I was pleasantly surprised when searching for the best plans to discover that there are so many awesome options.
If you’re thinking about raising yourself some chickens (for eggs, meat, or both) then you’re going to need a chicken coop.
And that either means shelling out a lot of money for a chicken coop or building one yourself. If you’ve got some simple woodworking skills then this isn’t as hard to do as you might think.
We made our own chicken coop from some free chicken coop plans and we’ve been raising chickens for ages. Backyard chickens don’t take much looking after but they do need a simple chicken coop to call home.
Huge Variety of Plans
That’s because you can find so many lans for free out there on the internet. A single chicken website, Backyard Chicken, has over 3,000 of them! So, you’ll never be stuck for a choice.
There’s only problem with this strategy of building your chicken coop on the cheap and that’s the sad fact that not all of these plans are created equally well.
Some of them are brilliant and a complete cinch to follow and build your coop Others are far too confusing for even a full-time carpenter to follow but which is which?
Well, that’s were we come in. We’ve put together a list of DIY ideas for coops and the best coop plans. Ones that you can work through with a minimum of fuss to make your feathered friends a home that they can be proud of.
What Makes For A Good Chicken Coop?
First, you need enough space inside the chicken coop for every chicken that you intend to own, and you ought to allow for 4 square feet of space per bird. So, if you have 4 chickens, you need 16 square feet of space inside the chicken coop. This is super important.
Chickens that are kept in cramped conditions become unhappy and unhappy chickens peck at each other and eventually, they will kill some of the other birds and then… they will eat them.
Yes, chicken cannibalism is a real thing and if it happens in the chicken coop it’s probably because it was too crowded.
Where To Put Your Coop?
You need to ensure the coop has a little shade but also some access to sunshine each day, chickens need a bit of both to stay happy.
It should be at a bit of a distance from the nesting boxes but not so far from the next boxes that it feels like it’s in another neighborhood.
You also want a breeze blowing through to keep odors to a minimum and your chickens dry, but you don’t want a gale blowing, either.
It needs to be easy for you to get to because you’re going to have to check on your chickens at least twice a day.
You should also keep it away from your neighbors because this will make life easier for you and for them.
What Else Do You Need?
You coop has to have a nesting box (you want eggs, right?) so that the birds have somewhere to lay – you need one box for every 2 hens that you own.
You will also need windows in the coop because they need air to breathe. You must also provide a feeder and a waterer so that they can eat and drink.
Ideally, you also want to offer somewhere to perch so that your chickens can chill out during the day, a run (somewhere for them to play safely in the day), dust bath (this keeps them clean and healthy and pest free), poop boards (you pop these under the coop and then empty them into the compost – much easier than shoveling poop) and some lighting (which can help with egg production in the darker months).
And that’s it. So, now that you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s take a look at our some DIY ideas for chicken coops.
12 DIY Ideas For Coops
Natalie’s Chicken Coop Plan
This is one of the easiest to follow plans that we found in our search for the perfect coop.
Just download the plan from Natalie’s blog – it’s good for 7 chickens and measures 8’ x 3.5’. This free chicken coop plan is very similar to our own coop and we’d recommend this free DIY chicken coop layout to anyone.
Rick’s South City Coop
If you’re short on space this is a great way to fit 5 chickens in a smaller space – 6’ x 3’ and it’s super stylish. As you can see, DIY chicken coop plans can get pretty fancy. You’ll need more than a bit of chicken wire to build this.
Rick’s done an incredible job of making a chicken coop a real home.
They say that this chicken coop will cost you $2,000 if you want to buy it from a manufacturer. It’s quite a large chicken coop and it’s a luxurious DIY coop too.
But if you use Barn Geek’s plan you’ve got a super easy to build home for 6 chickens that measures 6’ x 4’.
We love this, it looks almost like the perfect garden shed but instead of tools inside, it’s got chickens.
At 8’ x 4’ it’s a little on the large side but the plans are so easy to make that it’s worth checking it out.
Easy Chicken Coop
If you’re really not confident in your building skills, then this is the coop for your flock.
Anyone can make the “Easy Chicken Coop” and at 6’ x 4’ it makes a fine home for up to 6 chickens.
Wire Spools Chicken Coop
This one is only fit for a pair of Bantam chickens which are a very small chicken.
It only makes sense if you’ve got almost no space at home, then this is the perfect way to keep chickens.
Farmer Kitty’s Coop
An easy to make but it’s also a no frills chicken coop that you should be able to build in 3-4 hours with no problem.
At 8’ x 4’ it’s fine for 8 chickens but it’s not the prettiest coop I the world.
Kevin’s Chicken Tractor
Worried that you might need to move your coop around, check out Kevin’s Chicken Tractor which is perfect for 4 chickens and completely portable.
Downeast Thunder Farm Chicken Coop
This one has plans for the coop and a run included.
We love this design and find it really handy to get into help your chickens when needed. Check it out here.
Mammy’s 1985 Chicken Coop
If you intend to keep 32 chickens or so then this is the ultimate chicken house!
It’s so big that “coop” no longer does it justice. It easy to build though as you’ll see from the plans.
The M101 Chicken Coop
Want your chickens to live in luxury?
Then the M101 is the coop for you, you won’t save much money building it but it will be the best looking chicken coop for miles around.
See it here to believe it.