Use This Free Chicken Coop Plan to Build a Sturdy Coop
How to Build a Chicken Coop for Five Hens
If you’re going to get chicks this spring, or need a new home for your flock, you’ll love this free chicken coop plan. When it comes to building your own chicken coop, it’s important to make sure it’s large enough for your brood. This coop is meant to house five chickens that also have access to a large run. We have nearly 200 chickens on our homestead, but divide them into small, manageable groups to reduce stress and for breeding purposes. This chicken coop is 25 square feet, and houses four hens and a rooster. When building this coop, we used both salvaged pallet wood and purchased plywood, so it cost us only about $200 to make. Although you can certainly buy designer chicken coops, making your own is fairly simple.
Here’s how we built our flock’s new home using this free chicken tractor plan.
To use this free chicken coop plan, you will need the following tools and supplies.
(8) 2×6 boards cut to 5-foot lengths
(1) 5’x5’ square 1/2” plywood
4-inch wood screws (for base, sides, and roof studs)
(28) 2×4 cut into 5-foot lengths
(4) 4×4 cut into 2-foot lengths
(4) 3/4-inch 4′ x 5’ plywood (exterior sides)
½-inch hardware cloth or other material for triangular opening and ventilation gap
(6) 4-foot 2×4 studs cut at 22 degree angle
White 5’ x 4′ corrugated tin
2-inch roofing screws with nuts and washers
Building the Base
We first started out with 5-foot long boards of salvaged pallet wood. The boards were 1-inch thick, so there was no concern they weren’t strong enough to hold up the wood structure. Although our wood was salvaged, 2×6 boards would be perfect for the floor. Purchase them in 10-foot lengths to save a bit of money. If you use pallet wood, first make sure it’s safe for DIY projects by looking to see if it’s heat treated.
Once the base of the coop was complete, we added a solid floor with a 5′ x 5′ piece of ½-inch plywood. (Make sure the plywood you’re using is heat treated.) After cutting the plywood to fit the 5’ x 5′ base, we screwed the floor down using 4-inch wood screws.
Framing the Walls
We framed all four walls using 2 x 4 studs that were cut to 5 feet in length. We purchased 10-foot studs, then cut them ourselves to 5-foot lengths. To construct each wall, we screwed a 2×4 to the base which created a sturdy load-bearing base for the walls and roof.
On three walls, the two sides and the back, each 2×4 is 12-inches apart, and was first screwed to the bottom of the frame, then to the top. We double studded each corner for extra support. We also stabilized the coop by adding an additional beam on the back and the front that overlapped the corners and was screwed into each of the two side walls.
To frame the doorway, we placed a support beam between the two side walls, and placed 5-foot 2 x 4 studs 16-inches apart. The door ended up being 16 inches wide and 5 feet tall. Because it was summer when we built this coop, we opted to leave the door off to promote air circulation.
Our coop is in a secured covered run, so we were not very concerned about predators. If you want to add a door to this free chicken coop plan, you can use a piece of plywood the size of the door, split it down the middle, and attach each piece to either end of the door with hinges. A secure latch will make sure no predators enter. Just make sure you’ve left a way to clean out your coop. I see many for sale that look cute, but are impractical, and I often wonder how to clean a chicken coop with no sizeable door.
Framing the Roof
Using a miter saw, we angled 2 x 4 studs to 22 degrees, then attached them to a center beam with 4-inch wood screws to frame the roof. We screwed the studs from underneath the beam and upwards, angling the screws so they firmly attached to the 2 x 4’s. We also attached the roof to the walls by angling the screws downward and into the frame. An 8-inch overhang on each side ensures rain can easily slide off the roof without getting into coop, and it stays dry in stormy weather.
Adding Exterior Walls
Once the frame and roof were finished, we used ½-inch plywood cut into 5-foot by 5-foot squares to complete the exterior walls. Using 4-inch wood screws, we attached them every 4 inches to the studs. We intentionally left a 4-inch gap between the side walls and the roof to promote ventilation. Using stapes and a staple gun, you can add ½-inch hardware cloth to this gap to keep out chicken predators. We’ve found that because of the overhang, the wind doesn’t penetrate the coop in the winter, and it does not get very cold in our neck of the woods, making ventilation a bigger priority. We used hardware cloth and staples to close off the triangular gap over the door and the back of the coop. If you live in a cold area or object to the look, you can easily enclose it fully with plywood.
Completing the Roof
After the walls were complete, it was time to finish the roof. To protect our chickens from the elements, we used corrugated sheet metal for the roof, and purposely chose white so it reflected heat in summer. We attached the roof to the stud beams using metal roofing screws drilled directly into the studs every 3 inches.
At this point, what does a chicken coop need? You can add nesting boxes for your flock, as well as finish the exterior however you want. You can also add a roosting bar for them to rest on. Although there were a lot of steps, building a new home for our flock was relatively simple. Hopefully, you’ll have the same success we’ve had with this free chicken coop plan. You can read about how we use this coop for our chickens on my site, FrugalChicken.