations and hit the 2×4 at the bottom. Oops.
Easy enough to fix and the door screws to the wall like this
And I can test it out.
The app allows you to set the door to open and close based on set hours, sunrise and sunset based on your location or based on the light sensors on the door which will open 20 minutes after sunrise is detected and close 20 minutes after dusk
I love technology!
Next, I can add some trim to tidy everything up
I’m just using 1×4 and 1×3 pine boards here and these are tacked on with a trim nailer
This was all primed and painted with the same exterior house paint ahead of the installation but I did go back and touch up any bare spots on the exposed ends or caused by the nail holes.
I also added the door to the nesting box which is just made out of T1-11 frames with 1×3 pine boards
It swings down for easy access and easy cleanup and stays closed using eye hooks on each side
The side access door was made the same way but I’ll add barrel locks later to the top and bottom to it to keep it secure.
I added the final bits of trim around the windows to finish off the look
Then I added one of the smartest features to the inside of the coop
DIY Chicken Coop Roost
I built an angled roost in his coop and a droppings board to go underneath the roosts
This makes it super easy to clean the coop because it opens up the area right by the access door
And I can scrape any droppings of the droppings board right into a 5 gallon bucket for use later as fertilizer.
And as you can see a person can still fit inside the coop if need be for deeper cleaning or repairs
I’m also making a two level roost over the droppings board which will give my birds plenty of space and get plenty of air circulation from the windows.
DIY Chicken Coop Roof
For the roof of the coop I decided to go with metal over shingles
Compared to shingles Its much lighter and stronger and also quicker to install because you don’t need plywood underlayment you can just screw it straight to the frame.
Because its so light it’s easy for two people to lift into place.
DIY Chicken Coop Run
Before I installed the roof over the run I went ahead and covered everything in hardware cloth which is much easier to deal with now
Actually, If I built another coop I would install the hardware cloth as I assemble the walls while everything is flat on the ground.
If you’ve never used hardware cloth its like a stronger version of chicken wire
It comes in big rolls and is a bear to deal with by yourself but it’d more secure than chicken wire which is the most important reason to use it
I started out snipping this stuff by hand which got old real fast.
Then I got smart and switched over to a rotary tool with a metal cutting wheel
Then I installed the door to the run which I attached with gate hinge hardware and a spring loaded latch to make sure the gate remains securely closed.
Then we can slide the roof onto the run which again is so much easier to do with metal roofing
And that’s it! The coop is complete! All it needs now is some new occupants.