Basic Chicken Coop
5 pieces of 4'x8' plywood. 4 4'x1" dowels. 12 8 foot 1x2s. 200+ wood screws. 2 smaller fixed pin utility hinges 4 larger fixed pin utility hinges 5 hook & eye
Yard stick Gloves Circular saw Jigsaw Drill Pencil Drill bits Tape measure
We wanted a 3" overhang on three sides of our coop, so we cut 3" off the base (bottom piece) and 3" off the side piece as well as 6" off the front and back pieces. Don't forget your protective eyewear. If you are placing your coop up against another building, you may not want an overhang. In that case, nothing needs to be precut.
We started adding 1x2s to the base. Each piece is measured to fit and interlock.
You can see that this base has a 6" overhang on the side. We are leaving it there for demonstration purposes. We wanted a shelf on the outside of ours. If you want a shelf, keep it. If not, cut 6" off the short side of the bottom piece as well.
Using your wood screws, start working on putting the frame together. We screwed from the outside of the bottom piece through the plywood, then the 1x2. All screw heads are on the outside of our coop. Make sure your screws are the correct length so that they don't go through the 1x2 and poke your chickens.
You will use one 4x8 piece of plywood for the sides. In theory, you have already cut off 3 inches from the long side, so it is 3'9"x 8. Put a dash on each side of the board at 4'. We just wanted a slight slant, so we put a dash at 3'10.5" and on the other side at 4'1.5". Then we drew a line connecting the two. That's your cut line.
Making sure you aren't cutting through anything, cut the side pieces.
Making sure to leave enough room on the bottom of the side pieces for a 1x2, frame the front, back and top of the side pieces.
We found a piece of scrap to measure how tall the 1x2 was so we didn't overlap the side pieces. Worked out really well for us.
Again, you're going to put the screws in from the outside of the plywood to the frame. It is very important to make sure you create two different pieces for the sides. You don't want to have to reframe one side because you didn't lay out the pieces correctly (true story.)
Make it nice and straight. This is the side you are going to be opening for cleaning and egg collecting. The back is shorter, so don't forget to remove 1.5 inches from the bottom of the back piece.
Draw where you want your windows to be. Same for the front coop door. You don't have to have windows on the front or back, necessarily. Whatever makes you happy. You can also make them much fancier than these.
If you are making a year-round coop, make sure to cut your windows cleanly, so that you may close them back up. Start with a circular saw, then clean up the corners with a jigsaw. Ours is a summer coop, so we will be using chicken wire to close them up. When it gets cold, we will use a tarp to cover them.
Finishing the corners with a jigsaw
Make sure to frame the front and back pieces of the coop. You will only need one more piece for the top of the front (the side with the door) and a piece on the top and middles of the back door. Again, make sure there is enough room for a 1x2 piece to fit in the side, because when you put the coop together, you will be screwing to the framed side pieces.
If you have a lip, please remember to take off 15/32 of the bottom of that side piece. We started with one side, then placed the front and another side. It will help to have at least 1 other person helping you at this point.
Line the pieces up and start at the top/side, then do a bottom/side and all the rest of the bottom/bottom pieces. You will have one side of the back that is stable and doesn't open. Attach that one.
Chickens need a place to sit. Here is where they do it. Depending on your chickens, you may need a lot or a little room. Do your research to see how much room they will need. Measure on the inside from the bottom of the coop and back wall. Mark where you want the tallest dowel to go.
Because of the 3" overhang + the size of the plywood, we needed to cut our dowels down a bit. We found it easiest to measure near a window - with the excess hanging out the window - then mark our cut lines with a pencil.
So that you may find your screw hole on the outside, we pre-drilled the mark from the inside out.
Have one person hold the dowel from the inside and the other put the screw in from the outside.
We needed a support in the middle, so we first measured the side wall then cut a support 1x2 that was the same length, and placed it right in the middle. This support made sure that the back/top wasn't curved in.
This support goes from the bottom of the coop to the middle support beam. Looking back, we could have done these two supports with 2x4s instead of 1x2s. Feel free to make this adjustment in your plans. In order to screw in the middle support, we laid the coop on the side.