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Free Plan: Build a Rustic Chicken Coop

comments (8) September 15th, 2010 in blogs, videos

jtetreault John Tetreault, Deputy Art Director
thumbs up 72 users recommend

This might be Scarlet, or maybe Rose. Those chickens lucky enough to be named, wont ever appear on my dinner plate...but their eggs will.
Chicken scratching 1
Chicken scratching 2
Front view of the coop and run. The old painted rain barrel holds the chicken feed.
Inside the coop. A perch like the one seen here is very important to raising healthy chickens. The bedding is generally dirty and birds prefer to perch anyhow. Nesting boxes (seen at left) should only be used for egg-laying.
Tin roof overhang.
Heres a photo of the laying boxes with the top access door dropped down.
Ramp going into the run.
Heres a corner of the fenced in area. I used old tobacco drying poles to span the 20 distance to add the wire ceiling.
Here are the ladies who werent camera shy.
This might be Scarlet, or maybe Rose. Those chickens lucky enough to be named, wont ever appear on my dinner plate...but their eggs will. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This might be Scarlet, or maybe Rose. Those chickens lucky enough to be named, won't ever appear on my dinner plate...but their eggs will.

Photo: Ed Pirnik

When my niece decided she wanted a few more chickens this past summer, the 25-chicken minimum order was a deal breaker. She so cutely tried to sell us on how nice it is to raise chickens, there was no way we could resist going in on the order. We already had an old dog house on the property and a fenced in area where the previous owners had some geese, so all we needed to do was modify the doghouse and add a chicken wire roof to the fenced in run.

The chickens are about 4 months old now and are quite well behaved. At dusk they all go up the back ramp and roost. We just go say goodnight and close the door. I swear those crazy birds have personality too. One of them (Scarlet) loves to be held and pet by my wife. I'm pretty sure that's not a normal chicken.

Here's a quick video tour that may give you ideas on how to build your own chicken coop. I must say I do like keeping the critters - the eggs will just be a bonus.


This coop started its life out as a small dog house. The first step in the building process was to construct a frame that would lift the main structure off the ground. Next, I added a large access door with a small window to the front, and two more hatches on the left side. These hatches allow access to the nest boxes, where the chickens lay their eggs.

Perhaps the most important element of any chicken coop and/or run is protection against predators. Here in rural Connecticut, we've got plenty. Coyotes, raccoons, dogs, and cats, all want a piece of our poultry. So to be extra careful, I actually buried chicken wire around the perimeter of my coop to prevent animals from burrowing into the henhouse.

There's been a lot of interest in the coop around the office so I've sketched out a very basic chicken coop plan. Enjoy. And if you get around to building one, let me know!

posted in: blogs, videos, how to build a chicken coop

Comments (8)

davidfessler davidfessler writes: i used to have chickens. we had as many as 6 and a couple of ducks who thought they were sisters to the chickens. oh yes we also had a large pot belly pig who lived in the pen with them, she also thought she was related. it was peace in the valley. the chickens favorite thing to do was ride on the pigs back, and the pig loved it, i guess it scratched her back. its a great hobby but a lot of work. its a good felling when your sitting outside and a couple of chickens jump up on your lap as to say yo pop start petting, they loved it. thanks dave from south jersey.
Posted: 1:09 am on October 16th

ubiquitous ubiquitous writes: Yes, raising chickens can be fun but shouldn't be attempted until you figure out how to keep them healthy and safe. I enjoy watching my son's four chickens in Hollywood-yes, Hollywood. At night they head for the old roost and get shut in away from raccoons. The downside is vermin attracted to the feed stores, vermin living on the chickens and stepping on chicken poop if they're free range. Probably a good idea, and I speak as a person raised on a poultry farm, for anyone attempting this to also research butchering and dressing fowl in case it becomes too much. They're harder to give away than a box of kittens.
Posted: 10:17 pm on September 23rd

ubiquitous ubiquitous writes: raising chickens shouldn't be attempted until you have the resources to keep them safe and healthy. Yes, they are easy in some respects, but they get sick and often fall prey to neighborhood pests like raccoons. I was raised on a poultry farm and enjoy watching my son's four chickens in Hollywood- yes, Hollywood. At night, dark time means they head for the safe-house to be shut in. The off side are vermin attracted by feed, vermin living on the feathered friends and generally walking on chicken poop if they are free-range. I think a web site should also include killing and butchering techniques in case you decide to just eat them.
Posted: 10:12 pm on September 23rd

Blue_Rocco Blue_Rocco writes: Great Idea! - I used to have 40 chickens but lost them all in one day to one of our new neighbors for Calif. He thought "I'm in the country now, let's turn out the dogs!" Trouble is, the dogs were city guard dogs and had never been free, so.... they just ran through and killed everything. When confronted, the owner said "My dogs would never do something like that." This with bits of my chickens and ducks laying about his front yard. Rather than resort to my 4/10, I quit raising chickens. I wish I had something like this then. Who knows, I might just start again. I LOVE fresh eggs for breakfast!
Posted: 1:40 pm on September 21st

ValleyNative ValleyNative writes: Hi David, My comment above pertained to the alternative design posted at: Sorry that was not clear in my earlier comment.
Posted: 1:05 pm on September 21st

ValleyNative ValleyNative writes: Hi David,
I am presuming this is your plan, so I have a question. It seems like the nesting area is tight for so many chickens. How has it worked out so far?

Do you put some bedding (straw?) in for the nesting area?

Putting the wheel structure in place each time looks like you have to lift one end and scoot the axle underneath. Have you modified this to make it easier for a one person operation?

Thank you,
Posted: 12:55 pm on September 21st

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: A really unique design, David. Nice!!! It's interesting just how many folks are getting into the chicken-raising "business." Over at John's house (I was there working on a video workshop shoot recently) - he's got little chicks all over the place. A new batch are living by his front door - almost ready to head out into the world. LOL


Posted: 9:29 am on September 16th

aardvarkdpb aardvarkdpb writes: Here's another version:

- David
Posted: 7:21 pm on September 15th

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