Homemade Chicken Coop

We have been planning to raise chickens for many years and finally decided this is the year to turn the plan into action.  About 2 months ago Bethany picked up 20 chicks from Tractor Supply.  We raised the chicks in two plastic bins (10 in each bin) with one heat lamp for each bin.  Our plan was to build a homemade chicken coop the next weekend and move the chicks outside as soon as it was ready.   I studied 100’s of pictures of coops on Google Images and noted the pros and cons of all the different styles/features.  I then drafted a design for our coop using Google SketchUp.  Here is a picture of the final version in SketchUp:

SketchUp Chicken Coop Design
SketchUp Chicken Coop Design

If you are interested in building this coop yourself please let me know by leaving a comment.  I’m happy to do another post that provides more details on how to build this coop.

This was a way bigger project than I first estimated.  It took us about 6 weeks to build this coop…working most daylight hours of every weekend.  I kept saying “we are almost done…only a couple hours to go” but I was not just hours or days off in my estimate but weeks.

We did finally finish the homemade chicken coop and were able to move the chickens in about two weeks ago.  Needless to say, they are way more happy in this “chicken mansion” than they were in the cramped quarters of their plastic bins.

The work involved in building the coop was much more involved than we imagined but the daily work of taking care of the chickens is much easier than we expected.  They are a ton of fun to watch, there is no smell now that they are in a well ventilated coop outside (at least not so far), and it only takes a couple minutes to change their water and add food to their feeders.

We won’t get our first eggs for another month or two but we both agree that even if they never lay a single egg this has been worth it.

If you’d like to hear more about the chickens or if you have any questions please let us know.  Here are some pictures of the coop as it stands today (we are planning to add a bit more exterior trim, stairs to the door, a larger run, automated food water dispensers, and better interior roosting bars in the near future):

The compartments running under the windows are the “nest boxes” and are where the chickens will eventually lay their eggs.
The top two slots are for ventilation and the bottom two are doors that open so we can push the waste out into bins (for use as compost for the garden)
This is the “human door”…the chicken’s door is on the other side.
The interior of the homemade chicken coop before adding the pine shavings and chickens
This picture shows how the nest boxes are accessible from the outside (easy access to the eggs without disturbing the chickens). There are locks on the doors to keep predators out.
In this picture the vents and maintenance doors are closed and the temporary roosting bar is installed. The floor is covered with just one bag of pine shavings from Tractor Supply.
The windows are simple utility windows from Lowe’s Home Improvement store but they open/close, lock, and they have screens. I plan to add wire in front of the windows to keep predators out when the windows are open.
I ordered an automatic chicken door from Amazon. Here it is installed. It works great! Chickens are automatically let out as soon as the sun comes up in the morning and locked up every night when the sun sets.
I ordered an automatic chicken door from Amazon. Here it is installed. It works great! Chickens are automatically let out as soon as the sun comes up in the morning and locked up every night when the sun sets.

I highly recommend this automatic chicken coop door. It’s expensive but is well made and works perfectly…here is the link on Amazon.com:

Bethany and Gideon watching the chickens….one of our new favorite pastimes
Still need to finish some of the exterior trim but this is what the coop looks like today (4/24/2016)
Harvest helped me spread out new pine shavings today. The birds seemed a bit startled to have visitors in their coop today!

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3 thoughts on “Homemade Chicken Coop”

  1. We sat in lawn chairs next to our chicken run that first spring, they were so amusing. Now, we let them free range. We are down to 3 old chickens, six years, I think. They give us 3 eggs almost every day, now that it is warmer and we have longer daylight hours. Good old chickens!

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