Build a chicken coop, Pt. 1

R. L. Rhodes
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Difficulty: Advanced
Duration: Day


If you want to raise chickens, you’ll need to provide them with a cozy, well-sheltered place to roost. These instructions will show you how.

Building your own chicken coop is a pretty involved project, so we’ve divided the instructions into three weekly installments, with the idea that most of us will want to take consecutive weekends to tackle each. This week we’re focusing on gathering and preparing the pieces you’ll need. We’ll publish parts two and three in the coming weeks, so check back in each Monday for more.

Step 1

We’ll be cutting the pieces for the frame and panels, so start by gathering the following:

  • One 2″ x 2″ x 8′ board
  • Four 2″ x 4″ x 12′ boards
  • Two 11/32″ x 4′ x 8′ plywood sheets
  • Three pieces of 12’ cedar siding
Step 2

With your materials gathered, it’s time to cut the frame. Alternately, you can have the Associates at your local Home Depot help you cut the lumber to the following lengths:

  • From the 2″ x 2″ x 8′ board, cut three lengths, each 32 ¾” long. This will eventually become your coop’s rafters.
  • From the 2″ x 4″ x 12′ boards, cut three 31″ lengths to form the floor frame. For the legs and supports, cut seven 48″ lengths and two 39 ½” lengths.
  • From the 12′ lengths of siding, measure off six lengths, 55″ each. Those are your roof slats.
Step 3

That still leaves us the plywood sheets for the walls and floor of the coop. You’ll want to cut those into the following shapes and dimensions: a front panel (33″ x 48″), a back panel (24″ x 48″), two side panels (each 32 ¼” x 27″), and a floor panel (34″ x 48″), as well as three dividers (each 11 ½” x 10″) and a sub-roof (10″ x 48″) for a nesting box inside the coop. To help you mark off your panels before making the cuts, we’ve included the following patterns: Front panel, back panel, side panels, nest box dividers.

Step 4
  • Make a 15˚ cut at one end of each of the 48″ front legs and each of the 39 ¾” rear legs. This creates the pitch of the roof.
  • Cut the front panel into five pieces: two 33” x 18” side panels, a 26” x 12” ramp, a 2 ½” x 12” bottom panel, and a 4 ½” x 12” top panel.
  • Cut the back panel into three pieces: a 3 ½” x 48” bottom panel, an 11” x 48” nest box door, and a 9 3/8” x 48” upper panel.
  • On each side panel, mark a point 24 7/8″ up one side. Use a straight edge to connect this mark to the opposite corner, then cut along this line to create the top angle of the side panel.
Step 5

Between gathering all those tools and and cutting all that lumber, that’s plenty for one weekend. Next week, we’ll show you how to assemble those pieces into the biggest bird house most of you have ever owned. In the meantime, group similar pieces together and store them all some place safe and dry.


To save yourself more trips to the store later on, go ahead and pick up what you’ll need for the other two installments of the project:


If you don’t have any of the following tools, you may want to go ahead and gather them for next week:


Don’t have weekends to spare building your own? The Home Depot also sells prefabricated chicken coops.

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