Chicken Coop – DIY – Cheap and Easy – A Different Perspective

Not pretty, but works well

I googled ‘free chicken coop designs’ and I got over 1 million hits! However after browsing many pages and sites, I found that almost none had truly free designs or plans. Such a waste of my time.

So I decided to find and post only a few Truly Free shed designs and plans for chicken coops. With that as my objective I soon discovered that to adapt and build a chicken coop, I must first make a few basic decisions about my chicken flock.

  • 1. How much room do I have available for a coop and run?
  • 2. How many chickens will I be keeping in my flock? Rule of thumb, 1 chicken will produce 1 egg every 27 – 30 hours.
  • 3. Will I want to keep any Ducks, Geese or Turkeys as well?
  • As a minimum, standard size Chickens and Ducks will need 2-3 square feet of coop floor space.
    Geese and Turkeys will require 3-4 or more square feet of floor space.

    3-5 gallon plastic bucket nest

    A coop that is 4 foot wide and 8 feet long {size of 1 sheet of plywood} provides 32 square feet of floor space, this is enough floor space for 12 to 15 Chickens or Ducks. 32 square space will only house 8 or maybe 9 Geese or Turkeys.

    Once you have a basic plan/design you can scale that plan up or down to build a larger or smaller coop. Wood products come in even lengths. Try to always design and scale your coop in even numbers. 4X4, 4X6, 4X8, 8X8 sizes. You will have much less waste and less cutting and fitting to construct you new coop.

    Disclaimer, I do not endorse any website or business I may provide a link to. These links are Only provided as a conveyance to my readers.

  • Design and Plans on Building a Coop
  • Easy Build Coop Plans
  • Plastic storage bins used as nest boxes

    Don’t see what your looking for here? Check out the websites of Universities that have classes or degree programs related to agriculture, farm or ranch programs.
    North Dakota State University

    Helpful Hints

  • Construct your coop so it is ‘easy’ for you to clean and disinfect. A coop with 4 foot walls is difficult to enter, clean and collect eggs. 6 to 8 foot tall walls is much better.
  • Do not allow anything to set directly on the floor. This only invites mice and rats to live in your coop.
  • Place nest boxes at a height that makes it easy for you to access and collect eggs.
  • Keep feeders and water troughs 2 to 4 inches off the floor. You will have less wasted food this way.
  • Litter removed from your coop when cleaning is a great addition to your compost pile or use as mulch around garden plants.

    Why is common sense so uncommon?
    Don’t be Shy. Leave me your comment(s)

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    46 responses to “Chicken Coop – DIY – Cheap and Easy – A Different Perspective

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    9. This is perfect for me as I plan to get chickens by this fall


      • Re Melinda – Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog and for your comment(s)
        Over the past 5 years I have made several postings about chickens, sexing chicks, brooders and chicken coops. Try doing a blog search for feather sexing chicks, brooders and chicken coops to find more of my poultry postings.

        Happy gardening


        • Thanks! I will check them out. And thanks for looking at my blog about the CA drought. I am hoping to find a community of “common sensors” out here through WordPress, YouTube, and FB. Wanna come looking with me?


    10. Hi! Would plastic bins be big enough for turkeys for a nest box? Do you know the needed dimensions? and I’m assuming you’d keep the cover on for them? Thanks!!!


      • Re Johanna Rochester Thanks for visiting my humble little blog and for your comment(s). First let me say, ducks, geese and turkeys will all make their choice ‘where’ they want to nest. Simply providing a good nest box in no way means it will be used. A inverted wood or plastic container 20 – 24 wide X 24 inch deep and about 18 inches tall has worked well for me. It must be large enough the bird can stand and turn around in side the next box.

        Line/pad the bottom with clean grass hay or wheat straw. Remove and replace as needed.
        Don’t use saw dust or wood shavings your birds may eat this type of nest lining and become sick. Poultry and saw dust are a bad combination.
        When your turkey starts laying in the location of her choice be prepared to move your nest box to that location.

        Several hens sometimes will share 1 nest box, but, if a hen is in the nest box other hens are likely to lay eggs randomly on the floor or even on the ground out doors!

        I hope this answers your question.
        Good luck on your Turkey Nesting Project


    11. Wow…spooky you liked a post I put up today and here’s where it gets spooky..I was literally just going to run to the dollar store in our area to buy a few plastic milk crates to attach to our goat house walls as I have a few chickens not getting along and moved them in there. Seeing the plastic bins (and having a gazillion of them because I need them I am sure) sitting in the basement, I am going to go cut one now to use. I also have a stash of 5 gallon buckets but I am sure I need those for something else lol. Great idea and nice post!!


      • Re itsteen0440 – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog and for your comment(s)
        I hope you found some of my post info useful.
        I have some old unused rabbit cages that I use when I need isolate a hen from the flock or when she goes broody on me.
        Good luck


    12. Do the nests take care of the problem of having the coop directly on the ground? I’m very new to this (as you can probably tell), but I’ve seen that some people have trouble with wildlife trying to sneak in and have a snack.


      • Re carmannareau – Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog and for your comment(s). Nest Boxes are a win, win thing for you and your laying hen(s).
        It makes keeping their nesting materials clean much easier. Your hens will always go back to the same place to lay her eggs. A semi-enclosed nest box makes her feel secure and that her nest is in a safe place.
        Other wise your hens will try to find a spot to hide and build a nest in a safe place, if they can’t do that they will tend to lay eggs randomly on the floor everywhere.
        A wood or cement flood in your hen house is a ‘Must’ have item. Houses with dirt floors allow mice, rats and other unwanted pest like snakes and skunks to dig under your house walls giving them easy access to your chicken feeders, your chicks, laying hens and any uncollected eggs.
        I hope this answered your question(s).
        Happy Gardening


    13. Good Morning! Thanks for reading my blog. I just like to ramble on about everything. I wanted to ask, do you think they like the pine shavings or the hay better? Most people I know use hay but maybe that is because it is easier to get and cheaper.


      • Re ohineedwax thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog and for your comment(s).
        I use hay for litter, but, that’s mostly for my convenience. I buy hay in 1,000 to 1,500 pound round bails for our longhorn cows, donkey and horse for food and bedding. It also makes great compost when I clean the chicken coop.
        Happy gardening


        • Oh see you have chickens, cows, donkeys and horses. I knew I liked you. I would probably use hay also just because its cheaper and easier to get. Never thought about the composting part. :)


    14. Great tips. We’ll be building our coop very soon now and this post really helps!


    15. My chickens didn’t have it quite so elaborate, but I did keep it clean. Wish I had had these instructions then. I’ll certainly use them if I buy more , since you just can’t beat a fresh egg!


    16. Great information on practical ideas for hen house construction


    17. What a fantastic posting. It’s definitely something I’ll refer back to as it’s so brilliantly researched and practical. Thanks so much for sharing the secrets of your brilliant coup. Lizzie


    18. Hi there, I am impressed wity those white plastic buckets used as nests. What did you use for the from bit? Are they nailed to the back wall? we are having trouble with our chooks ( aussie for chickens) at present. One of them is smashing eggs. I am re-designing the whole interior- a bit of new decor for chooks. Any help on the above would be appreciated. Francesca


      • re Francesca -Thanks for finding time to visit my tiny blog.
        The front was made by cutting a bucket lid about in half, snap 1/2 lid on bucket I used a few drops of JB weld glue to keep the lids in place.
        I used a couple of drywall screws to screw the bucket to the coop wall framing.

        Happy Holiday Season


    19. Excellent. I will want to keep a few chickens on my plot eventually. I am pleased to have found this blog.
      I only started writing this last night, I am an absolute beginner and was gratified to wake up and find that someone had read my ramblings.
      I shall keep my eye on your posts.


    20. Great info! Thanks!


    21. Wow! You are a person I can ask questions about the cows!!! Hooray~


    22. You have some great ideas….I loved having hens in our back yard, we simply kept ours for the eggs. They were a lot of fun:)


    23. AWesome!! Post!!!!

      check my blog out tell me what you think!


      • Hi – thanks for visiting my tiny blog
        I’m not a blog critic, but it looks like your running a business and not a true blog. Maybe you should consider building a website to support your business venture.
        I really like coop’s that look like something they are not. An old general store or I saw one that looked like an old time post office that I really liked.


    24. Thanks for visiting my blog–just in time for me to find yours–and get good info from building the coop.


    25. Thanks for these great tips. We have chickens on the farm, but they do not produce eggs for us consistently. In fact we’ve recently had an explosion of chicks! Our chickens free range in the garden most days of the week which can cause a lot of problems, especially when I’m sowing new seeds and they dig everything up. They have a lovely chicken coup made out of sand stone, but my next project is to set up proper laying boxes so that we can get the egg production going. I like the look of the plastic ones in your photos. I’ve also heard that chicken stock made from farm chickens is incredible, but haven’t tried it yet.


    26. Love the plastic tub nest boxes!


    27. I’m from Melbourne, Australia and thanks for stopping by my food swap blog. I love chickens too and I’ve been keeping them for about 6 years now. How do you grow your veges with chickens around? Mine just scratch and eat everything!


      • Re: karencheah – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
        I free feed my hens with a good quality layer mash that I kept inside the hen house, I put out a small amount of a grain based hen scratch in their pen 2 times a day. I deep mulch my garden area with old chicken litter and livestock bedding hay. The hens do scratch around a lot but seldom do any real damage. They will take a bite of a plant leaf from time to time, but mostly stick to eating insects in the mulch or off my garden plants.
        Happy summer gardening


    28. I’d like to keep chickens but I am quite allergic to the dust that accumulates from their poop and feathers. Any advice?


      • Re: micmilgarden – Thanks for visiting my little blog.
        To help control mites, dust etc. Keep fresh litter on hen house floor, change litter weekly if you can, or at least using a hose end sprayer filled with antibacterial soap, wet down your hen house litter, washing ceiling and walls at the same time. Spray litter to dampen using antibacterial soap before raking and removal from your hen house. Wash floor before putting down fresh litter. Joy antibacterial soap, or ‘Blue’ Dawn dish soap both seem to work well.
        Put litter in a compost pile, dampen compost pile every-time you add litter to speed composting, DO NOT spray compost pile with the hose end sprayer filled with antibacterial soap.

        I hope you find this useful.
        Happy scrambled egg eating!


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