Chicken coops are easy and very inexpensive to build. For the very basic coop, all you need is chicken wire and 2-by-4s. Raising chickens is a satisfying way to have readily available eggs and meat all year long. From hoop shapes to basic square designs, building your own chicken coop with chicken wire is an easy Saturday project that you can be proud of, and your chicks will love.
Check with local authorities to make sure that raising chickens in your backyard is legal. If you start to raise chickens and go through all the work of acquiring your birds, building your coop, stocking up on feed and then find out it is not legal to raise chickens in your area, all your hard work could be confiscated.
Plan the area of the yard where the chicken coop will be located. Make sure the ground is level and does not flood when it rains.
Make a wooden floor by placing the plywood panels in the desired width and length. This method works for the permanently situated coop that will never be moved. Chickens normally need about 4 feet of square footage per bird. Size of coop will depend on how many chickens you plan to raise. Frame out the floor by screwing the 2-by-4s in place around the edges.
Construct the wall frame by screwing evenly spaced 2-by-4s around the coop perimeter. There is no need to frame out a roof since this coop is constructed mostly from chicken wire.
Staple chicken wire from the floor boards all the way up to the roof. If this is a permanent coop, dig a trench that is at least 12 inches into the ground and bury 1 foot of the chicken wire down into the trench. This helps keep out burrowing predators like rats, rabbits, cats, foxes and other animals that might want to feast on your chickens.
Wrap and staple the chicken wire over the roof so that is overlaps a little on the outside walls. Place a large tarp over half of the coop to allow for shade and respite from the day's heat. Tie the tarp to the chicken wire to keep in place during strong winds.
Construct a simple 15-inch wide, open-front nesting box out of available plywood and layer with hay. The hay keeps the eggs from breaking when the hens are laying them. Screw the nesting box 2 feet off the ground to the wall frame.
Attach 2-by-4s across the coop from wall to wall 2 feet off of the ground as a place for the chickens to roost.
Supply constant feed by drilling 4 to 5 one inch holes around a 5 gallon bucket 1/2 inch up from the bottom. Place this bucket right side up on a large base, such as a clay plant base and fill with feed. Make sure the feeder is at least the height of the chicken's neck off of the ground. You will use the same method for the watering bucket except drilling just 2 small holes around the bottom base. Keep these buckets within the chicken's reach at all times.
If you want a coop that you can relocate regularly to allow the chickens to free range feed, do not install a floor or place the wire into the ground. Leave the floor open and create longer panels of boards attached to the front of the coop that can be used as handholds to pick up and drag the coop to its new location.
Tips and warnings
- If you want a coop that you can relocate regularly to allow the chickens to free range feed, do not install a floor or place the wire into the ground. Leave the floor open and create longer panels of boards attached to the front of the coop that can be used as handholds to pick up and drag the coop to its new location.