Free-range chicken coop plans basic

Before you start

Chicken coop

Note: This is a minimalist design for those who want to keep costs down. For a more complicated and stylish design try our movable chicken coop with attached run.

You can really go all out when it comes to designing a chicken coop. But if you don't want your project to cost the earth, then this plan is for you. This coop makes very efficient use of yard space and building materials. It should comfortably house up to 20 chickens. We currently house 10 in the one pictured (note the door is around the back in the photo).

This plan should be seen as a guide only. Your local climate may mean you require more ventilation, or more lining. Ask around people in your local area who keep chickens for advice. Chickens should have access to an outdoor area with this coop. We do not recommend keeping them shut inside during the day.

Every basic chicken coop needs the following elements:

  • keeps rain out
  • solid floor that manure can be easily shoveled or swept up from (for the garden)
  • Space to build a perch elevated off the ground
  • Space for at least two nest boxes for the first ten birds then one for every 7-10 birds after that.
  • well ventilated but not too drafty.

Materials

Timber

We suggest using dressed timber for this project (smooth surface). When timber is dressed, up to 2.5mm is removed from each surface, which can take a total of 5mm off each dimension. So, for example, the 45mm by 115mm timber that we use is actually 50mm by 120mm timber which has been dressed.

If you prefer to use rough sawn (or "rough") timber, slight adjustments to some measurements will be needed.

You will need:

  • Four 100mm by 75mm posts, at least 1.6m long
  • 45mm by 115mm timber in the following lengths
    • Two 1550mm lengths
    • Two 1125mm lengths
  • 65mm by 45mm timber in the following lengths:
    • Two 1550mm lengths
    • Two 1125mm lengths
  • 45mm by 45mm timber in the following lengths:
    • Three 770mm lengths
    • Two 250mm lengths
    • Four 500mm lengths
    • Two 1275mm lengths
    • Two 1660mm lengths
    • One 1185mm length
    • One 405mm length
    • One 700mm length
    • Four 300mm lengths (nest box)
    • Two 155mm Lengths (nest box)
    • Two 1125mm lengths (nest box)
    • One 805mm length (top window)
    • One 200mm length (top window)
  • Plywood to line the next boxes

Lining

We were initially going to line our coop with corrugated iron, but the cost would have been horrendous. Then we discovered corrugated PVC sheets. PVC is strong yet light weight and flexible. If you use a plastic primer first (spray or paint-on) then you can paint it with regular exterior grade paint.

  • Seven UV stabilised corrugated PVC sheets measuring 1.8m long by 0.7m wide
  • Plastic paint primer
  • About 1 liter of exterior paint, your choice of color

Floor

You can''t beat concrete for the floor. It will last for ever and is easy to shovel up the manure from.

  • 0.1 cubic meters of concrete (about two 25kg bags of ready mix concrete, refer to packet)

General

  • Two medium-sized galvanized hinges
  • High-thread timber screws
  • Flat head galvanized roofing nails
  • 75mm jolt head galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • Spirit level
  • Skill saw
  • Hand saw
  • Construction adhesive