A well-built chicken coop is a worthwhile investment. Options range from simple and affordable to elaborate. With so many options available, and a world of creative possibilities to build yourself, it can seem daunting to decide what you want in a coop.
Types Of Chicken Coops
Here are a few chicken coop design options:
Considerations To Make
A chicken coop serves three main functions:
- Provide shelter from weather
- Protect your birds from predators
- Encourage your hens to lay eggs
Weather And Climate Protection
Before you build, think about how your coop will protect your animals from the climate, whether that be heat, rain, wind, or snow. For instance, if you live in a cold or windy area, coops with open mesh sides may not be warm enough.
Also consider if there is a place in the coop where you can safely mount a heat lamp. Lamps are important for your chickens’ well being in cold winter climates, and even more important in temperate areas when raising young chicks. Since heat lamps are a fire risk, they should be tied securely to a beam or round hook, with sturdy twine.
Safety From Predators
For predator protection, most coops have a sturdy door that can be shut and latched. However, it’s also important for coops to have ventilation, which should be covered in mesh for protection.
Chicken wire is not always sturdy enough to discourage predators, but a heavier hardware cloth will do the trick. Many coop designs are built up off the ground to prevent burrowing animals like weasels digging in. Figure out what your main threats are, and plan accordingly.
Coop Design And Accessibility
The shape of the coop itself is another consideration. When you’re deciding between a few different designs, think about how easy it is to reach the eggs. Many coops have nest boxes which are accessible from the outside, to encourage chickens to lay where the eggs can be easily collected.
Since a coop is not portable, and will not be moved onto fresh ground, keep in mind that it will need to be cleaned regularly. Think about the dimensions of the coop from this context—can you get inside it or stand up inside of it? If not, can you reach an arm or shovel to all parts of it? While it’s not the most glamorous coop feature, thinking about this now will save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Another feature of a coop is the roost, a bar or beam for the chickens to perch on at night. Consider how this might get in your way while cleaning or collecting eggs. Remember that a coop needs to be functional for both you and your chickens.
Chicken Coop Location
Now is the time to consider its placement. Since coops are not portable this is likely to be a long term investment for your family.
Do you want the coop to be close to your house for easy egg collection, or in the corner of the yard to isolate the inevitable chicken smell? Also, think about whether you want the chickens to have the run of the yard, or just a fenced area.
Before you build your chicken coop, consider how big the fenced area will be, and how that affects the size and shape of your coop. If you live in a hot climate, you should put your coop somewhere with summer shade, since chickens are susceptible to overheating.
By investing some time and consideration into how you want your chicken coop to function, you will give yourself a clearer idea of what models to start investigating, and save yourself a logistical headache in the long run. With a little forethought, a chicken coop can be a beautiful and functional part of your yard for years to come.
While buying a pre-built chicken coop or chicken coop plans is convenient, they can be expensive and difficult to customize. Often times you’ll have specific features you’re looking for in a chicken coop, and the pre-designed ones will meet one requirement but not another.
We’ve compiled a list of free chicken coop plans that vary in design, overall material cost, and functionality.
Upcycled Chicken Coop Plans
Upcycled Chicken Coop Car
While there isn’t much in the way of instructions for this one, it’s just too cool not to include. We consider these more of guidelines and inspiration rather than plans, but if you’ve got an old beater car in your yard and want to upcycle it, this is certainly an option!
DIY Recycled Cabinet Chicken Coop Plans
Here is another plan that we found for all our DIY and upcycle lovers! Made out of recycled kitchen cabinets, this shed is functional, eco-friendly and entirely up to your interpretation in terms of building materials. The recycled materials are also a great route to take if you’re all about the shabby-chic look.
Swingset Chicken Coop Plans
Nothing is more of a bummer than looking out in the backyard at the once lively swing set that is now dilapidated and growing weeds. Don’t keep that eyesore around! Turn it into something lovely, like a new chicken coop! This is just one of the many swing set chicken coop tutorials around. Do a Google search and you’ll be able to find one that is perfect for your needs.
Upcycled Crib Chicken Coop Plans
Perfect for someone with a smaller flock and a limited amount of space, this upcycled crib chicken coop is a great alternative to a traditional coop. With other upcycling options, you truly can customize it to whatever color/style you want.
Repurposed Dog House Chicken Coop
Is your puppy just too big for that old dog house? Don’t toss it! Upcycle it! This tutorial is relatively open-ended, but gives you an idea of what you can do with those random structures that hang out in your yard.
Walk-In Chicken Coop Plans
Can you even call yourself a DIYer if you haven’t used pallets for something or other? If you haven’t here is your chance! Pallets are so versatile and are a perfect way to build structures like chicken coops.
Recycled Trampoline Chicken Coop Plans
If the kids have grown and worn out the old trampoline, don’t just toss it out! Build the perfect chicken coop without sending more materials to the landfill! Not to mention, you can finally get that eyesore out of your lawn and turn it into something useful.
Upcycled Pallet Chicken Coop Plans
Another DIY pallet project! This specific finished project has a very simple, classic ranch style, but can definitely be painted and customized to fit your style.
Unique Chicken Coop Plans
Geodesic Dome Chicken Coop Plans
Your chickens will definitely feel like they’re living in a spaceship with these plans. The photos are easy to follow and you’ll have the coolest chicken coop on the block.
Log Cabin Chicken Coop Plans
Log cabins aren’t just for weekend getaways anymore.
Simple PVC Pipe Chicken Coop Plans
This is the perfect coop for someone who is looking for something that is easy, practical, and no frills. It may not be the most decorative coop out there, but it will certainly do the job and keep your chicks safe.
Doctor Who Tardis Chicken Coop
Calling all Doctor Who fans! How cool is this one? The instructions aren’t very descriptive, but there are plenty of pictures that will help you know if you’re on the right track.
Victorian Inspired Chicken Coop Plans
Alright, how charming is this one? Between the paint colors and the decorative details, this is the perfect arts and crafts project once the initial structure is built. When it comes to instructions, this plan is pretty solid. Don’t forget to download the materials list before you hit the hardware store!
Traditional Chicken Coop Plans
Planter Box Chicken Coop Plans
For those who need a multi-functional coop that is space-saving, check this one out. What plants or flowers would you decorate the planter on top of this coop with?
Urban Chicken Coop Plans
This simple, square chicken coop is the perfect size for those urban chicken owners out there. Match the paint color to your home or bring a pop of bright blue, green, or orange to your backyard. The customizing is endless!
Insulated Chicken Coop Plans
Keep your chickens warm and cozy with an insulated coop! Lots of descriptive images and instructions make this tutorial easy to follow.
Beginner Chicken Coop Plans
This chicken coop is perfect for the beginner builder; someone who wants to build a coop but doesn’t want something complicated. Simplicity matters and this plan fits the bill.
Basic Chicken Coop Plans
This traditional chicken coop is the perfect backyard structure for any homestead. Go with the traditional red paint, or mix it up to match whatever color your home or barn is.
Small Backyard Chicken Coop Plans
For a smaller version of a traditional coop, check out this one. The traditional farmhouse style is certainly represented in this plan, and the detailed images will help you complete this project.
Affordable $50 Chicken Coop Plans
Were you interested in building a chicken coop until you saw a $1,000 price tag? Don’t get discouraged because this coop can be built for $50! Don’t spend more than you need to for a pre-built coop when you can have one that has the same general functions for way less!
Multi-Level Chicken Coop Plans
Here is another coop that has a traditional barn style. The doors give off some serious barn vibes, but in the best way possible. As with the previous coop, you can download a helpful material list for this one too!
A-Frame Chicken Coop Plans
A Frame Chicken Coop Plans
The A frame: sturdy, traditional, and aesthetically appealing. This chicken coop is no different. Create a chicken coop that is classic and will stand the test of time.
Cheap A Frame Chicken Coop Plans
Since we couldn’t have just one on the list, here’s another a frame chicken coop plan that’s affordable and functional.