September 24, 2007

Building a chicken coop

I'd been planning since July to take a week off and build a coop for our chickens, but that week never arrived, and it's getting cold now. I finally broke down and bought a Chick-N-Barn kit. The kit was easy to assemble, requiring only about a half hour's work with a screwdriver. The more difficult part, of course, was preparing the site, and adding a few missing parts, especially a floor, to the kit.

Coop parts on the porch.
Chicken coop parts on the porch.

Installing the floor - hardware cloth - was probably the hardest part of this project, making me very glad that I had a pneumatic stapler readily available. If I hadn't had that, I probably would have built some kind of separate floor frames, which (probably) would have had the advantage of being removable for cleaning. I filled the area under the coop with mulch and soil, in the hopes that whatever the chickens push through over the winter will help enrich that with compost. I'll shovel it out in spring.

I also added some latches to the coop doors, hoping to keep raccoons, foxes, and other predators away. The coop seems very sturdy, and should keep the chickens in and other creatures out, but I wanted a bit of extra insurance.

Coop, assembled.
The assembled coop in place.

We've been referring to this coop as the chickens' "winter palace", replacing the simple fenced-in area with plastic table that they'd enjoyed since June. That yard is now empty, waiting for next year's chicks. Supposedly the coop will hold ten chickens, though it seems a bit tight to me even for the five we have now. I guess I've just gotten used to seeing them in a bigger area.

Chickens in their new home.
Chickens exploring their new coop.

If you're interested in more construction detail, I've posted a photo gallery of the building process.

Next year's major home chicken project will be a lot of fencing, to give the chickens access to parts of the garden - like the compost heap - where they're welcome - while keeping predators away.

Posted by simon at September 24, 2007 5:50 PM in ,
Note on photos


Kelly said:

Did the chickens become cleaner (like pooping in their food & water) after keeping them in the cage for a while?

Angelika said:

No, unfortunately, they're still pretty good at aiming everywhere I'd rather not have them pooping. - However, last month they finally figured out their roosting bar and that keeps them from sitting (and pooping) on top of their water bottle all the time.

bob said:

Gerat info. I would like a view at the front and other side of the coop though.

bob wandtke said:

was this a kit you purchased and if so could you tell me where?


It was a kit. You can get them lots of places, including Ithaca Agway,, and My Pet Chicken. (Sometimes the coop and yard are sold together, sometimes separately.)

Justin said:

Is it hard to clean out the coop? It seems like the only way in is through the openings in the roof. Do you suggest maybe constructing some sort of removable floor?

Angelika said:

Cleaning the coop from the opened roof is easy. I use a little rake, 3 feet long, with which I can easily reach the corners of the coop. - I had never had any difficulties, except one time, when a chicken jumped up and bit my nose.

Dr Mike Tobias said:

I want to kill a chicken and eat em. How do I prepare a chicken which is in th coop for my feast.


Joe said:

wow.. it's weird i stumbled upon your page today.. i am looking for something similar for chickens.. thanks for the links. I live in LaFayette!

At Ware Manufacturing we feel that our consumers are our greatest resource. A consumer gave me this link and I have passed it on to many folks looking to upgrade their Chick-n-Barn and Chick-N-Yard. You have done a terrific job. Thank you for your loyalty to the Ware Product line.

liz said:

is this coop too small to put a 50watt infrared lamp in for the winter. I'm not sure where to hang it so it won't be hazardous to chickens

I don't think an infrared lamp would work - chickens jump around all of it. We used a ceramic heating plate to keep their water warm this winter, and that was fine.

Melissa said:

I am so happy to have stumbled on your blog! I am thrilled because I was looking for exactly this information!

mm said:

hi ummm can you tell me were you brought the barn kit or the chicken kit cuz i have chickens and i really want to get a new coop for it plus it doesn't even have one or maybe you can tell me something easer to build a chicken coop ok bye thnx plz tell me! I LOVE ANIMALZZ!

Ariel Evnine said:

Does anyone know if having a hardware cloth (or chicken wire) floor is dangerous for the chickens' claws? I would like to do this but was advised against it as the chickens like to scratch and might catch their claws on the mesh. Anyone?

rellis said:

Simon, how well did this Chik-n-Barn weather for you? Mine was a disaster; it warped so badly that it unnailed itself and basically fell apart. I wonder if they're all like that, or if I got a bad one that missed the weatherproofing stage in the factory.

Please contact me to resolve any issues you may have with your barn (if you have not already done so). We want our consumers to be happy.

Ed said:

I have the Chick-N-Cabin and it was one of the best 'easy to assemble'experiences I ever had. The website for Ware Manufacturing refers to their designs as predator-proof. I have been thinking about supplementing the "heart" locks. The only reason I can figure (besides it looks 'cute') that they use that design is that the heart sits very smooth and flush against the side of the coop. Hence there is little for the raccoon to grab a hold of and manipulate. My bit of extra insurance (my chicks are still to young to go in my newly built coop) is that I'm planning on putting in a concrete floor (with pine shavings on top) and surround the edges with 12" x 12" paver blocks around the coop and the premium chick-n-pen as well. I'm also playing with the notion of installing a small single-wire electric fence around the 'complex'. I have racoons, skunks, and possums in my area and am trying to do all I can to insure a positive result. :0)

Daniel said:

Hi, love your chic-n-barn kit. But it doesn't come with floors, isn't it?


Chicken coop plans

Nope, no floors. That was okay - I just stapled wire there, and it's held up as well as any of the rest.