A chicken coop is a cozy home for your chickens. It’s a safe place for your flock to roost and lay eggs, with protection from predators and the wild Australian weather.
Plus, building the coop yourself is a great way to save money, learn new skills and create the coop that’s just right for you.
In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn exactly how to create a strong, sturdy and stylish DIY chicken coop.
But first, here are some key things to consider before you start building.
Things to Consider
Before you get cracking, you’ll want to double-check you have all the equipment and materials you need.
You’ve probably heard stories of people building their DIY chicken coops out of old tyres, corrugated roofing and all sorts of other crazy things.
But the fastest, easiest and strongest material to build your coop from is wood.
It’s also important to consider the area where you place your coop. Laying a concrete slab underneath is one of the most popular ways to ensure a stable base for your coop.
A strong concrete foundation will help keep out predators and provide a waterproof area on which to start building.
To actually build the coop, you’ll need a:
Electric sand saw
The next step is to plan out your coop, specifically the measurements.
Now, figuring out the actual measurements is an essential step. So before you even hammer your first nail or cut your first wooden plank, take some time to really plan out your dimensions.
It’s important to consider how many chickens you’re hoping to include. You’ll also want to consider where you’re going to place your roost.
Your location should be:
Accessible (so you can get your eggs easily)
Dry (good drainage)
Sunny (bright and sunny area though the coop itself should be shaded)
Once you’ve got your location, materials, tools and measurements, you can get building!
Steps to Building a Chicken Coop
1 . Building the frame
Once you’ve chosen your design, you’ll begin building the frame of your coop out of wooden planks. The ones travelling horizontally are your side battens while the ones facing vertically are your vertical battens.
How many battens and their formation will depend on the plans you made earlier.
You’ll need to fix them all together with screws. Screw through the side battens and into the connecting vertical ones.
2. Building the roof
Making the roof begins by creating and fitting the roof trusses. These are two beams from both sides of the coop frame that touch overhead and form a rigid shape.
You’ll screw the point where they meet together as well as the point where they connect to your original frame structure. There’ll be three of these across the top of the coop and they’ll support the ridge rail.
The ridge rail is a skinny rectangular prism piece of wood that’s screwed in between the roof trusses, linking them all together.
The end product should resemble a typical triangle roof.
3. Painting the frame
Take this time to paint the frame of your coop. While it’s possible to do this later, the panels will make it more inconvenient.
4. Making the roof panels
Take two Oriented Strand Boards (OSBs) and cut them to the correct size. You’ll want them to extend slightly longer than your actual roof frame so there is that bit of charming overhang.
Screw both these new roof panels to your trusses and side battens.
5. Making the frame panels
Now you can begin work on the side panels. Your frame will have naturally formed rectangle areas which you can use to determine the best size for your panels.
Screw these panels to the coop as well as your floor panel (same process with measuring what size you’ll need to make it).
The next thing to do is to cut, place and screw the gable and entrance panel. At this point, it’ll be pretty clear what area needs to be covered by your panels.
6. Cut openings
Once your coop has all its panels, it’s time to cut openings in the panels (coop door, nesting box and right side panel).
Don’t stress too much about the size of these openings. If in doubt, err on the side of more space for the chickens to travel through.
7. Coop doorframes
Each coop door is made from two vertical door battens and two horizontal door battens.
These battens should run the full length of their respective side (so they fit perfectly inside the frame).
Apply PVC glue to the end of a horizontal batten. Take a vertical batten and screw through the side of it into the horizontal batten.
Repeat this to create the other side of the door frame. Then repeat the entire process for the second door frame.
Attach these doorframes to the rest of your coop by drilling holes and fitting hinges.
8. Coop doors
Back in step 6, you cut out pieces of your panels to make entrances. Now it’s time to use those pieces as doors for each of the entrances.
Use them and some hinges to create your various entrances (anywhere that you cut out earlier).
9. Roosting bar, coop ramp and paint
All you have to do now is add a roosting bar, a coop ramp and a fresh lick of paint.
If possible, using a branch as your roosting bar is a great way to create a more realistic look for your coop.
You can also save resources by using the cutouts from the panels for your ramp.
Feel free to pick whatever colourful paint you want (as long as it’s durable and suited for the outdoors)
10. Waterproof roof
Hammer down felt along the left and right side of the roof. You’ll want to place nails about every 25cm for maximum security and stability.
Then take a third piece of felt and cover the ridge of the roof.
Wrap everything up with some chicken wire over the doorframe you built in step 7.
Start Your DIY Project Today
You are now the proud owner of a completed DIY chicken coop! Hopefully, your feathered friends will appreciate the time and effort you put into it.