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. In part 1, we gathered the materials we’d need and cut the pieces for the frame and paneling. This week, we’ll assemble the frame of the coop and finish by getting a jump start on next week by adding a floor panel.
To build the floor of the frame you’ll need three 2 x 4 boards, each 31” long, and two 2 x 4 boards, each 48″ long.
Into the narrow side of each of the 48” lengths, drill vertical holes ¾” from each end, as well as a third hole dead center at 24 inches. Arrange those boards parallel to one another and place the 31″ lengths perpendicular between them, aligning each end with the corresponding holes. Secure those three crossbeams with the 41″ lengths using 2 ½” screws.
Now attach the floor frame to the legs. Measure 15” up from the flat end of each leg and use a pencil and square to draw a line. Make another mark at 44 1/8” as well. Lay one front and rear leg on the floor making sure the marked sides face up and the mitered sides are both facing backward. Tilt the floor frame onto its narrow side and place it on top of the legs aligning the bottom edge of the frame with the 15” guides. Pre-drill as before and use 2 ½” screws to secure the frame to the legs. Lay the other two legs on the ground, flip the frame and repeat.
Stand the frame on its legs to attach braces across the top. At the 44 1/8” marks you made before, attach two of the 48″ lengths of 2 x 4 between the legs at the front and back of the coop. A pair of clamps can help support each 2×4 while you pre-drill and drive two 2 ½” screws through the legs and into the brace on each side. Make sure the rear brace is flush with back edge of the rear legs. Add two additional screws through each of the legs and into the floor frame.
Set your miter saw to 15˚ and make parallel cuts at either end of each of the three 32 ½” lengths of 2 x 2 board. These will serve as the rafters. Using 1 5/8” screws, attach two of the rafters to the inside of the legs, flush with the pitch of the roof. Measure and mark the center (24”) of both the front and rear frame braces. Drill starter holes through the center line of each brace and into the 2 x 2, then attach them with a screw. Repeat the process through the rear brace.
Now to add the 34″ x 48″ floor panel. Measure across the width of the panel to get its center (24”). Use the square to draw a line front to back; this mark should align with the central brace so you’ll know where to place your screws. To attach the floor to the frame, drive screws at even intervals along the perimeter and center of the panel. Optionally, you can use hardware cloth instead of wood for the floor.
With the frame and the floor of the coop completed, now’s a good time to pause. We’ll be back next week with instructions for paneling in the walls, roof and nesting boxes. Until then, store your frame some place dry or elevate it and keep it covered with a firmly secured tarp or waterproof cloth.
Don’t have weekends to spare building your own? The Home Depot also sells prefabricated chicken coops.
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