How to build an easy cheap chicken coop

Updated April 17, 2017

Building a coop is essential if you want to have chickens in your yard. A chicken coop is a place where the chickens lay eggs, as well as a place where they are safe from predators at night. You can make a chicken coop from old lumber and equipment.

Plan how big your coop will need to be. As a rule of thumb, a coop should allow each chicken at least two square feet of space. If you have five chickens, then your coop will need to be 10 square feet. Each chicken should have six inches of perching room, and there should be a laying box for every two chickens.

Build a simple box to your desired size by attaching pieces of wood or using an existing wooden box. The box should be as high as it is wide, and should allow you to gain access, either by lifting up the roof or by opening a door. Opening the roof will be the simplest method, and will require you to attach a hinge and bracket to the roof and the back of the coop. Ensure that the roof is waterproof, covering it in tarpaulin if necessary.

Section off the nesting boxes to give your chickens safe places to lay eggs. Place a section of wood at least six inches high at regular intervals to create stalls.

Attach perching space above the ground level in the coop. Ideally, this would involve attaching cylindrical pieces of wood hammering a nail through the wall. Place the perches three to four feet off the ground.

Cover the floor of the chicken coop in straw. Generously distribute the straw throughout to keep the chickens warm, and change regularly to keep the chickens free from disease. Place the chicken coop on four breeze blocks to keep it from the ground. This will prevent it from getting wet or frozen in bad weather.

Place something heavy on the roof of the coop at night to prevent predators from being able to get it. A breeze block would suffice, as would any heavy object. You can insert a latch and padlock for added protection.


Face your coop southward to give the chickens warmth from sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber
  • Planks of wood
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Hinge and bracket
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About the Author

Emile Heskey has been a professional writer since 2008, when he began writing for "The Journal" student newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in modern history and politics from Oxford University, as well as a Master of Science in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies from Edinburgh University.