In the old days, everyone raised a few chickens in their backyard, providing a steady supply of eggs. It is still a good idea and you do not need a great deal of space to raise chickens -- only two to three feet per chicken. However, they do need a basic shelter to protect them from the elements and predators. This A-frame coop measures 5-feet by 5-feet and has a detachable 5-foot by 8-foot A-framed run, perfect for five or six chickens. The coop's hinged roof lifts for easy cleaning, and its simple triangular design can be constructed in an afternoon using supplies that are available at most hardware stores.
Cut a 45-degree angle at one end of each of the ten 4-foot two-by-fours with a circular saw. Cut the angle along the 4-inch side so that the 2-inch side is tapered to a point and the board retains its 4-inch width.
Create the frame for one side of the roof by laying a 5-foot two-by-four on the ground. Set one of the prepared 4-foot boards from Step 1 at each end of the 5-footer, forming a squared U-shape. The angled edges should be at the top of U, with the bevel facing downward. Drill and screw the squared corners into place. Make two of these, for the two sides of the roof. Connect them on the angled edges by using a 5-foot two-by-four as a ridge pole. This will give you a freestanding A-frame. Connect the two sides of the A at the bottom with a 5-foot two-by-four on each end of the A-frame.
Construct the A-frame for the run by screwing an angled 4-foot two-by-four to both ends of an 8-foot two-by-four. Add an additional 4-foot two-by-four to the centre of the 8-foot boards so they are in the shape of a W. Make sure the angled edges are at the top of the W and facing downward. You will need to make two of these and connect them as in Step 2, this time using an 8-foot two-by-four as a ridge pole. The A-frame for the run should look exactly like the coop A-frame with the exception of being 8-feet long.
Make the roof for the coop by screwing a 5-foot by 5-foot sheet of plywood to one side of the A-frame. From the remaining section of 5-foot by 5-foot plywood, cut a 12-inch strip from one side and screw it to the top of the opposite side of the A-frame. Screw the hinges to the 12-inch strip of plywood at the edge, about 18-inches in from either end. Screw the remaining section of plywood (cut from the 12-inch strip) to the hinges to complete the roof. The hinged flap is the access door for the coop.
Cut the two triangular walls of the coop from the 5-foot by 6-foot sheet of plywood. The base of each triangle should be 5-feet across with two 6-foot sides. Screw one of the triangles to one end of the coop. Create a door for the chickens in the other triangle by cutting an 18-inch by 18-inch square hole, centred along the 5-foot edge. Reattach the 18-inch square door to the hole using two hinges. Screw the triangular wall with the door to the end of the coop.
Staple the chicken wire to the run. Start the roll at one end of the run-frame. Roll it up over the top of the frame and down the other side, pulling tautly. Staple the chicken wire to each of the two-by-fours running along the ground and along the ridge pole. Repeat to complete the run-frame. Enclose one end of the run with chicken wire by stapling two rows of wire horizontally across it. Trim off any excess wire. One end of the coop will remain open.
Staple tar paper to the plywood roof of the coop covering it entirely. Use two sections to cover the hinged side, so that it does not effect its functionality. Shingle the roof, being careful not shingle over the hinges. If desired, paint the exposed ends for weatherproofing and aesthetics.
Connect the coop to the run's A-frame by placing them end to end. The side of the coop with the chicken's door should abut the open end of the run. The two frames should sit very closely together so that the chickens cannot escape. However, there is no need to attach the two.
Add removable nesting boxes to the coop to make cleaning easier. Make the boxes by repurposing 5-gallon buckets and laying them on their sides, being sure to chock each bucket so it does not roll. Use scrap sections of two-by-fours to add roosts for chickens to perch on. Double the measurements in this plan for a larger coop.