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Rustic Victorian Sophistication Chicken Coop

Rustic Sophistication Coop Design - Tractor Supply Co.

Fish Scale Shingles and a Front Porch Add Victorian Class

The Victorian-inspired detailing on this coop may be time-consuming, but it is completely worth it. You can embellish the front of the coop with a porch, which helps the coop to look less utilitarian and more sophisticated, as much as a chicken coop can be sophisticated.

In terms of practicality, this coop offers great nest-box accessibility through a door on the side. The nest boxes and roosts are removable to facilitate cleanup. The materials for the coop pictured here were 100 percent recycled—even down to the secondhand shingles. The decorative columns that hold up the porch roof are reclaimed spindles from an old staircase.

If you build this coop off-site, you will need to transport it to its destination. Therefore, this coop is easy to take apart and reassemble.

1. Cut the legs to length.

Use a set of 4x4s for the legs (A). You can also use a single 8' (2400mm)-long 4x4 and cut it into sections.

2. Connect the legs and stretchers.

Put the 4x4s together with a series of horizontal stretchers. The side stretchers (B) are 38" (965mm) and the front/back stretchers (C) are 4' (1200mm). A project such as this doesn’t require fancy joinery—just lots of 3" (75mm) all-weather screws. Be sure to install the side stretchers (B) on the inside faces of the legs. This will keep the total depth of the coop the right size to fit the 48" (1220mm) sheet of plywood.

3. Install the floor platform.

Screw on the floor platform (D). The base for this coop resembles a table of sorts.

4. Construct the side walls.

Frame the side walls on the floor and then attach them to the base. This method makes it easy to assemble the parts without an assistant. To ensure a strong connection between the 2x2 “studs” (E, F), screw on square plates (G) made from scrap 1/4" (6mm) plywood. Verify that the wall panels are square. This pays off later by helping the entire coop fit together evenly.

5. Attach the side wall panel frames to the base.

Use 3" (76mm)-long screws so that the walls are securely connected to the beefy framing below the base’s surface. You could also apply wall sheathing prior to securing the walls to the base, but you’ll find it easier to screw the frames down when there is no sheathing in place.

6. Complete the side wall attachment.

Here’s a glimpse of the progress with the side wall framing in position.

7. Attach the front gable panel.

With the side walls framed up, connect them with a gable end panel (H). This lends considerable strength to the structure. The end panel isn’t a triangle, exactly. Make the panel’s bottom extend 4" (102mm) to provide a place to screw the panel to the framing. Use a set of inexpensive spring clamps to hold the whole thing together while you work.

8. Create shingle blanks.

One of the distinguishing features of this design is the shingle pattern on the front gable panel. This particular pattern requires two types of shingles: half-rounds and arrows. Start by cutting out a pile of 6" x 3" (152 x 75mm) blanks (I), and then make a template for the half-rounds. A compass set to a 3" (75mm) radius makes cutting all 50 easy.

9. Cut out the half-rounds.

Cut the shingles out on a band saw. To save time, you can stack up eight or nine blanks and hold them together with tape. This speeds things up considerably.

10. Cut out the arrows.

Cut out the arrows in the same way. Use a compass set to the same diameter and draw two arcs with the compass point set at the bottom corners of each blank.

11. Lay out the shingles.

Create the pattern by laying out rows of half-rounds and arrows, with the arrows shifted 1 1/2" (38mm) to the side.

12. Start attaching shingles to the gable.

To apply the shingles to the coop, draw a level line 2" (50mm) up the gable panel and use it to align the bottoms of the half-rounds.

13. Finish applying shingles.

Two rows of half-rounds create a diamond between them. Don’t worry about trimming the shingles on the end. You can trim them later on.

14. Trim the overhanging shingles.

You can save a lot of time and achieve a great result by simply scribing a line across the front of the shingles and cutting away the excess with a jigsaw.

15. Attach plywood to the side walls.

Stiffen the wall panels with the addition of 3/8" (8mm) plywood skins (J). Attach them with glue and screws.

16. Attach the back panel.

Attach the back panel (K) in the same way.

17. Develop the front porch.

This design features a front porch where the hens can hang out. Lay down 3/4" (19mm)-thick plywood (L) to help define this area. Then trim out the edges with mitered trim (M) to create a more finished-looking edge.

18. Rip the roof porch cleat.

Cover the front porch with a sloping shed-style roof. Attach the roof panel (O) to the coop by an angled cleat (N). Rip it at a 15° angle on a table saw so one long side has the appropriate angle. Attach it flush to the bottom of the front gable (H) with screws.

19. Attach the porch roof.

The roof should provide shade for the residents.

20. Install the porch supports.

To support the roof panel, use a pair of stair balusters (P). Fitting them into place is easy. Draw a line to indicate the intersection of the roofline and baluster, and cut away the excess on a chop saw. Make the angle 15°—the same as the top edge of the roof cleat.

21. Cut in a side window.

Extra window openings allow for healthy cross-ventilation. An old cabinet door with panes makes a nice window (Q). Cut out an opening to fit it and staple a layer of chicken wire over the top. If you don’t have a cabinet door like this, build one out of 2x4s or just leave the window screened and plain.

22. Attach the window covering.

You can attach the window covering with hinges along the top or bottom edge. Or you can simply screw it down like in the photo.

23. Attach the gable support.

The back wall of the coop needs a gable end panel (H) to help support the roof. To hold the gable in place, screw a scrap piece of OSB (R) onto the back wall with a few inches of surface area protruding above its top edge.

24. Screw in the gable panel.

The back gable panel (H) is a mirror image of the one at the front—minus the fancy trim.

25. Install the rafter.

Use a 2x4 (S) to connect the gables (H) at their peaks. This provides a good place to fasten the roof panels. This roof system is simple, but the spans are quite small, and the roof pitch is steep enough to shed snow readily.

26. Attach the roof panels.

The roof panels (T) are 3/8" (8mm) plywood. The total unsupported span is only 3' (900mm) across. As long as you sink plenty of screws sunk into the 2x4 (S) and 2x2 (F) framing at the top and bottom edges of the roof, it should not flex.

27. Attach the front door supports.

With the roof (T) in place, you can attach the doors (U). This coop uses an old set of kitchen cabinet doors. To make their odd size fit, attach vertical pieces of 3/4" (17mm) plywood (V) to the edges of the door opening. This also provides a sturdy place to screw down the hinges.

28. Attach the front doors.

The sloped roof prevents the doors from opening when they extended all the way up. This means you have to trim the doors so they will clear the front edge of the roof, leaving an approximately 4" (102mm) gap above the doors.

29. Cover the gap.

Cover up the gap with a 4" (102mm)-wide scrap (W).

30. Mark the last few shingles.

If you didn’t finish all of the shingle trim (I) prior to attaching the roof (T), you’ll need a different strategy for fitting the last few pieces into place. The method is straightforward: Measure the amount of vertical run on the adjacent shingle (in this case it was 2 1/2" [65mm]), and use that measurement to lay out the cut on the next shingle.

31. Cut the remaining shingles and attach them.

Put a mark 2 1/2" (65mm) up on the right-hand side of the next shingle, then hold it out along the front edge of the roof. Make sure it is plumb by looking past it to see that its side is parallel to the adjacent shingle. When you’re sure it is aligned, draw a diagonal line from right to left that mimics the slope of the roofline. Cut away the excess on a band saw, and it should fit nicely. You may need to try this a couple of times to get a feel for it, but if you have a good eye, this technique should work just fine.

32. Paint the front gable.

This coop includes a small sunrise motif (X) above the shingle trim. The sunrise motif requires a back panel (the front gable [H]), which you can paint blue.

33. Make and attach the sunrise overlay.

See the plans for the Sunny Side Up coop (steps 36-40) for the directions to make the sunrise overlay (X). It should attach smoothly and easily to this coop.

34. Create side doors.

The front porch of this coop might make it harder to reach inside and collect eggs. A door on the side provides easy access. Use a jigsaw to plunge-cut along the outline for the door. The cut-out should be perfectly usable; just add hinges and a latch. This is probably the easiest way to make a door.

35. Build the nest boxes.

The size of this coop—3' x 4' (900 x 1200mm), or 12 square feet (1.1 square meters)—dictates that it could comfortably house up to six chickens. Two nest boxes provides one nest box for three birds. Build the boxes by screwing and gluing three sides (Y) to one long top (Z).

36. Build the roosts.

These roosts are a fairly standard design—they’re quick to make, they’re sturdy, and they’re removable for easy cleanup. Just screw the roosts (AA) to the supports (BB). The parallel roosts offer a total of 75" (1905mm) of roosting space, which means there is just over 12" (305mm) of room for each bird—just a bit more than the recommended 8" to 10" (205 to 255mm) that most experts suggest.

37. Add the final touches.

With the coop nearly completed, you can focus on the aesthetics of a creative painting scheme. You may do this by trial and error, and end up repainting parts of a coop a couple of times to get the right look and feel. You have a lot of options for putting on a roof. As long as it is watertight and durable, you’ll be in good shape.