Free-range chicken coop plans basic

Floor and foundations

The 75mm by 100mm posts double as both the foundations and part of the frame. Each post will rise 950mm out of the ground and will double as one of the four corners of the coop.

Your first task is to work out the rough position of the posts and dig some holes. You can fine tune their positions before you fill in the post holes. Refer to the diagrams and follow the instructions below.

Step one:

Prepare a flat site for your coop, measuring 1.8m by 1.3m. To get the site nice and flat, you can drive four wooden stakes in each corner of the site. Attach builders line (slightly elastic string) diagonally between opposite stakes (just above ground level) and use a spirit level to get the line level. Use the string as your guide to get a level site, then remove the stakes.

Use the lengths of 115mm by 45mm timber to lay out approximately where the floor will go. Remember to allow a gap for the posts in each corner (refer to Figure 2.1). Mark on the ground where the posts will go.

Step two:

Dig the post holes. Unless you want to use concrete in the bottom of the hole (not really necessary in this case) you should go down at least 600mm. It is best to leave the posts sticking up slightly higher than you will need. You can then cut them to the exact height once the hole is filled in.

Step three:

Refer to Figure 2.1. Insert the posts into the hole, don't fill the hole in yet because you will need to fine tune the position of the posts first. But you can put a bit of dirt in the holes to help the posts stand up on their own.

Attach the 115mm by 45mm lengths of timber to the posts at ground level. The timber should be nailed so it is level with the outside face of the posts, and the posts should all be facing the same way.

To attach the timber:

  • sit it on the ground in its correct position, check it is level with a spirit level
  • If it is not level, level the ground underneath
  • Once level, nail one end by inserting nails diagonally through the beam and into the post.
  • Two nails in the side and one from the top should do it
  • Check the timber is still level then nail the opposite end to the opposite post as above.

Once the timber is attached, fill in the post holes, packing the soil in nice and tight. Check the posts remain level as you work.

Step four:

Pour the floor (see All about concrete). For a 50mm thick concrete slab, you will need 0.1 cubic meters of concrete. If you are using ready mix, it should say on the bag how much volume each bag will make.

You will be left with a rim approximately 65mm high around the edge of the floor. This rim will help with collecting manure later on.