Cost of Building Your Own Small Chicken Coop

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If you love do-it-yourself projects and sustainable living and have a little bit
of space in your back yard, building your own small chicken coop may be the perfect project for you. You can either purchase pre-made plans and materials lists online, or you can design your own blueprints from scratch. Your chicken coop can be as intricate or as simple as you wish, complicated enough to take a truck-full of supplies and a long weekend or simple enough to complete in a single afternoon. You are the master of your project, and the cost will be dependent entirely on what you want your final product to look like.

Begin With a Budget

Chicken coops vary in price dramatically. A chicken coop kit can cost several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and a pre-made chicken coop may be even more expensive. Even building your own chicken coop can get expensive if you do not have a plan. Before you purchase anything, figure out your budget. How much can you reasonably spend on a chicken coop or supplies? Do you want to spend extra and buy a supplies-in-the-box-and-ready-to-build kit? Or do you want to save money and do it entirely on your own, shopping-list-in-hand at the home improvement store?

Once you know how much you can afford to spend, find or design a chicken coop blueprint and make a supply list. The number of supplies, complexity of the design, and size of the coop should give you a hint as to how much the final project will cost. Visit your local home improvement stores and see how much your supplies run. Price comparison shopping may save you money. If you are within budget, purchase your supplies. If you can find free lumber or other building supplies in your city or county, consider taking advantage of these resources to lower your building costs.

Expect To Spend a Bit  

While it would be ideal to spend less than $100 setting up your first chicken coop, that’s not a very realistic goal. According to community discussions on the website, most people spent $300-$400 building their own small chicken coop. Quality materials, windows, and doors will quickly add to your cost. If you are on a tight budget, start with a very simple and materials-light chicken coop design. The more intricate your design gets, the more it’ll cost to make.

Building Your Own Coop

You don’t need a bunch of fancy tools to build your own chicken coop; a hammer, nails, a screwdriver, and a saw will get your started. Save costs by borrowing tools you don’t already have. Plan ahead to make sure you’ll have enough room for each chicken, light, ventilation, protection from predators, and a place to lay eggs. Follow your instructions step-by-step and before you know it, you’ll have a chicken coop in your back yard. If you are an accomplished woodworker, chicken coop blueprints may not even be necessary. Decide how big you want your coop to be and what you want it to look like and get started. For most people, though, this isn’t the best advice. Planning ahead will save you time, money, and frustration.

building chicken coop

A backyard chicken coop will bring you years of pleasure and fresh eggs too. Building your own will get you there less expensively and will also give you a sense of pride in a job well done every time you look outside. It’s not too hard to accomplish, nor too large a project. Building your own chicken coop is totally manageable. You can save yourself a lot of money over purchasing a pre-fabricated coop and will get a lot of pride out of completing a big project at the same time.


4 Benefits of a Portable Chicken Coop

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Chicken coops come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One can build their own coop at home with chicken coop plans such as those found at here on my website. Building your own chicken coop doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few basic supplies, a rudimentary knowledge of woodworking, and a free weekend, you can have your own chicken coop up and ready for a flock in no time. Whether you plan to build your own coop or buy a pre-built version instead, consider the size of your back yard, the number of chickens you wish to raise, how you’ll provide a light/heat source during the cold winter months, and how your birds will be protected from predators. A portable chicken coop is a great option that has many benefits to offer.

Photo Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Photo Jimmy Emerson, DVM

Cleaner Than Your Stationary Options

A portable chicken coop is easy to move from one part of your yard or property to another. They’re also known as chicken tractors and are generally A-shaped frames with a small hen house and fencing to protect the hens from predators. Some versions with large chicken houses have wheelbarrow-like handles to ease transport.  Many have wheels for easier moving.  Because they are portable, your chicken’s living area will be much cleaner than would a stationary chicken coop. Each day or several days, you simply move the coop, providing the chickens with fresh ground. Otherwise, you’ll have to frequently clean out your coop to keep your chickens free from disease and contamination.  Chickens poop nearly non-stop, so this is a lot of waste!

Providing the Free-Range Lifestyle and Protection Too

Raising your chickens completely free-range may be a wonderful idea, but if your area is ripe with predators then your hens are merely sitting targets. Dogs, cats, foxes, coyotes, bears, owls, hawks, skunks, and raccoons are just a few of many predators who would love to make a quick meal out of your chickens. A portable chicken coop allows your chickens plenty of room to exercise and scratch as well as sunshine and fresh air. Most importantly, there is a fenced-in area and an enclosed chicken house to keep your flock out of harm’s way.

Fantastic Mobile Fertilizers

A portable chicken coop can be moved all over your property, allowing you to fertilize and aerate large plots of land. Chicken manure is an excellent fertilizer, infusing your soil with potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients. Chicken manure makes your soil more fertile, improves soil structure, increases soil-moisture holding capacity, and helps your lawn or garden to grow healthier and happier. Healthy soil equals a healthy growing season.

Protect Your Yard and Keep Those Eggs Contained

One last benefit of a portable chicken group is that chickens are unable to destroy and scratch up your vegetable and flower gardens while still enjoying a semi-free range environment. Chickens can make quick work of your yard, damaging your foliage and destroying your vegetables. A portable chicken coop provides them with room to roam yet also keeps them in a contained area.

Also, a portable chicken coop keeps your eggs contained on one area. Free-range birds lay where they please, which means it can be quite an egg hunt when it comes time to collect eggs. If you use a portable chicken coop, your eggs will be kept within the confines of the coop. If you build nesting boxes within your hen house, your hens will hopefully lay their eggs in the boxes and make egg harvest even easier.

A portable-chicken coop has a lot to offer and provides your chickens with a healthy living environment while also transforming your property into a fertile mecca. If you are a small-scale chicken farmer, this may be the perfect option for you.

Chicken Coop Kits vs. Building Your Own

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Raising chickens was a normal part of everyday life for centuries. Most American yards had a chicken or two for the first two centuries of American nationhood. It became highly unpopular for several decades in the 1900s, but now a cultural shift has occurred. People care more about their food today than they have in many years and where it comes from is critical. Self-sustainability is not only good for the planet, but it’s also popular. Backyard-raised eggs are healthier, tastier, and less expensive than purchasing organic eggs from the supermarket. If you’d like to join the backyard chicken movement and raise your own flock, you’ll have to start with one big decision: are you going to purchase a chicken coop kit or are you going to build your own from scratch?

Chicken Coop Kits

When buying a chicken coop kit, you can simply decide on a design you like and place the order online. Kits are readily available from a wide array of companies and come in hundreds of designs. A week or two later, your chicken coop will arrive in a large box of pre-cut pieces, hardware, and step-by-step instructions.  It doesn’t get much easier than this. There’s no guess work involved. There’s no cutting or measuring. You don’t have to be a woodworking expert. With basic building skills and perhaps the assistance of a friend or neighbor, your chicken coop can easily be built within a weekend.

Photo by: Dale Calder
Photo by: Dale Calder

A chicken coop kit is a great option for someone who wants to build their coop, but doesn’t want the hassle of purchasing pieces piecemeal. It can be a daunting task! Chicken coop kits provide a no-hassle, easy way to achieve the do-it-yourself experience.

Building Your Own Chicken Coop

Building your own chicken coop is rewarding and often less expensive than purchasing a chicken coop kit. Get out some paper, a pencil, and a ruler. Measure and design to your heart’s content. This method gives you the most control over your final product and also requires the most work. Consider which materials you’ll need to purchase and how much. Which tools will you need? Do you have them already or will you need to purchase or buy them? What is your overall budget?  Your chicken coop could be as intricate or as simple as you desire.

A simpler way to build your own chicken coop is to find a design you like online and to purchase the design. Websites like mine will allow you to choose from a variety of attractive coop designs. Once you choose a design that fits your needs, you’ll get a complete list of materials to buy at your local hardware shop, step-by-step instructions to follow for easy construction, and lots of diagrams and full-color illustrations to make the process easy-to-understand and do-able for even amateur builders.

When you build your own coop, you are in complete control over what materials you use. Some chicken coop kits consist of cheap wood (not all, but some… check before you order!). If you build your own coop, you have control over what type of wood you use to construct you chicken’s new home. The quality of the materials determines how long and how well your coop will last. Building your own coop is rewarding and guarantees that you’ll get the exact back-year chicken coop you desire.

Benefits of a Chicken Tractor

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Backyard chickens have become incredibly popular in the past few years. Self-sufficiency has a lot of appeal to many,s does a regular supply of fresh, organic, cage-free eggs. If you’re considering raising chickens, you should start by checking your city’s farm animal regulations and restrictions. Once you’re in the clear, it’s time to research chicken coop designs! You can easily and inexpensively build your own coop at home with designs from sites such as  A chicken tractor is one popular type of chicken coop that may be perfect for your yard.

What is a Chicken Tractor, Anyway?

When one thinks of farming and tractors, a plowing machine often comes to mind. A chicken tractor, however, is something quite different. A chicken tractor is a type of floorless chicken coop that can be easily moved from one part of your yard to another. Often A-frame in shape, chicken tractors are very light weight and simple to relocate, especially if wheels are added. In the United Kingdom, this type of chicken coop is known as an Ark. Chickens raised in a chicken tractor benefit greatly from sunshine, fresh air, exercise, and the chance to forage.

Why Use a Chicken Tractor?

There are many benefits to using a chicken tractor. Free-range chickens are ideal, but predators can quickly dim your best plans. Chicken tractors have no floor, so chickens are basically free range and able to forage in the grass for bugs and weeds while also being protected from predators and inclement weather. Any eggs they lay will be protected, not hidden in the foliage waiting to be found.  You won’t have to clean your coop floor, as you’ll simply move the chicken tractor to a new location each day or every several days. Not only is this a fantastic way to fertilize your yard or garden, but moving the coop also gives the ground time to recover between usage.

What’s With the Funny Name?

While certainly not a tractor in any traditional means, the chickens within this floorless chicken coop perform some of the same jobs as a tractor. Chickens dig and forage, plowing the ground and preparing the soil for planting. Even better than a tractor, chickens defecate, fertilizing the ground.  Backyard chicken enthusiasts also enjoy the lawn-trimming benefits chickens provide!

Another perk of a chicken tractor over completely free-range chicken raising is that it is much more controlled. The chickens will not have uninhibited access to your vegetable and flower gardens, which they could destroy easily. The movability of the chicken tractor saves any one spot on your property from being completely destroyed, as chickens will eat or peck away any greenery within their living space. In a traditional, stationary coop or enclosure, chickens will clear the foliage to the ground, leaving nothing but dirt.

Easy to Use, Easy to Maintain

Chicken tractors are easy to build, simple to maintain, and make keeping backyard chickens a breeze. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a ready-made chicken coop when a chicken tractor can be crafted extremely economically and with minimal tools. Whether you’ve had chickens for years and are looking for something new or whether you are a chicken enthusiast just looking to start out, a chicken tractor is a fine backyard tool that you should seriously consider.

Photo by: Rochelle Eisenberger

How To Build Your First Chicken Coop

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Whether you are an accomplished woodworker or you can just manage to put together an Ikea bookshelf kit, building your first chicken coop is not out of your reach. Chicken coops can be incredibly simple in design or complicated, multi-step projects that will take you a long weekend to build. It’s up to you. Pick a plan, buy your supplies, and get ready to construct your backyard masterpiece.

Choosing the Plan for You

The Internet has truly made building your first chicken coop easier than ever before. With a few clicks of your mouse, chicken coop blueprints, material lists, and step-by-step instructions are available to you for very little cost. An excellent place to find chicken coop plans is obviously here at my website 🙂  Decide how many chickens you’d like to raise, the basics requirements you’re looking for in a coop, and how much (or little) you’re willing to spend. Also keep in mind your level of woodworking experience. If you have no experience, it may not be a good idea to pick an extremely complicated coop. A basic coop will suit your needs too and will be much easier to build. Regardless, purchasing a plan that comes with pictures and easy-to-follow instructions is sure to make your task easier!

Gather Your Supplies

A chicken coop is generally a good “first” building project, one that would be excellent for a parent and children to complete together. It requires few materials and isn’t too difficult to construct.

Once you have the perfect plan, bring your supply list to your local hardware store and check your items off one by one. Lay out your supplies before you start to build and make sure you have absolutely everything you need. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck midway through your project, realizing you don’t have the necessary part or tools.

As you gather your materials, consider quality vs cost. Sure, one type of wood may be extremely inexpensive, but will it hold up over time? A different type may weather better and better protect your flock from the elements. Ask a sales associate for details. There’s more to consider than cost… what quality chicken coop do you want?

Special Considerations

Follow your instructions carefully. Please do read the instructions! If you take the time to do so, you’ll be much happier with your final product.

Make sure that your chicken coop masterpiece is strong and sturdy to protect your flock from predators. You may want to add insulation to your roof to keep your birds warm in the winter and vents to keep the air temperate in the summer. Chickens like plenty of sunlight and room to roam, so make sure that you supply them with both. Have you built nesting boxes? You’ll need some, preferably one or more for every five chickens.

So Many Benefits

There are many benefits to building your own chicken coop. Not only will it cost less than buying a kit or pre-built coop, but you’ll also be able to modify your coop to meet your specific requirements. Building your own coop is the perfect chance to become a better builder or to bond with loved ones over a project. Raising chickens is a rewarding hobby and this fun begins before the chicks even arrive. You’ll remember your building experience for years to come—here’s to making that experience a great one.

Photo by: Dale Calder

Most Popular Chicken Coop Designs

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If you’re considering raising chickens, you may be surprised at the vast array of chicken coop designs there are to choose from. There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all variety! If you want a basic A-frame coop and chicken run, it’s quick and simple to make. If you want a large, wooden house with multiple laying boxes and a large, fenced yard, that’s popular too. If you have opulent tastes and want a miniature version of your own house scaled down to chicken size, even that is possible.  Here’s a rundown of the more popular chicken coop designs to get you started.

Wood is a Great Place to Start

Wood is by far the most popular building material for chicken coops as it is versatile and holds up well over time. The most popular chicken coops are smallish, angular, and easily constructed with wood. They can be A-frame or square and can accommodate a handful of hens. Some chicken coops are walk-in. Others are not. Some have lifting hatches for easy egg retrieval. Some coops are large and heavy; others are simple to move from one part of your yard or property.  The designs that I provide vary from small and simple to huge and breathtaking and come with a complete supply list and step-by-step instructions for each coop.

If you don’t like the look of the traditional chicken coop, fear not. There are many companies willing to supply you with a quaint chicken cottage or lakeside chicken manor. For some ideas, check out: Whether you want to match your coop with your house or simply add an elegant addition to your backyard garden, a fancy chicken coop may be just what you’re looking for.

Innovation Can Be Incredible

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your coop. A quick web search or Pinterest inquiry will result in some pretty incredible coops. Car parts can be turned into an edgy coop. Solar power or gardens can be implemented into your coop’s rooftop. Coops shaped like homes or even eggs have even been creatively crafted. For some cool inspiration, check out The Poultry Guide’s 10 Most Creative and Innovative Chicken Coop Designs:

How Does One Pick The Perfect Coop?

There are as many chicken coop designs out there as there are individual desires and requirements. When choosing the perfect design for you, here are a few things to consider: How many hens do you wish to accommodate? Where is your chicken coop going to be located and what topographical issues do you need to work with (hill, streams, flood plains, etc). Will your hen house have access to proper lighting, temperature controls, and ventilation and does your coop design offer what you need? How does your coop protect your hens from predators? How many laying/ nesting boxes do you wish to have and where will they be located? As you research chicken coop designs, make a list of features that are important to you.

Make a Budget… And Stick To It

Before purchasing your chicken coop, decide how much you can reasonably spend on your new coop. This will help you narrow down your choices. One can spend as little as $50 on a basic, homemade coop or thousands of dollars on a chicken coop kit. If you’re building your own coop, write down each part you’ll need and do some price comparison shopping.

No matter which type of chicken coop you fancy, take your time, do your research, and spend within your budget. If you rush and get the wrong coop, you’ll waste money and likely be disappointed. The perfect chicken coop is out there waiting for you.

Photo by: Allan Hack

2 Awesome Chicken Coops Built Using Our Plans…

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Quite often we receive emails from happy customers who have used one of our plans to build a chicken coop (and saved tons of money in the process)…

Today I’m going to show you images, sent in by two of our customers, of two absolutely beautiful chicken coops so you can see what our coops can look like in real life…

Check out these coops that were built using our Gambrel Chicken Barn plan here below…

This coop was built by James using our Gambrel Chicken Barn Design
This coop was built by James using our Gambrel Chicken Barn Design
Here’s the same coop as above but from a different angle.
Here’s the same coop as above but from a different angle.

Here’s an image, sent in by Gretchen Evans, of his coop that was also built using our Gambrel Chicken Barn plan…

Gretchen Evans chicken coop
Here’s what Gretchen said in his email to us: “Just wanted to send you a photo of my chicken coop. I used the Gambel design – just “super-sized” it!


…And here’s the plan they both used to build these beautiful coops:










The Gambrel Chicken Barn is a coop designed to accomodate a medium sized flock of 10-20 chickens. It could come as a kit for as much as $5000.00! Depending on the

materials used, to build this coop costs less than $1000! With such
easy clean-up in the design, why would anyone ever pay six times as much
and still have to put in the work?

Click here right now to sign up as a member and get instant access to the Gambrel Chicken Barn Plan and our complete collection of 19 carefully designed chicken coops!

Every plan comes with:
– Full color plans, ready to print
– 2 measurement metrics (cm/m & feet/inches)
– Step-by-step-instructions
– Complete lists of materials & tools needed

Check out all plans here



What is the Ideal Type of Chicken Coop?

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What if there was a solution that let you maximize the health of your chickens, give them access to the absolute highest quality food they can get (for FREE) while minimizing the amount of time you spend on maintenance AND have your chickens automatically fertilize your garden at the same time?

Too good to be true? Not at all.

Introducing…”mobile chicken coops“.

Yes, mobile chicken coops really is the ideal solution for anyone looking to raise a truly healthy flock of chickens in their backyard, whether it’s for meat or eggs.

mobile, but not ideal...
mobile, but not ideal…






Have you heard of Joel Salatin? If not, you have now. He’s an American farmer, lecturer, and author who raises livestock using holistic methods of animal husbandry, free of potentially harmful chemicals, on his Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia.

Watch this fascinating video where he talks about the incredible benefits of his ingenious system where he uses mobile “shelters” (as he calls them) to raise his chickens:

Can you see how with a mobile coop you could do the exact same thing as Joel in the above video but perhaps just on a much smaller scale?

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us here at ChickenCoopGuides. We’ll be adding 3 new chicken coop plans to our collection available to our members. One of them is a beautiful and very innovative mobile coop with wheels that has the coop on top and an attached run below it.

This mobile coop is suitable for a small flock of 5-8 hens, perfect for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the world of raising chickens yet large enough to provide most small to mid-size families with all the eggs they’ll need.

Watch your inbox tomorrow, for an email with the subject line:

“Check out our new awesome coops!”

If you’re looking for a coop that is as close to “ideal” as you can get you don’t want to miss tomorrow’s email.


PS. If you can’t wait until tomorrow to join, sign up today and check out all our existing coops and you’ll see the 3 new coops (including the amazing mobile coop mentioned above) in the members area once they have been released sometime during the day tomorrow.

Click here to join now!

Photo by: scotnelson