Raising chickens has grown in popularity in recent years, and a lot of folks are looking for instructions on how to build a chicken coop. This coop, designed and built by Natalie Dalpais of The Creative Mom has to be one of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s practical, with several features to make cleaning and egg gathering easier. And perhaps best of all, it actually looks attractive! It looks like a classic barn with a raised center aisle roof.
We have the instructions here, along with plenty of helpful photos. Plus, we have the chicken coop plans and building instructions in downloadable form so you can print them out. (You’ll see a link in the Supplies Needed section below.)
My family and I live in a little farm town. We are not farmers, not even close, but sometimes we like to pretend that we are. Like when we got baby chicks a few years ago when we were totally unprepared to raise chickens and built a very humble chicken coop (more like lean-to). I’ve been slightly embarrassed by our lean-to coop for some time now, so I decided to take matters into my own hands (and my dad’s very capable hands too) and build a chicken coop we can be proud of. This coop is no lean-to! It’s SUPER sturdy (sturdy enough that my kids thought it was a fun playhouse to play in until we put the chickens in).
It’s also pretty large. It’s about 32 square feet, and can easily fit up to 12 chickens.
We’ve been raising chickens in our lean-to coop for a few years now, so we’ve learned a thing or two about what a good chicken coop should be like. Before we build, here’s what we’ve learned.
1. Make an Easy-to-Access Nesting Box
First up on our list was an easy-to-access nesting box. The whole reason we have chickens is to get fresh eggs everyday. So our nesting box was one of our top priorities.
Taking care of our chickens is primarily our son’s responsibility. It’s been really good for him to learn how to care for animals and take responsibility for them. But, since we have a little boy collecting the eggs everyday, we knew we needed to make the nesting box easily accessible for him.
We added a prop to hold the roof open, which I will show you how to build later on. And, we added a little hook to the side of the laying box so he can hang his basket up while he gathers his eggs. It’s hard for a little boy (or anyone for that matter) to hold a basket and put the eggs in too. This little hook will save us a lot of cracked eggs.
2. Make It Easy to Clean
Another item on our priority list is making the coop easy to clean. So when we were designing the plans for our coop, we decided to have one whole side fold down.
Let me tell you from experience, there is nothing worse than having to basically climb in the coop to get it clean. With the side folded down, we can easily scoop all the yucky stuff out of the coop and laying box without getting too deep into it.
Since the side folds down, we had to also build our coop up off the ground a little bit. This is good to keep water, bugs and critters out of the coop that shouldn’t be in there. Plus, the chickens don’t seem to mind. They like hanging out in the shade under the coop, and spend most of their day under there.
3. It Must Have Good Ventilation
We left a little space under the eaves to allow for air circulation. That way the coop won’t be too hot and stuffy for the chickens all summer.
4. Make it Attractive
And the last item on my list was that I wanted a CUTE coop. Since this building is going to be in our backyard, I wanted something I wouldn’t mind looking at. And this cute red coop, with white trim is so quaint and charming. It has a raised aisle roof, like you see on many classic barns. I just love it.
And so do our chickens.
Now you know how awesome this chicken coop is, I bet you want to build your own. Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through every step of the way.
- Chicken Coop Plans with Cut List (click here to download the plans)
- 2 – 4-in. x 4-in. posts
- 9 – 2-in. x 4-in. (96-in.)
- 10 – 2-in. x 2-in. (96-in.)
- 4 – Sheets Plywood Siding (4-ft. x 8-in.)
- 1 – 72-in. Piano Hinge
- 1- 30-in. Piano Hinge
- 3 – Sheets ¼-in. OSB Plywood (4-ft. x 8-ft.)
- 12- 2-in. x 4-in. Fence Brackets
- 1- 2-in. x 8-in. (6 ft.)
- 15- 1-in. x 2-in. (96 in.) for trim
- Exterior paint (in red and white)
- Roofing of your choice (we used dark green metal)
- 2½-in. screws
- 2 – Window Bolts
- Hook for your basket
- Miter Saw
- Impact Driver
- Brad Nailer
- Reciprocating Saw
- Circular Saw or Table Saw (to cut your plywood)
- Kreg Jig (optional)
- Measuring Tape
- Safety Glasses
- Ear Protection
How to Build This Chicken Coop
Step 1 – Build the Frame End Pieces and Floor
Start by cutting your 4 x 4’s (50½ in. on short side of angle) with a 30-degree angle on top. Attach your 2 x 4 (41 in.) cross braces with fence brackets. You will build two of these for the ends.
After you’ve got your ends built, you will hook them together with 2 x 4 (85 in.) stretchers, and a 2 x 4 (45 in.) across the middle to support the chicken coop floor.
You can just screw the middle 2 x 4 onto the side board with grabber screws. No bracket is needed there.
Step 2 – Add the Plywood Floor
You will need to trim a bit off one end, making it 92 in. x 48 in. After it’s cut to size, you will use a reciprocating saw and cut 3½ in. x 3½ in. notches in the corners to fit around your 4 x 4 corner posts.
Put the plywood in place and then staple the plywood down to the 2 x 4’s.
Step 3 – Add Supports
Now you’ll add 2 x 2 horizontal (85 in. on the sides and 41 in. on the ends) and vertical (19 in.) supports to the sides. We used brackets to attach our 2 x 4’s, but we will attach our 2 x 2’s using pocket holes. You can create pocket holes using a Kreg Jig, or you can freehand pocket holes with a drill.
We will also add 2 (19 in.) vertical 2 x 2’s on the front end (3 in. in from each side), these will support our nesting box later (see plans below). Remember, if you are screwing through a 2 x 2, you’ll want to pre-drill your hole so you don’t split the wood.
At this point, you should have something that looks pretty close to this image above.
Step 4 – Frame the Upper Walls
Next, you’ll frame your upper walls, using horizontal 2 x 2’s (89 in.) and vertical 2 x 4’s (13 in. for the center and 14½ in. cut at 30 degrees for the ends.) Please note: the plans below show vertical 2 x 2’s instead of 2 x 4’s, like I used. Just use what you have, either way should work fine.) Use grabber screws to attach the upper frame to your lower frame.
Then, you’ll add your 2 x 2 roof “trusses”:
- 4- 18-in. 2 x 2’s
- 4- 14½-in. 2 x 2’s
- 2- 14½-in. 2 x 4’s
- 2- 18-in 2 x 4’s)
All the angles are 30 degrees (except the bottom of the middle 2 x 4’s- see plans), and the roof supports overhang about an inch on the bottom. See plans below for dimensions.
Simply attach your roof supports to your 4 x 4 posts and your vertical 2 x 4’s with grabber screws.
You can see in the photo above where I used 2 x 4’s for the vertical upper walls, but as I mentioned, the plans call for 2 x 2’s. Either should work fine.
Your roof “trusses” are 2 x 2’s on each end, and a 2 x 4 in the middle. Since our roof pitch is 30 degrees, we will cut one end of the 2 x 2 boards at 30 degrees and leave the other end square.
The middle 2 x 4 is cut a little different, with 30 degrees on one end, and 60 degrees on the other end, with ½ in. left square. This, and the same piece for the upper roof, are the only angled cuts in the entire roof that aren’t 30 degrees. Make sure to check the plans for specific instructions on these cuts.
And, you’ll do the same thing on the top. 2 x 2’s on the outer edges, and a 2 x 4 in the middle. The angled pieces are connected using pocket holes and screws. Or you could use a mending plate to keep your trusses together.
Step 5 – Framing the Hinged Sides
Now that we have our roof taken care of, we have one more little piece to add to the puzzle before we’re all framed. This 2 x 4 is where the hinge for the side attaches.
Using a reciprocating saw, you’ll cut a 3½-in. square notch on each end of the 2 x 4, and screw it in place right below the floor support.
Once we have that 2 x 4 in place, we are all done framing (except for the nesting box), and it’s starting to look like a chicken coop!
Step 6 – Attach the Siding
After everything is framed, we will add our plywood siding. I cut all my plywood siding to size before I used a brad nailer to attach it to my coop. We are only attaching the front, back, and one side for now. We will attach the side that opens up later.
I’ve included all my dimensions in my plans, but you may want to double check your plywood siding dimensions before you cut it. Remember all the angles on the roof are 30 degrees.
Step 7 – Create Siding for Hinged Side
For our side that hinges down, we will put together two pieces of plywood siding (45 in. x 23 in. each). Then we will frame the OUTSIDE with our 1 x 2 trim. The finished dimensions will be 23 in. x 90 in., which is slightly smaller than our other side. It will be smaller to allow for the side to hinge down.
Set it aside until you are ready to paint. Or, if you think ahead, you might want to paint the siding before you attach the trim to the outside.
Step 8 – Attach the Plywood Roof
Your coop is taking shape!
Step 9 – Attach the Nesting Box
Your nesting box frame will be mainly 2 x 2’s, with a 2 x 4 on the open edge, which is where it will attach to your chicken coop, and where you’ll screw on your hinge for your nesting box roof. All of our angles on our nesting box are all 20 degrees. (Not to be confused with all the 30 degree angles in the actual coop).
Cut the plywood siding and staple it onto your frame. You will notice the sides of the nesting box are notched out. We will use that notch to slide the nesting box into the hole in the coop, and attach the plywood siding sides to the inside of the 2×2’s we already have in place on the front wall of the coop.
This is what the nesting box looks like when it’s all ready to attach to the coop. But we won’t attach it until everything is painted.
Step 10 – Paint the Chicken Coop
Go ahead and get everything painted. I used Behr Marquee outdoor paint.
You’ll also want to paint your 1 x 2 trim boards before you start trimming. I used the same outdoor paint, Behr Marquee, in white.
Step 11 – Add the Nesting Box
Once everything is painted, you can add our nesting box. You will cut a hole in the front of your coop for your nesting box to attach to the coop.
I cut the hole in the plywood siding using my reciprocating saw.
Once again, you’ll want to double check your measurements, but my hole for the nesting box was 19 in. x 32½ in.
You’ll want the nesting box to rest on the floor and frame of your chicken coop. So make sure you cut your nesting box 3¾ in. from the bottom (3½ in. for the 2 x 4, and ¼ in. for the plywood floor).
Once you have your nesting box in place, screw the 2 x 4 on the nesting box to the chicken coop using grabber screws.
The view from the inside shows how the nesting box attaches to the chicken coop frame. You want to screw the plywood to your frame so the nesting box is sturdy.
Step 12 – Add the Roof to the Nesting Box
After your nesting box is securely attached to your coop, you’ll add the roof, which will hinge open.
The roof is regular plywood, 33½ in. x 18½ in.
Screw your piano hinge onto the edge of your roof first, then attach to your nesting box. (Note: the photo below was taken after I added the trim, which will come in a few steps.)
I also added this 2 x 2, with a 20 degree angled end to prop the roof open while we are gathering eggs. I screwed it on with a grabber screw that I didn’t tighten all the way, so the board had freedom to hinge up and down.
Step 13 – Add the Fold Down Side
Once our nesting box is complete, we can attach the side that folds down. I bet you were wondering if we were ever going to put that piece on… well, now’s the time!
You might need a helper to hold the side up in place while you screw the piano hinge on. Screw a couple of screws in, then hinge it up and make sure it’s straight before you finish screwing in all the rest of the screws.
Step 14 – Trim the Chicken Coop
This was my favorite part of the whole build, because it added so much personality to the chicken coop and made it look really cute! And we’ve already determined that cute matters!
Like I mentioned above, I used regular 1 x 2’s for my trim. I painted them before I cut them. I’m not going to include trim measurements, because if your trim is off by even ¼ in. it makes a big difference. So just measure as you go.
When you’re attaching your trim on, make sure you are flush and level on the corners and edges. For the corners, I stapled one edge on, then made sure my other corner piece fit right up against it, so there wasn’t any overhang.
After everything is trimmed out, we can add a few finishing touches. Like these window bolts to hold the door up. I added one on each side. You will also notice that I painted the edges of my plywood roof and my roof “trusses” that will be exposed. I also painted my 4 x 4 legs. Not only does this make everything more waterproof, it’s also a lot cuter painted white!
Step 15 – Add the Ramp
I also added a ramp for the chickens to get into the coop. I cut a hole (about 10 x 10 in.) in the back of the coop, 3¾ in. from the bottom. I used a 6 ft. long 2 x 8, and stapled scrap pieces every 5 inches to create the ramp. Then I painted it with my white outdoor paint. Add a 1 x 2 under the ramp to support it, then screw a 4 in. grabber screw at an angle through the ramp, into the support pieces.
Step 16 – Add the Roofing Material
The last step is to add your roofing. We chose to use metal roofing, because the cost isn’t much more than shingles, but we loved the ease of installing and durability. The color we chose is Evergreen.
And that’s it. You’re done! Now get yourself some chickens and pretend like you’re a real farmer!
Natalie Dalpais describes herself as “a crafting, DIY-ing, decorating, Photoshopping, handy-woman.” Her blog, The Creative Mom, has tons of fun and useful tutorials and inspiration.
If you liked this project, please be sure to check out some of other projects by Natalie on The Home Depot Blog. Take a look at the other DIY projects we have here on the blog, including more projects from Natalie.
Browse the several types of chicken coops available at The Home Depot, too.