So you are finally ready to get to building your chicken coop! Since you have your individual needs your building may differ from mine. I do want to share with you what we did when building my chicken coop. You have done your research after reading 5 Things to Consider When Building a Chicken Coop. You have purchased all your materials you needed from that research and was able to do it on a budget because you read Shopping to Build Your Chicken Coop on a Budget! Great work, now lets get down to business.
Materials Needed for Building My Chicken Coop
I have a LOT of chickens, 63 to be exact. Don’t believe me check out my Facebook Page Farm-Tastic Friday with Rhonda F Meadows. You can see the pictures and videos of my farm there. When we were ready to build our coop we needed a lot of space. We decided to go with an 8 ft wide 32 ft long structure. Our materials may differ depending on what size coop and such you need but here are the materials we used.
- 8 Cattle Panels needed for roof
- 56- 8 ft 2×3 needed for 2 ft tall wall
- 10- 8 ft 2×3 needed for back walls
- 22 ft x 36 ft white tarp for roof cover
- 2- 8 ft x 8 ft tarps needed for front & back of coop
Building the Chicken Coop Process
Again your process may differ when building your chicken coop. I am just giving you some ideas on how we did our coop. It was fairly simple for a large coop. It was also one of the more budget friendly choices when compared to buying a coop already made or building another type structure. Our coop is similar to a greenhouse. They are built often on farms and usually referred to as a hoop house. Again each structure is designed differently and the methods and materials used are what suits the needs of the farmer best.
The First Step in Building My Coop
The first step for us in building our chicken coop was to construct the 2×3 walls that our cattle panels would sit on. If you have ever built a hoop house you know how short they are unless you put them on a structurally sound foundation. They can be wonderful for animals but are not so human friendly otherwise.
We built our walls approximately two foot tall. If you plan to do this I highly suggest investing in a good nail gun. You will need to put your 2×3 together to the length you want your walls. In order to brace and be structural you will want to put your boards two wide. Instead of lining them up even consider making your structure stronger by moving the boards down enough that you are able to place a full board over the area where your first boards are joined. Once you have this wall complete you will repeat this process for the second wall.
Let me stop here to give you a few tips that we learned while building our chicken coop. Be sure to construct these walls in the area you intend to put your coop. They can be moved but they are long and awkward. It took my husband, son and I to move ours. If you can get all your materials close to your work area, do it. We had what seemed like a dozen trips to and from the trailer. Again, a good nail gun will become your best friend. We were so thankful for ours. We only needed a hammer for the nails that needed just a bit of extra driving. Imagine the time we saved!
The Second Step in Building My Chicken Coop
Now that both the side walls are complete it is time to start connecting everything. This requires the ten 8 ft 2x3s. One 2×3 will be placed on the ground and the walls will then be nailed to it. This board alone will NOT support the structure so someone needs to hold each wall while someone does the nailing. Once the board is secure on the bottom another will be placed on the top of the wall and nailed in the same fashion. You are getting more stable but before you are done another 2×3 should be placed in the box you just built diagonally and nailed on each of the ends. This is known as cross bracing. A very important step to NEVER forget when building something, especially something large.
The Third Step in Building My Chicken Coop
The primary structure is now complete. I would have to say this is the hardest part. The third step is connecting your cattle panels to the foundation structure. We completed this step by using a staple gun, another good friend to have when building. We attached the bottom of the cattle panel to the top our our wall we had built. Don’t just staple and go if you want secure. After attaching the panel to the wall secure it by nailing 2x3s once again the length of the structure. This gives the panel a slit to sit in for weight support.
Once you have one side completely attached you are ready to make your roof. Fold the panel over to the other wall to do this. Repeat the process just completed for this side of the wall as well. When done you will now be able to see how the structure is going to look. You are approaching structure completion but not quite there yet!
Attach the panels together also. You do not want the sides secure and the roof a hazard! We used regular old zip ties to do this. Where each panel joins the next put zip ties. You do not have to do every square but do enough that you do not have sag in any of the panels. I think ours was maybe every 4 squares. Find your pattern then stick to it! Do this all the way around the panel, roof included. If you can’t reach grab a ladder or step stool.
The Fourth Step in Building My Chicken Coop
The fourth major step in building my chicken coop was applying the tarp to the structure. The tarp was large, heavy and awkward. The structure was now too tall to just reach over so a ladder had to be used. Someone on the ground grabs an end and holds it tight. The ladder person is likely in the middle of the coop to support the tarp at the crest. Another person should be on the opposite side of the coop. If you only have 2 people the ground person gets to go around to help lower the tarp to ground on this side. Once the tarp is all rolled out you all must work together to get the tarp evened out on both sides. The coop is now covered but it is not complete yet!
Now that the tarp is on it needs to be secured. We did this by lifting the coop with a jack and pulling the tarp to the inside of the coop. Get the tarp as tight as possible. In hindsight, it would have been wise to better secure the tarp by using bungee cords attached to each eyelet and stretched across the coop floor. Just be careful not to create a tripping hazard.
The Fifth Step Tying Up Loose Ends
The final steps for us in building our chicken coop was building our doorway, sealing the sides of the doorway, sealing our back end of the coop, and finally spreading our pine shavings. I am going to touch on these items pretty vaguely. The materials we used other than the two 8×8 tarps were pretty much spare items we had from previous building.
The door was braced, framed and built with a few left over 2x3s. We were putting smaller birds in so we covered the door with small wire that we had previously purchased. We also used this wire to cover the sides of the coop next to the door since we centered our doorway. The back of our coop was sealed using a piece of plywood, again left over from a previous project, and then the same wire used on the front of the coop. Once everything was sealed the wire on the front and back of the coop was covered with the 8×8 tarps. The door was cut out and the rest secured. Mostly the tarps were secured by using zip ties. There are a few areas around the back that we sealed using nails or staples because the wind kept tearing it loose.
The door was secured with an old style button lock. This is a piece of wood nailed next to the door opening. It is usually secured with a nail. The piece of wood is tight enough to swivel and hold the door closed. It is a fairly simple closure that is effective. The lock was high enough that any little predators such as coons would not be able to open it.
Building My Chicken Coop in Closing
Those are the 5 steps that we followed in order to build our chicken coop. Our coop is roughly around 8 ft tall in the center. Again in hindsight, my husband said if he had it to do over he would replace 6 of the 8 ft 2x3s with 10ft boards instead. This would have extended the coop to 10 ft wide instead of 8 and it would still be approximately 6.5 ft tall in the center. Plenty of height for most people and more floor space for the birds.
The last steps we took was putting in our pine shavings, feeders, and water. Last we brought our chicks out to investigate their new home. They really seemed to enjoy the area.
Problems Discovered Along the Way
I am going to take a moment to mention a couple of the problems we have found with our coop design. I have already told you some changes we would have liked in hindsight but I have a few issues that need their own attention because they are not just cosmetic or space changes. The tarp is a wonderful cover and holding up good. However we have learned that the tarp draws moisture. The moisture keeps the shavings damp in the coop. This is not what you want. We are currently trying a few changes to try and fix this issue. As of publish we have not figured it out yet. We allow our birds to come and go at will but if you needed to close them inside the coop I am sure this would not be ideal.
If you have a lot of birds, like we do, on occasion you may need to move your coop. We managed to do this BUT it was a challenge due to size and weight. The good news, it was structurally sound and everything held together. If mobility is something you may need I suggest looking into building the structure on wheels. A lock down type wheel could be secured by locking when the coop needed to be stable and unlocked when you need it to move. This would be so much simpler and would also not put stress on your structure.
So there it is. The coop finally constructed. The birds happily enjoying the space. The farmers learning along the way. An overall enjoyable learning experience. My carpenter skills could sure use some more polishing!
If you have any suggestions for our tarp moisture problem please leave them in the comments. We are actively seeking a solution. It is of utmost importance to us that our birds be happy and comfortable and I know I would NOT appreciate the dampness.
If you have any questions about our coop please leave them in the comments below. I have tried to be as descriptive as possible but may have left a mass of confusion. If this is you, please just ask and I will do my best to get you an answer.
You can also contact me privately at any time here.