Building a cheap homemade chicken house, in pictures

Here’s my coop building process in pictures. Enjoy!

  

I firstly cut four pieces of heavyweight stuff for the roof. It’s at a 30-degree incline. I used some brackets I had lying about and bent them to 30-degrees. I don’t think I really needed them. I also cut four legs; I think they’re about 1.2m tall.

  

I fixed the legs to the roof frame. Then I made a frame for the nesting box. It’s about 45cm high at the tallest, sloping down. I don’t think mine is enough of a slope, it should be steeper.

Then I started screwing together a frame of thinner wood that holds the legs together. At this point it starts looking like a house! The purpose of the frame is to support the windows and door and just hold everything together. Also there are beams across the bottom to support the floor.

The windows frames are 25.5cm square, because I bought some 25cm perspex from ebay. It was pretty cheap, about £5 I think.

  

I continued screwing everything together. The diagonal X shaped bits at the bottom are simply to hold the whole thing square during assembly. I took them off when I was nearly done.

You can see in the second and third picture above that I have two roosting beams. One is higher than the other; apparently that’s good to allow the hens to nest in their pecking order.

  

I made the floor so that it can slide in and out to aid cleaning. I never slide it out though, I just brush it out. It’s too heavy. I’ve made a door that flaps open if the weather’s hot. I haven’t used it yet, though since the house is out of the sun and it isn’t warm at night here anyway.

You can see the end of the house is one big door. That’s good for cleaning it out, easy access.

  

So this is the nesting box getting attached. It’s not enough of an incline; water doesn’t run off it quick enough and it gets saturated. It works well enough for now, though.

I made window frames and a door frame that are screwed on top of the door and window openings. This is so that they stick out. The purpose of the window frame is to hold the windows in (duh) and with the door frame, it protects claws of predators getting into the edges of the door when it’s closed.

 

After the frame was complete, I cut cladding to fit in around the door and windows. That was the most boring job. Then I nailed wood across the roof and attached slates to it. I was originally planning to do a thatched roof, but I had slates available.

Most of the wood I got from an old shed that I dismantled. The slates were found around the garden, they had been carefully placed by the previous owner to block holes in the hedge. So now we’ve got a problem with cats coming in all the time!

The paint was normal indoor emulsion, but I painted a layer of PVC glue over it to waterproof it.

What I’d do differently next time:

  • I’d make it bigger, with an area I can put food and water in. Basically I’d make it big enough for the chickens to live for a day or two without human intervention (closing them in at night). At the moment, I have to be there every night to lock them in because there isn’t room enough for their food/water which sit outside.
  • I’d make a door that slides up/down. This would make it easier to add an automatic door opener and closer. At the minute I have a homemade automatic door opener fitted but I have no idea how I could get it to close automatically.
  • It’s tall so it’s airy, with plenty of room for our 6 hens. However, one of the roosting bars is a little close to the big end door so there’s always poop on it and that doesn’t help with cleaning. In mark 2 I’d like to have a single, long roosting bar with a poop tray under it to make cleaning easier.

3 thoughts on “Building a cheap homemade chicken house, in pictures

  1. Many thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. After months and months of looking at various designs on the internet, it was your unique approach to designing and describing a practical design that has prompted me to make a start on building my own chicken house. I’m on Day 3 of the project, and still making the timber frame.

    Rather than have a lift up lid to the nest boxes, I plan to have a drop down flap along the back of the nest box similar to the design at http://www.thegardencoop.com/blog/2011/03/10/external-nest-box-plans/

    I figure that I’ll have an easier time of keeping the rain out with a fixed roof.

    With best wishes
    Steve Rawlings

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