Purchasing a ready-made coop to house your chickens or building one yourself can be expensive. You don't need a fancy coop, as chickens are not fussy and only require basic housing needs to be fulfilled, such as protection from harsh weather conditions, and a place to roost and nest. Create a chicken coop with little or no expense by recycling pallets from shipping crates. Integrate the pallets with other scrap material, to construct a comfortable coop for your chickens.
Select an even surface to build the chicken house. Place two 4-by-4-feet wooden pallets side by side, to create the floor of the coop. Secure the pallets together with 3-inch screws and a screwdriver. Screwing the pallets first and bolting them when they are connected ensures easy installation.
Use a jigsaw to cut four 2-by-4-inch rectangular holes, in the four corners, on the underside of each pallet. Coat one side of eight 20-by-4-inch wooden bars or scrap lumber with waterproof wood glue, put each bar in the rectangular hole and secure them with nuts and bolts. Create a firm foundation for the coop by placing a cement layer block beneath each leg. The wooden bars form the legs of the coop and place it at an elevation that is helpful during heavy rainfall.
Build the back wall with one 4-by-4-feet wooden pallet, and use two 4-by-2-feet wooden pallets to create the side walls. Create the front wall with a 3-by-3-feet pallet, which allows a space of 2-by-2-feet for the door.
Hold the pallets for the respective walls vertically to the edge of the floor. Fix them to the base by toenailing or diagonally hammering the nails from the base of the wall to the floor. Connect all the walls together with 3-inch screws.
Create the roof by nailing two 4-by-4-feet wooden pallets to the top of the walls. Secure the roof and all the side walls by nailing wooden panels or plywood of the same size over them.
Prepare six nesting boxes by removing the front panel of six wooden crates, each 1 square foot. You can also use milk crates of the same size. Position the crates vertically 2 feet above the ground and screw them to any wall of the coop. Cover the base of the crates with straw to create a comfortable nesting environment for laying hens, and to prevent the eggs from rolling over and cracking.
Build the door by dismantling a 4-by-1-feet wooden pallet. Position the centre of the pallet vertically at the entrance way. Attach the door by placing it at the edge of the front wall and fixing two hinges, one at the top of the door and the other at the bottom. Fortify the door by attaching a magnet lock to the top edge of the door.
Fix a diagonal wood panel over the nesting boxes. This slanting roof will deter chickens from standing atop the nests and producing droppings on the eggs.
Do not overcrowd the coop. Such an environment may cause health problems and encourage abnormal behaviour such as egg pecking.
Tips and warnings
- Fix a diagonal wood panel over the nesting boxes. This slanting roof will deter chickens from standing atop the nests and producing droppings on the eggs.
- Do not overcrowd the coop. Such an environment may cause health problems and encourage abnormal behaviour such as egg pecking.