DIY Backyard Chicken Coop – Part 1

It was over year ago now that I built my neighbors a massive chicken coop…because they have a ton of chickens. I’ve finally given in and decided to get chickens of my own. Which means I need a coop for myself! I only want about 10-15 chickens (ha, I say that now). So I built my coop a little more compact.

I built it off the ground to keep snakes out. Four nesting boxes, three roosting bars. A removable panel in the back that can be taken off, then a drop down hatch up front so that I can quickly and easily sweep out the coop when changing the litter.

Ok, lets jump into the building process. 

Things I Used in This Project:
Armor Tool Mobile Bench: https://amzn.to/2uNtib4
ISOtunes Bluetooth Hearing Protection: http://amzn.to/2pEjNtv
Mitersaw Stand Plans: http://bit.ly/2XKAo0J
Mitersaw: http://bit.ly/2xW1YvK
Framing Nailer: http://amzn.to/2nzV9rY
Titebond III: http://amzn.to/2zZIRQw
Titebond Construction Adhesive: http://amzn.to/2E1Da43
Bessey Ratchet Clamps: https://amzn.to/2U5qwsN
Triton Tracksaw: http://amzn.to/2qmTytb
Workbench Plans: http://bit.ly/2KEhX6q
Bessey QuickClamp: https://amzn.to/2YZ0Dxk
Battery Operated Brad Nailer: https://amzn.to/2IvOziJ
Armor Tool Pocket Hole Jig: http://bit.ly/2KeZQnc
Triton Palm Belt Sander: http://amzn.to/2py8tQO
Small grinder: https://amzn.to/2JXEk4w

The coop is made up from a bed full of 2x4s, a 4×4, and a few sheets of plywood. If you would like to build your own, I do have a set of plans HERE with a material shopping list, a cut list, and all the dimensions used. 

I started by offloading all of my material from the truck and onto my Armor Tool mobile workbench. This prevents a ton of going back and forth but also allows me to move my material wherever most convenient as I progress through the build.

I flipped the wings out on my miter saw stand and cutting down the pieces needed for the four side walls, and the entire base. I labeled each part as I was cutting it so when I moved to assembly I could very quickly grab the joints needed. 

Starting with the base, I laid our my four posts and also the strenters that will span between. Now I have a cordless framing nailer from building my shop so I’m using that here. If you don’t though, predrilling and screws would also work….nailing is just faster. After lining up my boards, I used a scrap board and a Bessey Kliklamp on the front side to keep the board flush while I toenailed in from the back.

After repeating on all four sides, I threw in a center support then also some corner gussets. This coop is 5’ x 4’ because I read each chicken should be given roughly 2-3 sq ft per chicken. 

When it came time to cut a deck, I laid a sheet of ply on my workbench and used my track saw to rip it to length. I specifically chose untreated because I wasn’t sure about having treated wood around the ladies. Better safe than sorry.

Next the deck could be set into place, squared up, then attached.

Next I started framing the walls directly onto of the deck. You see I’m using Titebond III here, and I did use that for a lot of the build because it’s a waterproof wood glue, but later on I switch over to Titebond’s excellent construction adhesive. Either is great, long lasting, and good for projects that are being placed outside. 

One thing to consider if you tackle this project….I chose to build this in my shop so I could work in the AC and have all my shop’s tools and surfaces to utilize. But if you don’t want to mess with moving it out and into place after it’s complete, then I 100% recommend building it on location where you’ll want the coop to live. 

Before attaching the reframed walls on the deck, I laid down a decent amount of Titebond construction adhesive then made sure the walls were flush to all sides.

You can see I’m applying slight pressure in the center with a clamp to keep the wall from falling over and to allow me to make small movements. 

For my coop, I’ll be using the deep litter method, meaning I won’t need to completely empty out the litter except once or twice a year. When it’s time to do that though, I want to be able to sweep from the back to the front very quickly and easily so I intentionally left off a bottom plate on these two walls, which keeps the floor flush and on one level. 

Something really important in chicken coops is ventilation. Especially here in Texas with the heat, I wanted each side of the coop to have a window that can be left open for the majority of the year. But yes, it does occasionally get cold here so I also wanted to a way to close it up. I made my own windows with a simple railing system but another option if you don’t like the look is to use store bought windows.

For mine, I’m simply using a sheet of plywood that will slide open and closed. Before placing it in it’s track though, I very quickly added a handle. I’ll be placing the handle inside the coop then once or twice a year when the weather changes, I can reach inside and use it to slide it open or closed. 

I clamped a spacer (just made from some scrap) on either side, before picking up the window system to set in place.

And as for the window: if you place it in first and center it, it make picking up the entire system a lot easier anyways. 

Even though I used spacers cut to the same length, I still threw a level on it just to be sure before I attached it. 

Ok, that’s one window down!

Lets repeat on the back. Here, the opening was too large for a spacer so I still used scraps but just clamped them to the height needed to give myself a ledge to set the window system on while I moved around to attach it to the framing studs.

And that’s window two done. 

Then on the third wall with a window, I dropped the one down lower to be more in line with where the door of the coop will be.

This will be just a small opening but I’m hoping by putting it in line, it will also create a nice cross breeze for the ladies. 

With that part done, I moved onto sliding off move 2x4s and cutting to length the pieces needed for the roof framing.

I wanted to build out the entire roof system then lift it into place as one unit. To join things together I used my self adjusting Armor Tool jig to create some pocket holes.

Then I laid them out, used some construction adhesive and attached things.

It might be wide but it isn’t heavy so next I took my time walking the system up the ladder, setting it into rough position, then going to the other side to pull it completely over to where it needed to go.

I once again cut spacers to clamp into place, but this time they are spacers for the amount of overhang needed to ensure the roof was going on squarely. This method is a lot easier than hopping down to pull a tape on all four corners repeatedly. This way, you can just line it up to the spacers and know it’s in it’s correct spot. 

Next I attached a few more framing members to support things here and there, then started working on the second roof.

This second roof pitch makes the build a little more complicated so if you wanted to simply this build further then you can certainly take it out and leave the roof at one pitch. However, I love the look it gives the coop annnnd it also provides a little protection from rain to the top window.

I again built the system on my workbench, then moved it into place afterwards. 

I moved back to my sheet of plywood and ripped down two pieces that will cover the back portion of the roof as well as this smaller little bump out. Then, I awkwardly but carefully and successfully, moved the sheet into place.

I suppose I could have just moved a taller ladder into place to nail the board down, but I hate moving ladders. So I just climbed ontop….making sure to keep an eye on that fan above me, and nailed it down all around the perimeter. 

I repeated on the front bump out, but this is short enough for me to say on my step stool and still reach.

While I was working up here, I also cut then attached some 1x boards to be the facia boards. I personally went with pre-painted boards here just to cut out the time of having to paint however many boards and wait for them to dry. 

Ok on to making some of the accessories! Lets start with the nesting boxes. These are where the chickens will hop up and lay their eggs (hopefully anyways). I read that these should be about a foot off the ground or the chickens might not use them. I also read that there should be one box per 3-4 birds so I could have probably gotten away with fewer boxes but I had room for four so that’s how many I put in.

After building the body of the unit on my workbench, I quickly attached a front lip to each box. This is to keep the eggs from being able to roll out, however I ended up coming back and increasing the height of these to about 3” to prevent the birds from kicking out all their straw in each box.

To install this one, I struggled just a tad bit. I only left myself 1/16” here and I guess that was just too tight of a tolerance. : ) There are worse things.

I grabbed my palm belt sander, gave the inside of the stud a few laps, then tried it again.

When the box moved into place, I had a Bessey Kliklamp ready to go so I could temporarily hold it while moving to the other side. I threw a level on it to make sure it was in there plumb, then moved to the inside to attach it with screws. 

For a lid! Gotta keep those birds dry. I installed two strips of plywood. One thinner and fixed strip along the back, then another wider piece to cover the rest. This will allow me to add a hinge between these two pieces which in turn will give me a lid that I can lift and lower to retrieve the eggs or check on the chickens.

Later on, after I add the siding and trim, I’ll add a hook and chain so I can leave the door open for a short duration if need be. 

Alrighty, moving back to the windows quickly. Next I added some hardware cloth to all three windows. This is gonna prevent predators from getting into the coop and eating my chickens, buuuut it will allow me to leave the windows open and get a breeze in. You can find this stuff in rolls at any big box store. I use a scrap and a clamp to hold down one side while I make my cut at the length needed.

You can cut this one piece at a time with some side cutters if that’s all you have. However, if you have a cut off wheel in a grinder….it makes very quick work of it.

When determining the size, I would leave about one square width of material overhanging on the frame and this gave me room to get a staple in to attach it. This will have siding over it so you don’t have to go crazy with staples….just enough to keep it in place. 

Ok, and that’s all for part one! While this is a simple build, it’s time consuming because of all the parts to it.

In the next video, I cover making and adding the roosting bars, the two ramps, the siding, trim, roofing and the rear and front panels for cleaning out the coop. You can watch Part 2 HERE!

Don’t forget I have a set of plans HERE if you’re interested. And you can also find the larger coop build HERE.

I’ll see you soon on part 2!