Coops

How to Build an Easy Affordable Chicken Coop for 4 to 6 Chickens (+ Chicken Coop Plan)

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

Chicken Coops are ideal DIY projects. Building your own coop can save money and give you a sense of accomplishment. Your chickens will also forgive you a crooked screw.

There are several chicken coop plans online, but many are complex and challenging to build. We created a simple and straightforward design that everybody can build, even if you lack woodworking skills.

The design doesn't include fancy windows or decorated nesting boxes, but it's a fully functional coop with everything you need. You can open up the coop on the top and side for easy maintenance and egg collection.

Features of the Coop

Here are the features of the coop we're building:

  • provides room for 4 medium to 6 small chickens
  • there is plenty of space for 2-4 removable nesting boxes
  • you can open the roof for easy maintenance
  • you can open the entire side for easy entrance
  • it's standing on legs, so the hens can use it as a shelter
  • there is space for 2-3 roosting bars
  • clear separation of roosting area and nesting boxes
  • the roof sides are open for ventilation
  • only straight cuts, no diagonal or angles

The Chicken Coop Plan

For this chicken coop, we follow our free chicken coop plan for 4 to 6 chickens.

You can download the plan for free here on our website:

Materials

Here is the material you need. The coop plan is flexible, so feel free to replace these items with anything you have lying around.

ItemMaterialAmount / Length
Base Plate3/4" x 20" x 6ft plywood/hardwood1
Legs4x4" ground contact wood pressured lumber8 ft
Frame2x4" studs for the frame40 ft
Sidings1x6" rough pressure-treated lumber (or any sidings you like)25 ft2
Roof20" x 6ft plywood or roofing material1
Hinges2 door hinges and 2 standard hinges4
Roosting2x4" roosting bar2

You will also need screws and standard timber tools, like a saw and an electric drill.

Step-by-step Instructions

Time needed: 6 hours.

Here are step-by-step visual instructions to create an affordable chicken coop than can house four to six hens.

  1. Cut the Legs

    Take a 4x4 and saw the legs for the coop to the proper length. We will use post holders later to install them, so we cut them to the exact size. Make them longer if you're going to dig them in.
    chicken coop diy legs

  2. Create the Base

    Create the base of the chicken coop by screwing the legs through the base plate. Use 3-4 long screws, as there will be shear forces on the legs when it's windy. We use an inch of phenolic plywood for its durability and water resistance.
    chicken coop base
    If your coop has long legs, you can create triangles with a wooden plate to prevent the coop from wiggling side to side. Just connect the base and legs with a 45-degree board to create the triangle.

  3. Install the Base Frame

    Install the base of the frame by screwing through the plate upside down. This way, the board gets firmly attached to the frame.
    chicken coop base frame upside down

  4. Complete the Base Frame

    Repeat this process for all sides. Leave an opening at the side of the door, as it will be much easier to clean and take the bedding out with a flat surface.
    diy chicken coop base frame installed

  5. Install the Long Side Frames

    With the base layer in place, screw the base of the side frames on top of the base plate. Then, build up the side frames along the long sides of the chicken coop.chicken coop diy long sides side frames

  6. Install the Short Side Frames

    Build a new frame on the inside of the long side frames to build the frame for the shorter sides. You can screw through the existing pieces.
    diy chicken coop short side frame

  7. Finish the Outer Frame

    Complete the top of the frame with 2x4s by screwing wood in wood. We use corner anchors to reinforce the frame, but the frame will be rigid enough without anchors when the sides are installed.
    diy chicken coop outer frame

  8. Reinforce the Back Side

    Add some extra 2x4s in the middle of the long side to get a rigid structure. We will also use these to screw the sidings later on. reinforcement of frame on the back of the coop

  9. Reinforce the Door

    Do the same on the other side, where the entrance comes. Adjust to the width of your chicken coop door. Bear in mind that some automatic chicken coop doors aren't that wide.
    diy chicken coop frame door side

  10. Add the Roosting Bars

    With the frame complete, it's easy to attach some roosting bars. You can also do it when the complete coop is finished, but at this point, it's easier to reach everything.diy chicken coop roosting bars

  11. Add the Sidings

    Cut the sidings to the proper length and screw them on the frame. Start at the top so you are level with the frame. It doesn't really matter how much the sidings stick out on the bottom.diy chicken coop screwing the sidings

  12. Create the Maintenance Door

    Create a door with a couple of sidings by crossing them with two sidings on the back. Leave some room on the bottom and top to make sure the door closes. Also, leave some extra room on the side where the door closes, as it falls on top of the frame when it closes.diy chicken coop door made from sidings

  13. Attach Hinges to the Maintenance Door

    Attach two strong hinges to the door before installing it. The hinges need to be strong enough to carry the door when it's fully open. Use screws that are long enough to go through both the front sidings and the reinforcement at the back.diy chicken coop door hinges

  14. Install the Maintenance Door

    Install one vertical siding on the right side of the door. This is where the hinges will attach. Keep the door in place in the closed position when screwing the hinges.
    diy chicken coop door with hinges installed

  15. Install the Base of the Roof

    Attach hinges to a 2x4 and install it on the top of the back frame. Attach them on the opposite sides, as shown in the picture. Use two hinges and distribute them evenly over the length of the chicken coop.diy chicken coop roof base beam with hinges
    Put the hinges as close to the back as possible so that there is plenty of room for the roof to open.

  16. Attach the Roof

    Use two extra 2x4s and some plywood or roofing material to construct the roof. On the front of the coop, add an extra 2x4 to give the roof some slope when it's closed.
    diy chicken coop with roof open

    We recommend installing a lock on the roof to prevent wind from lifting the roof. Especially if you have a lightweight roof like in the picture above.

  17. Install the Chicken Coop

    Pick a spot to install the coop. We are placing it in uneven grass, using metal fence post anchors with ground spikes to level the coop. If you remove the roof and the door, the coop is easy to carry around with two people.diy chicken coop placement

  18. Finish the Chicken Coop

    Assemble the roof and the maintenance door when the coop is in place. Then install a ramp for the birds to get in and out.

    We recommend that you paint the chicken coop. Check our chicken coop paint recommendations to make sure you choose paint or oil that's safe for your birds.

    finished diy chicken coop

    Last but not least, install an automatic chicken coop door if you don't like to be elbowed out of bed at cock crow to let the hens out. You can use our chicken coop door installation guide for step-by-step instructions.

That's it. A complete coop with everything your hens need that's robust and ready for the test of time.

It's a fun weekend project and ideal to carry out with the family.

Now it's your turn to build a chicken coop!

Here's the plan to get you started:

Share your pictures with us on social media.

Next Steps

With the coop in place, you are ready for the next steps:

  • provide a roosting area: check our chicken coop guide for the correct dimensions of the roosting bars. The left side of the coop is the roosting area.
  • use removable nesting boxes: the chicken coop has two sides. The right side - with the maintenance door - is the laying area. Those areas must be separated to prevent chickens from roosting in their nesting boxes.
  • set up the chicken run: set up some fencing around the chicken coop area to provide a run for your birds. Check our chicken coop guide for more info on fencing.
  • add the bedding: add a layer of chicken coop bedding and nesting box bedding

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.

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