Do It Yourself » All Cooped Up! How to Build a Chicken Coop

All Cooped Up! How to Build a Chicken Coop

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If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’re aware that our family embarked on the adventure of hatching some chicks in an incubator.all-cooped-up-how-to-build-a-chicken-coop

smiley-char026 smilie Out of the 14 chicks we had in the last batch, only 3 are surviving. The rest have been gobbled up by whatever could snatch them through the bottom of the chicken coop wire. (Something even popped the heads off 2 of my hens, NO Kidding!).

So, since the 18 babies are too small to go in with the rest of the chickens (with no “mom” to protect them”, I’ve decided to add a new 8’x’8 Nursery Coop. I found while attempting to build the previous coop without any help, that 16′ walls were too difficult to wrap in the wire without assistance.

Since this is a project of my own undertaking and I have to complete it alone, I thought it best to stick with walls that even a Girl can lug herself.

So ladies, here are my directions for building your own Chicken Coop- when you don’t have the muscle power of a man to help. (Or don’t want a mans help! haha).

20- 2x4x8
5 – 2x4x10
2 sheets 4×8 Plywood (roof)
1 50′ Roll 72″ Chicken Wire
1 25′ roll 24″ Hardware Cloth
Bunch of Screws
scrap wood for the “eaves”

First, lay 4 – 2x4x8’s out- Since it’s a pain in the rear to screw the screws in sideways, I started the screws Before I set the lumber out.


If you’re also using hardware cloth, measure about 2 feet up, add a 2×4 for strength. Here I stretched the wire as tight as I could (since I had to tackle this project alone!), and attached the hardware cloth on the bottom 2 feet.


Once you’ve completed the 4 walls, it’s time to stand them up. I did ask my oldest son to come out for about 15 minutes to help with this part. Unfortunately, as we were standing up the walls, we were hit with a massive Storm which struck the tree we were working beside. You can view the photos here.


Next, once the walls are standing, screw them together. Here you can see I’ve begun adding the rafters. (Simply cut the 2x4x10’s in half, angle 1 end of each “rafter” piece based on the pitch you need for your roof.) Since we rarely have snow issues here, my concern was for rain only. You’ll need 2 full 4×8 sheets of plywood for the roof. I really REALLY suggest you get help on this one, it was really difficult to walk the plywood up the ladder without help!!!


On the front wall, I left the bottom (2 foot) opening, 6 feet wide so that I could add a shelter for the chicks. The box was made out of various scraps of plywood that we had laying around from other projects.

Here’s a view inside the “shelter” area for the chicks. As you can see I built a small removable “shelf” of hardware cloth with a heat lamp set on the top. I added this because I was concerned about the cool night temperatures and wanted to be sure that if I added heat the hay/bedding that was in the bottom of the box, I wanted a barrier to prevent accidental fire.


Here’s a view from the inside. I used an old 4×4 post and added a few “perch” posts in various directions.

I did happen to have a partial roll of some roofing paper, so I put that on as well to help keep out the rain. I’ve been keeping an eye out at the local lumber yards for cheap shingles. On occasion, you can purchase a bundle for $2-3.

Another thing to consider, due to the high number of predators in the area, I dug down 6 inches all the way around the entire coup and buried bricks all the way around. This means that raccoons and possums have to dig for a while to get underneath the coop and inside.

It seems that my chickies are pretty happy in their new home!


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9 thoughts on “All Cooped Up! How to Build a Chicken Coop”

  1. **Update** Turn the bricks long way (Tall) so that they can be buried deeper in the ground if you have large predators around. We had bobcats digging under, trying to get in to ours.

  2. great project. hardware cloth “shelf” is vert inovative. hardware cloth can also be extended 6″ along ground at bottom of walls to
    discourage digging varmints.

    Same application inside coop deters occupants from digging out.

  3. cats will decapitate poultry if the birds stretch their heads through the wire. i found this out the hard way when someone left the door of my quail barn open. whn i came into the barn the next day, i found the external feeders full of blood and the chicken’s heads gone.

    two large cats were sitting on the top cage waiting for the next victim. i solved the problem by attaching a piece of poultry netting at the top and at an angle at the bottom so that the bottom was farther out by about eight inches. if the bird stuck their heads our to eat the cats could not reach them.


  4. we have never lost a chicken to anything but natural causes. our solution to predators?

    a bigger predator. for us nothing has worked better than a german shepherd who’s been notified the chickens are mine. the coop is in the middle of a large fenced dog yard.

  5. i really like the idea with the bricks, too. we just have got some chickens so we’re learning as we go. but, i know we’ll be getting more in the future and i can’t wait to use these ideas!


  6. my cats do not bother my chickens. i even have them out in the yard together. couldn’t you put hardware cloth on the bottom of the cage when you build it.:purr:

  7. i’ve been raising langshan chickens for quite a few years. my roo has taken “best of barn” in the local shows so if i lose chicks or hens it’s a big money loss for me. i’ve since added 2 turkeys to my chicken yard and a giant Pekin duck.

    As we have all the normal predators, plus coyotes, fox and weasels, the duck and turkeys are more vocal and when I let them out to free range I’m alerted faster.

  8. You are an inspiration! (men – phoofst – who needs ’em). Needless to say – my husband and I built our chicken coops similar to yours – but used PVC – so that “I” can move them around 🙂


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