Cheap Chicken Coops

Someone asking for details on chicken coops I built.

Why should you raise chickens:

  1. Feed for 6 chickens will probably be a 50 lb bag of feed ($15), about every 2 months - so about $7 / month.
  2. Organic eggs from the store are about $5 - $6. If you have a growing family, you might spend $15 / month on eggs. With inflation, who knows how much eggs will cost in a few months.
  3. If you have a vegetable scrap pile, they can practically feed themselves.
  4. They eat a lot of bugs. Some will eat ants.
  5. They can provide fertilizer for your garden. I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to do so.

Where to find materials for a coop:

  1. 2x4's and siding: Find these at furniture stores, around back. Large "furniture pallets" have the 2x4's you need, as well as 1" planks for siding.
  2. plywood for roofing - look for those huge construction bins in a new subdivision in your town. Might find some scraps of plywood in there.
  3. Shingles - county landfill. I've seen them out there often.
  4. bucket of nails - craigslist. people always selling buckets of nails.

Designing the coop. Note the photos are for a chicken coop that they only sleep in at night. During the day, they range. You can also keep them enclosed, but I think enclosed chickens are messier.

  1. Large roof overhangs so you don't have to paint or stain the coop.
  2. need a small door and a ramp with something to grip so the chickens can put themselves to bed. Make the ramp the door so you can just close it at night.
  3. Need a laying box area for a few chickens - 2 - 4, depends on the chickens, or you can have one box for each chicken, but usually, they'll share.
  4. Perches. They like to be up high at night. Don't make the perches too far from the floor, though.
  5. A large door on the back so you can open and clean it. Better if you can design the floor to be removed, so you can just pull out the floor and let the waste fall to the ground.
  6. Gables - screened in for the summer, then have some plywood cut-outs that you can install in the winter. If you are far north where temps get into the teens, maybe consider an oil heater. 7. Always make sure chickens have access to fresh water. Make sure they always have liquid water to drink.

Predators can be a problem- snakes, racoons, foxes, coyotes can eat the eggs or chickens. Hawks can attack the chickens if they don't have any cover. Best to proved a fenced-in area for your chickens. It is a federal offense to kill a "chicken hawk" / red-tailed hawk. They tend to hang around our coop in late winter when other food supplies have run out. Crows are your friendly alerts - if you hear crows cawing nearby, look up and see what they are doing - they will chase hawks from the area. Crows like corn, so you can attract them to your yard with that. Careful, they may eat the very young chicks. We provide a forest area within the chicken's range so they like to hide there from predators.