DIY Chicken Coop

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I’m so proud of my coop. I have had a hard time adjusting to the fact that the chickens are pooping all over it. I knew they would do that, but it hasn’t made all the poop any easier. All in the name of fresh eggs, right?
I had a few things in mind when I started. I want the coop to be portable so that I could move it around the yard and not kill the grass in any one spot. I also wanted it to be totally enclosed, so that I could leave the birds in it if I needed to for a long time and not feel bad, as in go on vacation and feel like they would still be happy in their home. I also wanted to have a way for the ladies to access the yard on days I wanted them to roam around.
I spent around 18 hours building it and would say I did 83% of the work by myself. Thomas only helped me with the roof which I was struggling with. I am so glad that I did this project. This was my first real experience with power tools which I was previously nervous around. Now I have gained great confidence in my ability to build things and I can start on other projects of this type that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Thomas isn’t the only engineer in the family, huh?
The finished coop is about 3.5 feet wide and 6 feet tall. The white door here is the access door to the nesting boxes. It allows easy access to where the birds lay so that the kids can help collect the eggs. The door is from the old kitchen cabinets.
chicken coop plans

This side of the coop is where the birds can access the yard when I want them to. The little door at the bottom can be opened during the day so that they can roam. Again, the door was part of the kitchen cabinets.

chicken coop plans, portable coop. portable chicken coop
The string that you see here is attached to the ramp that lets the ladies access the top of the coup from the bottom. I wanted the top area to be able to be closed off at night to help keep the ladies safe and to help keep the cold out in the winter. The ramp is hinged, so when I pull on the string it pulls the ramp up and closes off the top area.
DIY Chicken Coop plans
DIY Chicken Coop plans
DIY Chicken Coop plans

And I bet you didn’t see this coming! This is why I needed help with the roof: it hinges open. I wanted easy access to the top to clean it out and to change their food and water.

DIY Chicken Coop plans, portable chicken coop

Here are the three nesting boxes. The white at the back is the door that opens to gather the eggs.

Chickens like to sleep sitting on a stick, which is called roosting. I wanted the birds to have a natural roost (not just a board) and so I used a stick from our apple tree. I’m excited to see them sitting on it. Won’t that be cute? And here is my string to pull up the ramp.

I put on some snazzy boards that stick out on each end at the handles to carry the coop.

After I took a few pictures I filled the top with straw in hopes of keeping things a little cleaner. I plan on changing the straw as needed. So far the straw seems to be working and they like to poke around in it.

Here is a picture of some of the cabinets that I used which used to live in my kitchen. Why did we tear this out again? If you are new here, you can check out our crazy remodel under the “Our Biggest Mess” tab at the top.

The rest of the wood came from the house too. The green boards were above the ceiling in our living room and kitchen. Here they are in the house.

Thomas is a saver, but I was the one who was packing all the boards out to the barn and pulling out the nails. I thought he was a crazy man at the time, but now I’m so glad he insisted on saving lots. Wood is expensive!
Here’s the breakdown of what I paid for the coop:
20 feet of plastic roofing: $47
10 feet of chicken wire: $6.50
7ish pounds of screws: $8
2 locking clasps for the doors: $5.50
Straw : $4
Wood: Free(ish) We did pay for the house…
Total out-of-pocket cost for me: $71
I’ll be honest. I was shocked at how much the roofing jazz was and I spent a lot more than planned. Still cheaper than the coop at IFA that was half the size and a little over $500 with tax.
And since I’m in a numbers mood here’s the rest of what I’ve spent on my birds:
5 chicks from IFA: $15
3 chicks from a friend: Free
Waterer: $3
Feeder: $2
Chick starter (food for very young chicks): $10
Egg laying mash (what they eat now): $16
Heat lamp: $10
Bulb for heat lamp: $10
Total: $66
Plus the coup: $71
Grand total: $137
And just because we can:
I buy fresh eggs for $2 a dozen right now. It will take 70 dozen eggs to recoup my cost. Chickens lay an average of 20 dozen eggs in their life time, so I should get around 140 dozen eggs from these birds (I am 99% sure one is a him, so I only have seven that will lay). Once you add in the continuing cost of food and electricity to use the heat lamp I should gain my money back sometime next year.

There you have it. The coop and what it costs to start raising a small brood of chickens. Wasn’t that fun? Who else wants their own chickens now?

I really want to paint a sign to hang on the coop that says something, but I just can’t figure out what it should say. Something about chickens or eggs, obviously. Any ideas?

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  1. I have to say, planting a garden and having some far animals seemed so impossible, but coming across your blog has put it in a new light for me. I look forward to owning my own home and being able to do this!

    I like your term “hobby snob”. I feel like I can relate to that term, at least in books for now. One day, hopefully soon, I can pursue the things that I would love for my family & interest. All good things!

  2. Don’t count your eggs until they are laid or
    Don’t count your eggs until they are safely in the house

  3. i’m so glad i came across this- my habitat for humanity restore alwayssss has kitchen cabinets and this looks like a conversion I could totally handle!!

  4. This looks so good! I think it’s awesome that you used old wood from your house. 🙂 The little chickens are so cute.

  5. I love the way the top opens. I am hoping to revamp my coop at some point. Great idea! I love my chickens and it looks like we have a few birds of the same feather.

  6. I have never toured a chicken coup before and I loved it. Did you take your design inspiration from the Indiana Jones 1st movie from the Arc of the Covenant. Can you please call it the Arc of the Coup-ernant? Yes, i am cracking myself up even as I type.

    There are so many convenient design features built in. I loved loved the string opening and so nice of you to include a natural stick for sleeping. And so proud that you are still counting 10 after your first power tool adventures. May this be the first of many building projects!

  7. Now I want chickens even more!! Though we currently live in a suburb that does not allow chickens, the city adjacent to us does. 😉 We’re thinking we might move there. How great to know that you can save so much? I was anticipating a cost of at least $250.

    Out of curiosity, what made you decide to go with chicks rather than pullets? Great work!

    1. The bird I got from the store were pullets, I think. That means a girl chick right? I bought girls from the store and they said that they were right about the gender 90% of the time. The ones from my friend weren’t sexed, and the one male was from her batch. I hope you can get some, we are just loving them!

    2. Hi Melissa! I’m really enjoying your blog! We also keep chickens. Pullets are older females, about to start laying. We have raised chicks for the kids to have the experience, but after that first time, we switched to pullets. It is better economically, since we don’t need a light, or to keep them inside, or to feed them for 4 months. We usually start getting eggs with a week or 2 at the most. And there is less loss due to death than with chicks.

    3. Melissa what a great job and I am going to use your coop ad the guide to building my own chicken coop. I hope my coop turns out half as amazing as yours.

    4. We’ve moved it 2 times now too and it’s still standing! LOL, though I really could use a new one now.

  8. You are amazing! Way to go Melissa. If I could have chickens I would do this. You make it seem much less difficult than I would have thought!