DIY Chicken Coop on a Budget
We have chickens! Today’s post is all about how we built our DIY chicken coop on a budget. I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step and share how we saved thousands by DIYing this project.
The chicken coop building began when our chicks were 3 weeks old. The coop portion needed to be built (and secure) around the 5-6 week time frame once the chicks could handle the outside temps.
The basic build idea came from the Beginners Guide to Raising Chickens. I highly recommend this book for anyone new to the world of raising chickens:
There is a chicken coop plan similar to what we built in the book. However, we were working with slightly different measurements since we were building it between two shade trees (the perfect spot for those hot summer days!) and wanted to make sure our chickens had plenty of room.
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The coop + run we built is 12’x8’ and 8’ tall (at the tallest point). The coop part is 4’x8’ and a little over 4’ tall.
With six chickens, 96 square feet of run space and 32 square feet of coop space was mathematically enough space. It would also provide some wiggle room if we decided to add a couple more down the road.
Build a Chicken Coop Cheap: Building Materials List
For reference, below is a list of materials used.
Note: this list may not be 100% accurate, but it will give you a general idea of what we used and an approximate cost.
Total cost of materials was about $850 and we saved a few hundred by using some repurposed materials (mentioned below) and we had some building materials on hand already (those are not included in the total cost).
To my surprise, a large portion of the expense went toward the hardware cloth at $300 total. Well worth it for the extra security and peace of mind though!
If you are looking for a less expensive option, chicken wire may be your best bet. However, keep in mind that chicken wire is not terribly secure against wildlife/predator’s.
After received quotes at $5,000+ to have a similar model custom built, we knew this needed to be a DIY project.
- 4 – 4x4x8’s (treated)
- 4 – 2x4x12’s
- 20 – 2x4x8’s
- 3 – 2x6x12’s (treated)
- 8 – 1x4x10’s (to use for trim boards)
- 1 – 4’ wide x 100’ long ½” galvanized hardware cloth (for the walls)
- 1 – 2’ wide x 50’ long ¼” galvanized hardware cloth (for the skirt)
- 4 – 12’ long galvanized roofing sheets
- 4 – sheets of plywood ½” thick
- Concrete slabs for the parameter (to prevent predator digging)
- Insulation (we used what we could find at our local Habitat store for a cost of about $20…quantity/price will vary depending on what areas you want to insulate)
- Wood to build coop walls (we used repurposed wood that was free to us)
- Door for the run (we used a repurposed door found for $25, or the door can be built out of additional 2×4’s and hardware cloth)
- Several boxes of 1.5” and 2.5” – 3” screws (depending on your materials)
- Box or two of metal roofing screws
- Washers that fit the chosen 1.5” screw head (to attach/secure the hardware cloth)
- Hinges, locks, carabiner clips
Now, onto the build!
Build a Chicken Coop Step by Step with Pictures
Part 1: Build the Four Mail Walls and Attach the Hardware Cloth
First step was to build the four walls that would make up the run and the coop.
We built each wall and attached the ½” hardware cloth while it was still on the ground.
Since the highest point of the coop is 8’, we found it to be easier to install the hardware cloth before putting the wall in place. This way, we did not have to go up and down a ladder to screw the hardware cloth into the wall frame.
We used treated 4×4’s on the 4 corners, then 2×4’s to build each wall. The 2×6’s were placed on 3 of the 4 walls, on the base. We didn’t end up needing the 2×6 for the back wall since it was a solid wall.
Looking back, I would have purchased treated 2×4’s for the base frame, but I’m sure the untreated ones will hold up for many years.
We are fortunate to live in a climate that does not get much rain or snow, so the roof slope did not have to be much. Cully cut the back 2×4’s a few inches shorter than the front 2×4’s to create the slight slope.
I should note that my number one concern was security. I wanted to make sure predators (or our dogs ;o)) could not get into the run or coop. There may have been some overdoing the security portion on my part (or at least Cully would say)….but that was intentional and all these measures may not need to be taken for your coop/run. It just depends how secure you want it to be.
Part 2: Build the Coop Walls, Floor and Ceiling. Then Install the Roof
Once the four walls were up, we started building the coop walls, floor and ceiling.
We insulated the back and top of the coop, where the sun would hit most. The back insulation came more as an afterthought, and by this point, the chickens were getting restless in their brooder…so we secured the coop as best we could in preparation for their move in date, then addressed the back of the coop area.
After the ceiling was installed and insulated, Cully screwed in the 12′ galvanized roof panels. He used specific roofing screws which made the process much quicker and easier.
Here is a picture of the framing and finishing for the front of the coop:
The wood slats around the coop came from my mother-in-law’s old roof (pictured below) and are estimated to be 115 years old!!
Since the main coop door is glass and is right next to their roosting bar, I added a shade for night, so they aren’t on display to any predators that may be lurking the night (gee, I can’t see why Cully thinks I went a little over the top with security. lol).
Here is a shot of the chicken’s first night in the coop! They were so happy to be out of their tiny house and into their new coop.
Part 3: Install Hardware Cloth Skirt + Finishing Touches
To prevent outside digging, we installed ¼” hardware cloth around the parameter of the run/coop. I also added cement slabs for extra security.
Then, for a touch of nature, we build flower boxes out of scrap wood and added the planters with small pine trees (spacing the actual name of the trees). The flower boxes also help prevent digging.
Needless to say, our dogs have been curious about the chickens since day one
And a final picture of what the coop/run looks like now! I plan on adding some additional finishing touches but love how it turned out!
We will build their nesting boxes in the area where you see the fence boards on the side of the coop…but the chicken’s won’t need them for several more weeks.
There you have it! Our DIY chicken coop on a budget in full force and housing our happy chickens.
DIY Chicken Coop Plans
Looking for more DIY chicken coop inspiration? I’ve got you covered.
Below are the best resources to build a DIY chicken coop on a budget. These plans are perfect if you are not quite comfortable building from scratch, but want to go the DIY route.
Building a Chicken Coop – These DIY chicken coop plans go so much further than just giving you the basic measurements. They help you understand the best set up for your goals including what kind of coop you should build and where it should be located. And, they provide tons of additional information like how to build your coop inexpensively and ideas on how to build nesting boxes. Lot’s of bang for your buck.
Easy Coops Step By Step – Want a walk in chicken coop? Or perhaps you need a coop that houses up to 50 chickens. Super cute and practical, these DIY chicken coop plans are sure to please your feathered friends.
Until next time!
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