How to make a fast cheap chicken coop

High rise chicken coopWe’re pawning off our
problematic Light
on my brother, so it seemed only fair to come over and help
him build a chicken coop.  We threw it together in two and a half
hours and the only storebought materials were about $20 worth of
hinges, screws, and brackets.  Although you’re highly unlikely to
have the same found materials on hand, I thought you might enjoy seeing
the process.

The trick to building
well with scrap is to spend a few weeks pondering before you
start.  Joey had his coop all planned out before we even got
there.  He lives back in the woods where there are probably plenty
of predators, and he didn’t want to have to shut the chickens in every
night, so he envisioned a high rise chicken coop a bit like the ones
he’d seen in Central America.  The chickens will walk up a long
ramp and enter through the top of the coop.

Using two doors as the structural integrity of a chicken coop

Top carrier becomes roofJoey had found two solid wood
doors, which he planned to use as the main structural elements. 
Mark suggested working up against a tree since the support makes it
easy to build ramshackle coops by yourself.  Within minutes, we
had nearly half of the coop in place.

Next, Joey took apart an
old car top carrier to turn into the roof.  The parts unbolted
easily, so if Joey wants to go on a trip, he can just remove the roof
from his coop and put the cargo carrier back together.  (He’d
better hope for sunny weather, though, for the chickens’ sake.)

(You may be noticing a
theme here — Joey and Mark did the work while Daddy and I stood
around and looked pretty.)

Sawing by hand

We needed a support to
form the corner across from the doors, so Joey cut an old two by four
to size.  He lives in an off-grid,
underground house
, so he did all the sawing by  hand. 
Mark and I are less hardy, so we brought a power drill to make
fastening faster.

Adding an egg access hatch

Coop with perchesThe other materials Joey had
in abundance were old cabinet doors.  They just happened to be the
same length as the bigger doors were wide, which made it easy to use
the cabinet doors to fill in the other two walls.  We hinged three
of the pieces to make access doors — one in the front at the top for
the chickens to go in and two on the side to make an extra large egg
access hatch.  (You can’t see it, but there’s a nest box inside
behind the darkest cabinet door.)

Before we closed the
coop in too much, we also added perches.  Joey had an old mop
handle which he cut in half to make two corner perches.  (You can
barely see them in the photo to the left.)  Then, just below the
top access door, we added a longer perch made out of two by
fours.  The idea is that the chickens come up the ramp, walk onto
that perch, then hop down to the nest box using the corner perches as

Cheap chicken coop

Here’s the nearly
finished coop.  Joey’s going to add a few more hinges on the
various access doors (we only brought three hinges) and some smaller
boards to the ramp to give the flock better flooting.  I’m looking
forward to seeing whether our Sussex are bright enough to make this
inventive coop work.

We’ll send Joey home
with three hens, a rooster, and an automatic chicken waterer to make daily
care a breeze.  He’ll just have to supply deep
material and some chicken feed.

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