DIY Chicken Coop for Broilers, on a Tight Budget

At about $50 to build, this movable chicken tractor is durable and about as cheap and simple as they come — and doubles as a cold frame!

| May/June 2012

  • DIY Chicken Coop For Broilers
    This coop design cost around $50 to build.
    Photo: iStockphoto.com/MicroWorks; Illustration: Nate Skow
  • DIY-Chicken-Coop-Full-Diagram
    To establish my door, I found a piece of scrap wood that was a good size for a door and placed it in the middle of my back wall, then traced it. The jigsaw made short work of the door and door opening. I trimmed about 1⁄8 inch from the door to allow room for my hinges and latch, which I next installed. It is crucial to shave off just enough room to allow the door to swing freely, without leaving too much room for potential predators to squeeze through.
    Nate Skow
  • Foraging Free Range Chickens
    Keep your chickens protected with room to roam: Build this DIY chicken coop for broilers.
    iStockphoto.com/Richard Clark
  • Bottom-Of-DIY-Chicken-Coop
    I decided to build the frame with three 8-foot 2-by-4s. The lumber was adequately durable and light enough to remain portable by my own human means. To build the frame, I cut one 2-by-4 in half and created a simple rectangle using those two 4-foot pieces and the other two 8-footers.
    Nate Skow

  • DIY Chicken Coop For Broilers
  • DIY-Chicken-Coop-Full-Diagram
  • Foraging Free Range Chickens
  • Bottom-Of-DIY-Chicken-Coop

As the number of people interested in growing their own food continues to grow, raising a small flock of backyard chickens for meat has become more widespread. From large flocks in rural fields to abandoned parking lots that harbor a handful of birds, chicken coops are popping up everywhere.

Last year, when I started my own small farm, building a DIY chicken coop for broiler chickens was at the top of the priority list. At first, the task felt a bit overwhelming as I scoured the Internet and print catalogs in search of ingenious concepts. What did I find? A plethora of prefabricated chicken coops in a wide variety of designs, ranging from basic wooden A-frames to fancy miniature log cabins equipped with sliding windows and rain gutters — one or two might have even been air-conditioned.

These coops were fun to admire, but they all had one flaw in common: They were out of my budget. I needed a design that was portable, protected my flock, allowed my birds to forage, and it had to be built on a shoestring budget. Blogs and forums were helpful in terms of suggestions and eye candy, but when I shut down the laptop and picked up John Seymour’s book, The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, I found my practical inspiration. Seymour’s do-it-yourself approach to just about everything reminded me that I didn’t need any fancy designs or materials. All I needed was a simple bird cage — and that is what I built.

I should mention up front that you won’t find my DIY chicken coop in a designer catalog, but if your goal is chicken in the freezer, follow along with these simple steps.



Building the frame

My goal was to conserve resources and save money by avoiding the use of a gas-powered engine to move my relatively large chicken tractor on a daily basis. I also knew that late spring and early summer would bring dramatic weather to the hills of Vermont by way of wind and rain. All it would take was one good gust of wind to knock over my chicken coop and expose the birds to predators and weather.

DIY chicken coop materials
3 – 8-foot 2-by-4s
1 – 4-foot-by-8-foot plywood 3⁄4-inch thick
3 – 3/4-inch 10-foot
PVC pipes
1 – 25-inch-by-50-foot roll of chicken wire, medium gauge with 1-inch holes
1 – 7-foot-by-10-foot tarp
3 – 12-foot 1-by-4s
8 feet of nylon rope
2-inch screws
2 small door latches
4 small hinges
200 zip ties

www.EasyWoodwork.org
5/15/2018 7:26:46 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own chicken coop – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)


DruidJo
9/8/2015 7:58:47 AM

This looks like a great idea and easily put together. My only concern would be the security. The raccoons around here, or the occasional fox, would tear through that wire and the flock in no time. Not sure how it would stand up to opossums either. Rabbit wire might be better, more cost, but better against predators.


Jaworski
3/11/2014 2:01:24 PM

Hi - I didn't find the plans for the coop in the image gallery. Can someone send them to me?







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February 16-17, 2019
Belton, TX

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on modern homesteading, animal husbandry, gardening, real food and more!

LEARN MORE