Here we will talk about 10 tips on a low-cost DIY chicken coop. You can create a work of masterpiece using your handwork and a little creativity.
Raising chickens can sometimes be challenging. For instance, your backyard chicks or backyard hens will need a sturdy coop or chicken house to keep the chickens safe and protect them from predators.
Chicken coops are expensive if you are buying a pre-fabricated one. The average cost of a new coop is $600, but there must be a way around this.
The best choice to reduce the cost is to build a cheap coop. You can make a small chicken coop or a large coop, depending on the number of your chickens.
But we will dive a little deeper into how to make it as economical as possible. Keep reading to learn more.
10 Tips On How To Build A Chicken Coop Cheap
Let’s dive right in on our top tips to build a cheap and absolutely adorable coop. When most people think about making a coop, they jump right in.
They buy all new tools and materials and might even purchase plans for a coop.
Some people don’t even want to attempt to build their own and buy a pre-fabricated one.
But before you start buying anything or making your material list, look at these tips to make the cheapest DIY chicken coop.
1. Size Of Flock
The larger your flock is, the more it will cost. Since each chicken needs to have 2-3 sqft of space, more chickens equal a larger coop.
The average starting flock is not more than six chickens, which equals 9-15 sqft for a coop. And that will also give you about 12-20 eggs a week, which is perfect if you only use them for yourself. Raising more chickens means you will collect more eggs.
If you have a larger flock, it leaves you no choice but to build a large chicken coop, which means more items on your material list.
But if you plan to add more chickens to your flock, it is cheaper to start larger. If you make it too small, remaking it to be larger is inevitable.
Then this means buying more materials. Not to mention, it is a massive waste of time.
2. Free Chicken Coop Plans And Designs
There are thousands of free chicken coop designs online. No need to pay for plans unless you want a complicated coop design. You can find a free chicken plan online or even on youtube.
If you aren’t too handy with the tools, following a video tutorial might help you. Most of the free plans are very simple.
So if you have no experience with tools, don’t worry. But if you are handy, feel free to find a little more complicated cheap chicken coop designs.
3. Build Simple
Your chickens don’t care if your coop is the most eye appealing. All they care about is that it is comfy and safe.
To cut your costs even more, build a simple chicken coop. Cheap chicken coops are basic, but they don’t have to be boring.
Instead of trying to design a coop that looks like a deluxe cottage, make a basic square shape with all the necessities.
4. Chicken Tractor
Another inexpensive chicken coop idea is to build a portable chicken tractor. These coops can be fun and enriching for your chickens.
And they are lightweight and can be moved all around the yard. Your chickens will love the foraging benefits, and you will like how cheap they are.
You can make these out of used tires, 2×4s, and mesh wire. And chicken tractors come in all sorts of fun shapes, like the A-frame style.
5. Recycled Materials
The best way to make a chicken coo affordable is to use recycled materials. Keep a lookout for free windows, doors, plywood, and 2x4s.
The popular new idea is to make a chicken coop from pallets. Be creative. Nothing can’t be recycled into something great.
You can find these on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or the LetGo app. Some people have great luck finding scrap materials from construction companies.
You can’t get any cheaper than free. Make sure that the materials are in good condition.
You don’t want something rotting or molded, which could compromise the structural integrity.
If you can’t find recycled materials, the next best thing is plywood. It is cheap, and you can buy it at any hardware store. It’s also durable and solid enough to make a small coop.
If you use plywood, you won’t have to use as much of it. That will save you money compared to designing a coop with wood paneling.
7. Protective Materials
When it comes to protecting your chickens, this is one area you don’t want to skimp on.
If an animal breaks your coop to get to your chickens, you will not only have to replace the chickens but also the coop.
If you need locks or durable protective equipment, ensure you get the best.
For instance, hardware cloth is far superior compared to chicken wire. Don’t go the cheaper wire route when it could cost your flock their safety.
You don’t need brand new tools to put your coop together. You could buy used tools if you don’t already have them.
But, if you don’t think you will ever use the tools again, borrow! Ask your neighbors or friends to borrow the tools needed for the project.
Just be sure to give them back. If borrowing isn’t an option, you could always rent.
Some hardware stores will let you rent out larger equipment cheaper than buying it. In either case, it could be more affordable, and you won’t have tools you likely won’t use again.
Making a chicken coop from a shed is another way to build a cheap coop. You could modify a cheap shed or buy a used one.
Instead of making a boring basic coop, you could make one out of a cute shed.
Modifying a shed is easy. There are thousands of YouTube videos to help you along. Using a shed is great for people with larger flocks.
They have windows and access doors already. So the only modification will be ventilation and adding a chicken door.
10. Milk Crates
And our final tip on how to build a chicken coop cheap is to use milk crates as nesting boxes. The high sides make them fabulous for nesting boxes.
You can often find them used for very little. They are much cheaper than buying nesting boxes and easier than making your own.
They are also versatile and can be used in any style of cheap chicken coop you make.
How To Build A Coop For Your Backyard Chickens
Your backyard chickens will require a good chicken coop plan to live a longer and more productive life.
A large chicken coop will take several days to design and a few more days to build. Here is how you should build a quality DIY chicken coop for your backyard flock.
Prepare The Ground
You should not build your DIY chicken coop immediately after heavy rains, as the ground will be soft and porous.
This will make it hard for you to lay a strong foundation. Once ready to build your coop, remove all the sticks and rocks from the ground.
You should also cut overhanging branches as they can harbor predators that can attack your hens.
Pick Your Chicken Coop Plan
If you are building your DIY chicken coop from scratch, you can choose a plan that fits our considerations.
You can also use online easy-to-use free chicken coop plans aimed at beginners.
However, you must remember that a chicken coop or house can be less complicated than many plans you will come across.
Build Your Coop Frame
When building your coop frame, you should not rush it as this can create problems later. If the coop frame is not secure and sturdy, the rest of the coop will not be, either.
You may risk losing your hens to predators, drafts, leaks, or coop collapse.
Add Coop Walls
Once you build your coop frame, you will have to add panels for walls to the coop’s frame. You can also add two roof panels.
You can cut the plywood at the lumber or home improvement stores. This is also the time you should cut your vents which will help to protect your hens from heatstroke and respiratory diseases.
Put In The Floor
Some backyard-free chicken coop plans call for a dirt floor. While this may seem easy, using a wooden floor is worth it as it will result in a safer and drier coop.
To ensure predator protection, you should choose scrap wood that does not have holes or large knots.
Add Your Door
Your backyard chicken coop should have two types of doors, one for you and one for the hens.
How wide or high your door is will depend on the breed of chickens inside the coop.
You can use chicken wire instead of a wooden door for the door of your hens.
This will ensure good air circulation in the warm months.
Building Nesting Boxes And Perches
You must build several nesting boxes if you have several hens in your backyard. You can consider a ratio of one nesting box for every three hens.
The perches or roosting bars should be higher to make your coop a safe home.
Build Your Run Frame
The attached run frame will support the hardware mesh, chicken wire, and other fencing.
The run frame does not have as perfect and strong as the coop frame. However, you will need to ensure that it is a bit strong so that strong wind does not bring it down.
Add Your Run Fencing
You can use chicken wire instead of hardware mesh for the run fencing if you want to save money.
However, hardware fencing can offer extra protection against predators. You will need to ensure that your DIY coop has an outdoor space.
Accessorize The Coop
Once you are done, you will need to accessorize your coop and make it aesthetically pleasing.
You will need waterers and several food troughs, depending on space and the number of chickens you raise.
Is It Cheaper Not To Have A Coop?
Chickens without a coop will naturally find higher ground to sleep. Most chickens will roost in nearby trees.
So while yes, it is cheaper. It’s not advisable to leave your chickens unprotected.
Chickens need a coop to sleep in when they are the most vulnerable.
Leaving your flock outside without coop protection leaves them vulnerable to predators and the weather.
A coop is the best way to keep them protected and on your property at night.
What To Consider In Your Chicken Coop Ideas
When building your perfect chicken coop and runs, you might wonder what to consider in your plans.
Whether creating your own blueprints or finding a free one online helps you know what to look for. Some of the things you should consider for a perfect coop are:
- A door so you to enter the coop. An entry will make it easier to clean your coop and collect eggs. Without it, you will crouch down and try to get inside a small space. Two doors are okay for four chickens. You can make three doors if you raise more than eight chickens.
- A chicken door and ramp so that your chickens have an easy way in and out.
- You will also need one nesting box per 5 chickens. You won’t want too many because your chickens will sleep inside them. You might not think this is bad, but chickens poop a lot while roosting. You don’t want this inside the nesting box with your precious eggs.
- Remember that you need plenty of ventilation, depending on your coop size and climate. Ventilation up top is best for the summer, and the bottom for the winter. Windows are another great option to let in a cool breeze.
- And finally, you will need a roost. For this, you can’t get any better than a 2×4. Your chickens will sleep well if your flock has at least 10 inches of space per bird.
Knowing what elements of your coop to look for can help you with the recycling process.
And once you have your coop together, you could easily paint it to make it more visually appealing.
Finding all the materials you need for free isn’t beyond the scope of reality. All you will need is the nails and hardware cloth to keep it all together.
What Can I Use Instead Of A Chicken Coop?
If you do not want a chicken coop as your chicken house, you can use cabinets, dressers, swingsets, trampoline, playhouse, and cribs. You can also use pallets or an armoire.
Is It Cheaper to Build or Buy Chicken Coop?
If you own chickens, it is cheaper to build your own chicken coop than to buy one.
Building a coop can be challenging as it requires resources, knowledge, and effort. However, with our free chicken coop plan, your can easily make an urban chicken coop.
With these 10 tips on building a chicken coop cheap, you can make a coop for just pennies.
Then you can save the rest of your money from getting the chickens you want and spoil them with a landscaped run. Starting to raise chickens doesn’t have to be hard or expensive.
It just takes a little creativity.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!