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34 DIY Chicken Coop Plans & Ideas that are Easy to Build (100% Free)

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If you stumbled upon this article, there's a high chance that you're new to raising chickens and looking to build a chicken coop by yourself. Not buying a pre-fabricated one.

You made the right decision, building a chicken coop isn't really that hard.

But there's one thing...

...you need a detailed plan to build one.

This is extremely important especially if you don't have any experience in building something like this before.

There are a lot of free chicken coop plans on the internet. In fact, BackyardChicken alone (one of the biggest online chicken owner communities) has more than 3,000 of them, submitted by the members.

But, the problem is, not all of them are good enough to follow.

While I'm browsing the collection a few weeks ago, among those 3,000 ideas only like 10% of them are realistically can be built by beginners. Most of them are either too hard to build or don't have detailed plans.

That's why I created this article.

I gathered 34 of the best-looking, easiest-to-build, or the cheapest chicken coop plan available so YOU too can build it by yourself.

A few things before we start...

A coop isn't just a shelter, it's a house where your chickens live. Just like a human's house, the happiness and healthiness of your chickens highly influenced by the coop.

That's why it's important to know these things before you build one.

I'll try to keep it short.

1. Decide the size of your coop

As a general rule of thumb, 1 chicken needs 3-4 square feet of space of coop. So if you're planning to have 3, then you'll need 12 square foot coop (3x4, 6x2, or bigger).

​However, if they're cooped all the time, you need > 10 feet for each bird.

If the space is too small, your chickens will not be happy. The coop will get smelly real fast, your chicken will be stressed out, they will start pecking each other, they get sick, and eventually die.

You can actually have less than 3 square feet per chicken, BUT they must be outdoor most of the time.

For smaller bantam breeds, you'll only need 2 square feet instead of 4.

2. Decide the location

Consider these factors when choosing location for your chicken coop:

  1. Sunshine and shade - your flock needs natural sunlight, but not all day
  2. Wind - a nice flow of air is good, but avoid places exposed to strong wind. Under a tree is often a good place for reason number 1 & 2
  3. Ease of access - you'll need to check the coop 2 times per day or more, make sure it's easily accessible
  4. Smell and noise - don't locate it too close to your house, or your neighbor's

Pro tips: Don't decide a location right away, monitor the area for at least 1 week to make sure there's no major problem.

3. Plan the coop

Your coop isn't just a wall and roof to protect your chickens, there are things on the inside (and outside) to keep your chickens alive and healthy. Here are a few important things to plan.

Must-have:

  1. Nesting box - this is where your hens will lay their eggs. You need to have at least 1 box per 2 hens with the size of 12x12x12 inches and about 10-20 inches above the ground
  2. Windows/ventilation - your chicken will get sick easily if there's no light and proper ventilation
  3. Feeder and waterer - obviously

Nice-to-have:

  1. Perch area - chickens love to sleep on perch
  2. The run - in the addition to the shelter, an outdoor fenced area is important to keep your chickens happy
  3. Dust bath box - chickens need to clean themselves with dust to stay healthy
  4. Poop boards - place it below perching area, it'll save you a lot of time cleaning the coop
  5. Lighting - in the winter, warm lights can boost egg production

That's the basic, but not everything. I can't go too in-depth in this article, otherwise, the whole page would become too long.

If this is the first time you're raising chickens, I highly suggest you to read these guides first:

Collection of 50+ guides on raising chickens from the experts.

Everything you need to know about building chicken coop is in this book.

Chicken coop building guide + plans. First timers should read this.

One last thing before we move on. You can't build a chicken coop with an empty hand; you need the tools, materials, and the supplies. You can get them here:

  1. Get the tools
  2. Get the supplies​

And that's all you need to know...now you're ready to build a chicken coop.


34 Free Chicken Coop Plans

1. Urban Chicken Coop

This raised chicken coop is perfect if you don't have a big area or if you're not raising too many chickens in your flock. You can see by the image that while it's beautiful, it seems really easy to build. Well, it is! The best thing about this one is that Lynda included a well-designed infographics on how to build the coop.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 3

Capacity

5 chickens

1 chicken needs 3-4 square feet of space

Difficulty

(more stars = harder to build)



2. Natalie's Chicken Coop Plan

If I were to rank this coop based on the details, this would be one of the top ranked. While this is not the easiest to build, Natalie wrote every single material needed to build this coop. Along with nice 3D image from SketchUp. It's not the easiest, but you won't have any problem building it as long as you downloaded the PDF file from her blog.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 3.5

Capacity

7 chickens

Difficulty


Building A Chicken Coop (Guide + Plans)

This is THE all-in-one resources for chicken coop builders. Make sure you check this out first if you want to build the coop that won't slowly 'kill' your chicken. Also, there's a collection of chicken coop plans in any size with great step-by-step instructions, complete with illustrations and material list.

And there's more. You will learn how to find the cheapest materials so you may not need to spend a single penny to build a coop.


16,000 Woodworking Plans

16,000! No, that's not a typo​.

To be fair, though, not all of them are chicken coops. There are also plans for barn, cabin, desk & chair, planter, dog house, compost bin, and every other imaginable woodworking plans. Some of them are chicken coops, that's why I included it to this list.

With Ted's woodworking plans, you're all set.

You'll never have to search for other DIY plans on Google. Heck, you might not even need to scroll to the bottom of this page, which kinda make me sad.


3. The Palace Chicken Coop

In addition to the coop itself, it has a run large enough so each chicken will get around 10 sqft area. Just by looking at the image, you can know that "The Palace" is sturdy. It looks so professional it makes you wonder if you can build it yourself. Don't worry, even Jaden and Scott who aren't architects can design and build it by themselves.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 4 for the shelter

Capacity

6 chickens

Difficulty


4. The South City Coop

You won't believe if I say this is Rick's first ever major building project, but it is. If Rick can build this, you can too. South City Coop is ideal if you don't want your coop and run to take much space because the shape is long to the side and not wide to the front. Lastly, it has so many windows and ventilation so you don't have to worry about lighting and air circulation.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 3

Capacity

5 chickens

Difficulty

5. Free Chicken Coop Plan by BarnGeek

The guys at BarnGeek said that this exact chicken coop is being sold for $2,000, but they managed to build it for free with leftover lumbers from another project. The biggest plus of this plan is the ease of access, you can gather eggs, feed, and water your chickens without hassle.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 4

Capacity

6 chickens

Difficulty


6.Trictle's Chicken Coop

Look at that cute little chicken house. You don't have to worry of your flock getting cold in the winter, you don't have to give it additional heater, this coop will give your chickens enough heat by itself. By the way, it's raised from the ground. That means extra protection from predators, safe from flooding, and cooler on the summer.

Dimensions (feet)

4 x 4

Capacity

4 chickens

Difficulty


7. 7 Free Plans by Backyard Farming

Not one, not two, but seven. 4 plans for the coop from small, medium, to large. 1 automatic waterer, 1 feeder, and 1 nest boxes plans. I don't exactly know how but Angela from Backyard Farming said that these plans are provided by universities (University of Tennessee and North Dakota Agricultural College) so I won't have any doubt for the structures.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 6 -- 11 x 12

Capacity

17 -- 33 chickens

Difficulty


8. My6Chick's Chicken Coop

It has removable roosts, door sweep, electricity for heated water feeder, lights, IR Chick-cam, and good ventilation. Basically, everything you need (and want) in a coop. This chicken coop can be attached to a run, although the plan for the run itself is not included here.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4

Capacity

8 chickens

Difficulty


9. Pallet Palace Chicken Coop

Pallets are like treasures for homesteaders, it's often free and you can build anything with it. If you can get pallets easily (which it is) then you might be able to build this coop for almost $0, no cost (other than the optional paint job). The size of Pallet Palace is rather big, but you can easily adjust it by the number of pallets if you don't have too many chickens.

Dimensions (feet)

16 x 8

Capacity

32 chickens

Difficulty



10. Easy Chicken Coop

The name doesn't lie, it does look easy. The guys at MyOutdoorPlans said that you can build this coop in just one day even if you haven't built anything before. By the way, they have a plan for nesting box too.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 4

Capacity

6 chickens

Difficulty


11. Judy's Free Pallet Chicken Coop

Another chicken coop made of pallets that you can possibly build for free. Judy said that she saved about $1,000 in lumbers by using pallets. The difference between Judy's plan and Pallet Palace is that Judy disassembled it first before using the pallet for materials. Extra work, but the result is better than if you don't disassemble it.

Dimensions (feet)

7 x 7

Capacity

12 chickens

Difficulty


12. BuildEazy Chicken Coop

BuildEazy is a website that gives people free woodworking plans. They have hundreds of free plans available. If you want, you can buy the plans for just $5 to download the printable files. Anyway, in this chicken coop plan, they explained step by step from the material list, floor elevation plan, up to installing the roof. Perfect for a beginner who doesn't have any idea where they should begin.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 6

Capacity

9 chickens

Difficulty


13.Wire Spools Chicken Coop

This one has a unique shape...but not only that. While it's not the most beautiful-looking coop, it's free to build (well, almost) and it doesn't take much space. I mean, look at the image, it's vertical unlike the other plans in this article. One thing, though. This coop is originally made for bantam breeds. However, if you want to, you can make it a little bit wider. And you shouldn't keep the chickens inside for the whole day.

Dimensions (feet)

N/A

Capacity

2 chickens (bantam)

Difficulty


14. Chicken Coop Plans by Home Depot

There's no way you don't know who Home Depot is, they're the pros when in comes to home improvement. In this chicken coop plan, they listed every material needed and how to buy them (from their own store, obviously). They even made a two part videos just so you can understand it better.

Dimensions (feet)

4 x 3

Capacity

3 chickens

Difficulty


15. Farmer Kitty's Coop

If you want a chicken coop that can literally be built in a few hours, this one's for you. The owner of this coop, Farmer Kitty (it's his/her username on BYC), is raising chickens but only for a few months in a year. That's why she/he built this super simple chicken coop because building a complicated and expensive one would be a waste.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4

Capacity

8 chickens

Difficulty


16. Shed Chicken Coop

Ana created this chicken coop plan for his friend, Whitney, who managed to build it in 30 hours in 4 days with only 3 people working on it. In this post, Ana listed every tool, material (and the size), and the 3D SketchUp pictures that you'll need to build the coop.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4

Capacity

8 chickens

Difficulty


17. Permanent Hoop Coop

It uses curvy roofing not only to look good, there are 3 benefits on using them. First, heat transmission. Curved roof is getting more direct sun rays compared to a flat roof, so your coop will be warmer in the winter. Second, it's significantly sturdier, especially when it comes to strong winds. And third, it's much easier to build, lay the foundation, install the roof, and you're done.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 8 for the shelter

​8 x 16 in total

Capacity

16 chickens

Difficulty


18. PVC Chicken Coop

Think about it, PVC is inexpensive, durable, and easy to assemble. It's a perfect alternative to woods as material for chicken coop structures. You don't have to cut or nail anything if you're building a coop with this plan. When you've downloaded the PDF files from this site (there are 3 designs) you'll realize that it's really easy to build.

Dimensions (feet)

4 x 4 for the shelter

​10 x 9 in total

Capacity

4 chickens

Difficulty


TRIXIE Chicken Coop with Outdoor Run

Okay...okay... this one isn't free.

If you're overwhelmed by the list or if you really don't have any idea where to start, I think it'd be a wise decision just to buy a ready-use chicken coop. TRIXIE has more than 10 plans with various size and capacity, from 8 feet square up to 26.

Here's the best part: most of them are under $200, so if you don't have the materials and tools ready, it could be much cheaper this way.

Dimensions (feet)

3.5 x 2.25 up to 10 x2.25

Capacity

2 up to 6 chickens

Difficulty


19. Harriet's House

A guy named Karl Caden have more than 100 of chicken coop plans for sale in different styles and sizes, but he's giving you this one for free as a sample. Don't get it wrong, just because it's free doesn't mean it's bad...it's really good. Give it a try, maybe you'll be interested in his other designs too.

Dimensions (feet)

12 x 3

Capacity

9 chickens

Difficulty


20. Kevin's Chicken Tractor

If you don't know yet, a chicken tractor is basically a portable chicken coop that can be moved easily around your yard. Why build a portable instead of permanent coop? There are 2 reasons for this. The first one is because chickens are good for your garden, they produce natural fertilizer, and they eat pests and weeds. Second, if they stay too long on one place, that area will become smelly.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4 in total

Capacity

4 chickens

Difficulty


21. The Kerr Center Chicken Tractor

Another chicken tractor plan, this time from The Kerr Center. It's bigger than the previous one and the shelter is raised from the ground. Although this is a portable tractor, you can also use it as a permanent coop.

Dimensions (feet)

5 x 2.5 for the shelter

10 x 5 in total

Capacity

3 chickens

Difficulty


22. Robb's Backyard Chicken Coop

One of the most popular chicken coop plans in Instructables with over 500 favorites and 700,000 views. Robb said the design was inspired by some barns in Kansas. It looks really easy to build and only costs about $40. By the way, Robb shared some of his knowledge about chicken and coop on this page, make sure to read it even if you're not interested in the design.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 4

Capacity

6 chickens

Difficulty


23. Melissa's DIY Chicken Coop

Judging by the design alone, this may not the best out of all I've listed above. But this one is the true DIY. Melissa -- who didn't have any experience in constructions at all -- builds (almost) all of this by herself, his husband only helped her with the roof. Anyway, I can't include the picture but there's actually a hinge on the roof. It can be opened like a door so you can clean the inside easily.

Dimensions (feet)

3.5 x 3.5

Capacity

3 chickens

Difficulty


24. Large Chicken Coop Design

The overall dimensions are 8x12, with 4x8 for the shelter. This is perfect if you want to raise more than 10 heavy layers without them getting cramped. I can imagine if I were a chicken, I'd be happy to live here for the rest of my life.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4 for the shelter

12 x 8 in total

Capacity

8 chickens

Difficulty


25. Simplistic Chicken Coop

For people who are serious about raising chickens, they'll have no problem building large, complicated, expensive coop. But what if you just want to raise 2 or 3 just to save a little money on eggs and meats? Building those large coops would be a huge waste. This Simplistic Chicken Coop is for you. It requires very little money, time, and skill to build, but it's strong and weather-proof.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 2

Capacity

4 chickens

Difficulty


26. The Feather Factory Chicken Coop

It's large, it's beautiful, it's secure, it has proper ventilation. It may be a little expensive but if you build this coop, you won't have to build another one for years so it worth the investment. You may want to increase or decrease the size, but the creator of this plan has already optimized it so there will be no waste (in material and money).

Dimensions (feet)

4 x 5 for the shelter

10 x 5 in total

Capacity

5 chickens

Difficulty


27. Small Chicken House

The title says small, but it's a 'house'...so it's actually bigger than most I've listed on this page. Consider building this house if you're planning to keep your chickens mostly indoor. This coop has a big space and ventilation so it's okay as long as you don't put too many chickens in it. (but still, I don't recommend you to keep them indoor all the time)

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 8

Capacity

16 chickens

Difficulty


28. Downeast Thunder Farm Chicken Coop

Personally, if I were to choose one, this might be the one I'd build. The design isn't too simple, but not unnecessarily complicated. On top of that, I prefer a wide rectangle coop instead of square because it's more efficient. The chickens will spend most of their time outside anyway.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 4 for the coop

8 x 12 for the run

Capacity

8 chickens

Difficulty


29. A-Frame Chicken Coop

Another chicken coop plans by Ana White. This time, it's a portable chicken tractor. For a chicken tractor, this design is the most efficient in weight-space ratio. Your chickens still have comfortable vertical space, yet it's not too heavy to lift and move.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 5

The shelter on the top is 10 sqft

Capacity

3 chickens

Difficulty


30. Fox's Log Cabin Chicken Coop

I got to say, I always feel log cabins are aesthetically pleasing. I don't know, maybe because I often see them in movies or photographs. If you have many logs and/or live in a log house, this plans might be a perfect choice. The gaps between logs can be a good ventilation, but you may have to wrap it in the winter.

Dimensions (feet)

6 x 6

Capacity

9 chickens

Difficulty


31. Minimal Cost Chicken Coop

Now imagine if you have more than 10 heavy breed chickens, and you need a coop for them. This would easily cost you over $1000 just to build the coop. Well, fortunately, there's a way to build a beautiful large coop with just $600.

Dimensions (feet)

8 x 5

Capacity

10 chickens

Difficulty


32. Mammy's 1895 Chicken House

This one got an interesting (hi)story behind it. Something something about the grandparents of Joy Tarter who owns a company in the US named Tarter Farm & Ranch. So, his grandparents built this chicken house in Kentucky, 1985. This chicken house is so durable, easy to maintain, easy to cleanclean, and so comfortable for chickens that they decided to give away the plans so people can build it on their own.

Dimensions (feet)

16 x 8

Capacity

32 chickens

Difficulty


33. DIY Small Backyard Chicken Coop

This chicken coop -- just like its name -- is small and easy to set up. They even included 2-part videos explaining step by step on how to build it. The guy on this website said that it can hold up to 4 chickens, but I don't recommend you to keep more than 2.

Dimensions (feet)

3 x 2 for the shelter

Capacity

2 chickens

Difficulty


34. Sunrise Chicks Chicken Coop

This chicken coop can hold up to 30 heavy breeds comfortably. But don't be intimidated by the size, the guy who posted this plan didn't have any experience before, it's his first building project, yet he can build this big thing. It may look plain, but you'll like this one if you're not a "flashy" type of person.

Dimensions (feet)

12 x 10

Capacity

30 chickens

Difficulty


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Comments:

  1. I’m looking forward to getting a few hens within the next couple of years so I’ve bookmarked this page for when it is time to build the coop. Thanks for putting links to so many great free chicken coop plans all in one place!

  2. Question about the nesting box: could you just re-phrase this statement for me, in a different way? Did you mean that each nesting box needs to be a 12″x12″x12″ or 12’x12’x12′?

    “Nesting box – this is where your hens will lay their eggs. You need to have at least 1 box per 2 hens with the size of 12x12x12 feet and about 10-20 inches above the ground”

    We plan to have 10 chickens, but would like to build 6 nesting boxes just in case there ends up being a favorite.

    Thanks for your help! This is a great article to start things off.

    • Are you kidding me? They meant 12 inches square. It was obviously a typo. Any normal human would have known that. If you really needed clarity, I’m sorry for you, otherwise, passive aggressive comments like yours are just annoying.

      Great article by the way.

  3. My question is, I have plenty of space, but I would like to raise chickens to eat and also have eggs is there a chicken coop where I could have rooster or a rooster in one spot and raise egg laying chickens in another. I would like to keep 10 to 12 or up to 20 chickens at one time but now that were eating healthier I would like to eat one or two chickens per week

    • You can keep the rooster in with your layers, in fact the rooster will offer some protection to the hens (they act as an early warning system and defender ). Fertile eggs taste the same as unfertile eggs. The only difference is that it could become a chick if incubated.

  4. Thank you for all this information . I am trying to help save some chickens in behind my house . The church is trying to have chickens for their food bank .
    But the hawks are eating all the chickens and the poor things are afraid to even come out to eat. there coop might be 3x5x4 and they had in the beginning 30 chickens in the building now they have about 9 chicken
    they are free range, so me and some friends are going to put fencing on top
    where the coop is Hopefully it well help!!

    • I have an extremely effective and very inexpensive alternative to fencing or netting the top of an enclosure to keep predatory birds from preying on your fish or fowl. We have used this method for fish hatcheries and various types of poultry farms.
      You will need to purchase 2 items:
      1 spool of 20 lb. or larger monofilament nylon fishing line at a sporting goods store.
      1 skein of brightly colored acrylic yarn.

      The strength of the fishing line is not so important, but the diameter is. The reason the diameter is important is that nylon is susceptible to ultra-violet degradation over time, the thicker the diameter, the longer it will last, and you want this to last at least 3-5 years before having to do it again.
      The yarn needs to be acrylic to withstand the weather, and it needs to be bright (red works well).

      Run the fishing line back and forth across the top of the enclosure forming a grid pattern (like a chess board). The resulting squares can be as large as 8-12″ to a side. I know what you are thinking…a hawk or owl can walk right through an opening that big. Well, yes it can…but it can’t FLY through an opening that big, and flying is the way they initially attack their prey.
      You need to attach small strands of the yarn to the fishing line grid work. Leave the strings long (4-6″) so that they can easily be seen and wave in the breeze. Birds see color, so use a yarn that will contrast with the grass, coop, and surrounding landscape.

      This method works unbelievably well.
      It is inexpensive.
      It is easy.
      It allows for sun, rain, and snow to pass through.

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