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Simply Salvaged Chicken Coop

Rustic Board-and-Batten Siding Complements This 3-Level Coop


This tall coop with a small footprint could fit in a yard where space is at a premium. Though floor plan measures just 2 1/2' x 3' (800 x 900mm), but it is roomy enough for about six birds. The interior is divided into three floors that are connected by a series of chicken ladders.

You can use reclaimed building materials on this coop. You should also plan for replacing the glass door with a screen door in the summer to allow better ventilation, and so your chickens have a cool place to sleep at night.

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. Frame the coop’s right side.

Frame this coop with 2x4s. Lay out the side profile first, beginning with the front leg (A) and the back leg (B). The span between them is 39" (990mm). The lower stretcher (C) is easy to set into place, but the upper one (D) requires angled cuts. Set your miter saw to 13° and cut the tops of the legs and the back edge of the rafter to neatly accommodate the sloped roof. Join the parts with 3" (75mm) all-weather deck screws.

2. Build the second side.

To make sure that the sides are mirror images of each other, build the second one on top of the first one. Then even if the first side is slightly out of square, the second side will be too and everything, therefore, should line up fine.

3. Attach siding to the right side.

Use 5/8" (16mm) fence pickets (E) (recycled, if possible) as siding for the coop. Attach them with screws, and don’t worry about small gaps of 1/16" (2mm) or 1/8" (3mm) between the slats. You’ll cover them later.

4. Mark the roofline.

It is easy to apply siding where the roof tapers using this trick: set the siding in place and then, while standing directly above it, use a ruler to draw a line where the top of the 2x4 runs. Remove the excess and the piece will fit fine.

5. Trim the excess siding.

This picture shows the siding trimmed to fit. After you screw it on, flip the completed side over and apply siding to the other side panel.

6. Install siding on the left side.

On the left side, you can use plywood for siding, or you could continue using fence planks (E). The plan for this coop is to have the chickens come and go through a small door on the left-hand side, so use a framing square to mark out a 1' x 1' (300 x 300mm) door.

7. Cut the doorway.

Use a jigsaw to cut out the doorway.

8. Paint the left side.

Paint the side before attaching the trim.

9. Attach the back panel.

Tilt up the two sides and screw on the back panel (F).

10. Attach the floor.

After you’ve attached the back, put the structure upright. With good access to the interior, put in the floor (G) next. Notch the floor panel to fit around the legs and rest securely on the 2x4s.

11. Attach the battens.

To create an interesting look, cover the joints between the pieces of siding with 1" (25mm) wide battens (H). This also creates a more airtight assembly.

12. Attach the roof panel.

The total width of the coop is only 30" (762mm). If you made the rafters (D) with strong timbers, it should be easy to build a strong roof (I). You can use an old hollow-core door or plywood.

13. Add trim to the left side.

When the paint has dried, trim out the left side of the coop (J). This is mostly aesthetic, but the trim around the doorway also provides a place to anchor hinges if you wish to add a door.

14. Make the door and attach it.

You can make the door (K) out of an old window or whatever material you have that fits.

15. Build the chicken ladder.

A standard-issue chicken ladder (L) will make it easy for the residents to come and go as they please.

16. Install the cleats.

The coop’s interior has three levels. Support each floor with a set of cleats (M) screwed to the walls of the coop. Put the first set of cleats 18" (458mm) from the bottom, and the second set at 30" (762mm).

17. Install the bottom platform.

Notch this panel (O) to fit around the posts in back—an easy task with a jigsaw or a sharp handsaw. Support the left front corner with a vertical 2x2 (N). Screwing a cleat along the left-hand side isn’t a good option because the siding is likely not thick enough to hold a screw.

18. Install the upper platform.

After the first level (O) is in place, position the next one (P) across from it. You can position the upper platform elsewhere if you think it works better.

19. Build the nest boxes.

The coop holds a row of three nest boxes (Q) on the bottom floor. The top side of the nest boxes also provides a place for chickens to walk around, so there’s no loss of usable floor space.

20. Build the interior chicken ladders.

A series of chicken ladders (L)—custom-sized for each spot—helps the birds hop around between the different levels.

21. Make the roost.

Because it is built as a freestanding unit, this roost can be removed for cleaning. Screw the two 30" (762mm)-long bars (R) into plywood sides (S). This provides 5' (1500mm) of total roosting space—enough for six chickens if you apply a standard of 10" (255mm) per bird.

22. Position the roost.

You can put the roosts at the top of the coop, which might be the warmest spot in the winter. In the summer, the birds might prefer roosting outdoors.

23. Complete the coop.

This coop has siding (E) all the way down to the bottom on the right-hand side. You could cover this area with chicken wire if you choose. You can attach a run to the coop. This coop’s fuchsia color on some of the elements adds a little character. You may not want to cover up all of the natural wood tones, though; it actually looks better with a bit of contrast. Add stamps, shape cut-outs, and whatever else you’d like!