View Full Version : Inexpensive chicken coops
Mar. 14, 2012, 12:40 PM
Any ideas for buying or building an inexpensive chicken coop for 2-4 chickens? My friend has a bunch of baby chicks and I'd like to have some hens for the eggs, but the prices of the coops seems really expensive to me and I don't want to pay those prices...if you have pictures or links to someplace reasonable, would love it! Thanks.
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:05 PM
I built mine using a mobile home stair set (4x4) as the indoor coop part. Cut the legs down, added plywood to the side and a sheet of asphalt roofing. I little door cut out of one side with the little ladder going to it from the outside coop. Outside coop is 2x4's and chicken wire with another sheet of roofing over half of it for shade. I did build a door on both the inside and outside coops.
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:11 PM
Check out "chicken tractors." They are inexpensive to build, and they are sold for about $80 - $200 depending on size here in Georgia. :)
Mar. 14, 2012, 01:42 PM
It's not hard to use 'found' materials for the bulk of their home and run (or, you can skip the run and close them up at night, but run a bigger risk of losing them to hawks, dogs, etc during the day). The big expense is the chicken mesh, and enough of it to keep predators out (including digging under). Also, if it freezes where you are, they'll need insulation and/or a heat source since that's not many birds to huddle together to stay warm.
Mar. 14, 2012, 02:04 PM
Old dog house, old kids plastic playhouse (screen in the windows), small lamb warming huts. Chickens don't need external heat sources if you give them a draft-free place to roost.
Check BYC (Backyard Chickens) website for more options on housing chickens w/o breaking the bank. Lots of info there.
Mar. 14, 2012, 04:19 PM
I should probably clarify: A snug, insulated place they can cuddle up and keep warm with body heat (and that really isn't a lot of chickens giving off body heat) or a heat source if it's going to get very cold.
My dad was fixing someone's barn a couple winters ago. They had a few chickens in one of those plastic 'igloo' dog houses. Something made dad check on the chickens one day. The poor things had frozen to death, and the temp was only in the 20's.
Mar. 14, 2012, 05:15 PM
Keep your eye on Craig's List and Freecycle. While they aren't often free on CL, ours was free if we could get it out of their back yard. It was a royal pain, but free is a very good price!
You can also make an excellent coop using wood pallets. If you have a barn or shed, you already have one wall and can make a lean-to.
I've seen photos of coops made from truck canopies and oldstyle satellite dishes...free if you don't mind that Beverly Hillbillies touch.
Mar. 14, 2012, 05:54 PM
I have 6 hens, 1 rooster in an 18X20ish metal garden shed retrofitted for poultry - I added roosts & nestboxes.
Coop has no insulation, no heat source except for the heated waterbowl & a 40W bulb I need to feed in the dark mornings.
The shed is nowhere near airtight - there are leaks, but it is not drafty.
Ventilation is necessary to avoid frostbite and respiratory problems for the chickens "cooped up" in bad weather.
I'm in the Midwest and chickens have lived through 3 Winters with temps that got well below zero F last year (mild Winter this year).
Lined up on the roosts, they seemed to keep warm nicely through the worst of it.
No frostbite, no damage to their health and they laid through the 1st 2 Winters (everyone moulted this Fall and they are just getting back into production mode now).
My few girls & guy seem to produce enough body heat even in bitter cold to be comfy.
Remember: they are wearing little down jackets 24/7/365 - heat is harder on them than cold.
Mar. 14, 2012, 09:19 PM
A hoop coop is quick and easy and doesn't cost much. Build a frame about 6 or 8 feet wide and length should be increments of 4 feet. Then you use fence/stock panels bent with the ends inside the frame. Add a tarp on one end then welded wire over that. It keeps the tarp tight. Finish the rest by covering with wire so the chickens can't get out.
I use a piece of fence panel on both ends as doorways. But building a frame with a door is easy enough.