24 votes

Updated: I need help with ideas/plans for a chicken coop please.

After being treated to a wonderful meal at "Nui" and "C's" home a few weekends ago, I was given a dozen of their fresh eggs to take home, which led to the inspiration to get 11 tiny baby chicks. Right now they are in a portable cage that is starting to get cozy. I can look at pictures on Google images of different coops, but I thought I would defer to the DP since posing questions here usually yields some great ideas..

We have a large privacy fenced backyard which is mostly grass with a large deck and a 5' x 30' oval shaped garden out by the fence. I've heard that if you make a chicken run that surrounds your garden, the chickens will eat any of the bugs trying to enter the perimeter.
I would imagine 11 full grown chickens are going to need some space, but I don't want them to have access to the entire back yard and the deck as they poop all over everything.

self edit

So, I'm looking at doing a permanent coop and maybe some sort of separate roll around chicken tractor, or some sort of permanent run around the garden. Either way the chickens need to be protected from feral cats, coons, and possums. I doubt a coyote could get back here but you never know. The other thing is easy access, and easy maintenance. (if there is such a thing)

If you know of any online plans, websites, or other resources that may be helpful, I would certainly appreciate it.

Update 4/27/13: Looks like the consensus is that http://www.backyardchickens.com/ is the go to resource on the internet for raising chickens. Thanks to all who have responded in typical helpful DP fashion. It's one of the reasons I love this place. I'm still reading through all of the great informative responses and formulating a strategy for the build. Please continue to post suggestions and pics as the build will not start for a couple more weeks. We're going to build a temporary run, and then build something permanent. I will post pics once it is all done. Thanks again for all the great input! There is nothing like learning from others' experiences so you can get it right the first time.

Update 4/29/13: We built a temporary chicken run out of scrap lumber on Saturday. It's roughly 8' x 8' and is just a box, nothing fancy. The chicks seem happy and it also may be useful in detaining small unruly children as well.....J/K

The permanent coop will be started in a couple of weeks. Having trouble deciding between the Ralph's great design, and the colorful mobile "Coup d'Etat" that DP member "kyletownsend" posted here.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. Please keep 'em coming.

Also, thanks to the lovely and talented "photoshopwiz" for pointing me in the right direction to post photos. (and Jon too)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

You might want to touch base with

The Granger. She knows about raising chickens. (And yes, I am serious.)

Jefferson's picture


Nonna. Are they "Central Committee chickens?" J/K

Quiltingsando knows about raising them too. She had pictures of a pretty sweet coop a few years ago that I can't find. Hers was like a fancy dollhouse type coop with shutters on the windows etc., but I'm looking for plans/drawings of a pretty basic model.

    Quiltingsando's Chicken Coop. Man, those chickens are going to live in style!

    ~ courtesy of Foghorn Leghorn, son

They Are Ron Paul Republican Chickens

I made 12 hens Ron Paul tank tops (infant size) and decorated the coop with RP for president signs and banners, and the local TV came over to film them (because neighbors though they were cute parading down the street), the animal rights felt that the TV showed show the chickens because some people might think it was cruel.

My chickens and roos are my biggest supporters on the committee and promise that if Rand wins they'll make a great BBQ for a fundraiser.

I love me some chickens so maybe I'll settle for deviled eggs?

I just built me

one of these, but mine has some extra mods....

is bigger, made of redwood, I used cage-wire and it's on pop-down wheels, thinkin of selling them?.....


Have fun and good luck with your new hobby : )

Because: Some animals are more equal than other animals. -Animal Farm-

What the? > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MTIwY3_-ks

Jefferson's picture


pretty cool. What did you use for "pop down wheels?"

I guess I could triple the dimensions for the amount of chickens I have.

I like the fact that it is mobile and seems easily accessible. If we could make a combo tractor/coop that would be easier. Do you know of any online drawings/plans?

Eleven is a lot to begin with

I would have suggested you begin with a smaller brood. The tractor below is a awesome. I would keep it to that size and buy three. (or I would make my own at that size but out of waxed card board or card board, plastic or old tarp and duct tape, and a large branch, with 3" diameter width cut to length, bucket where I can give fresh water everyday without having to lug anything but a 1/2 gal jug of scratch.

For myself, my 15 hens and 2 roos share a divided coop, one roo in one side with his flock, the other with his,, that's where they sleep (I overdid it, and think most of us do when we get started.. know like how you can buy a puppy a hundred toys and he still likes your shoes?). Chickens get up at the crack of dawn, and mine are pastured, so they get the run of a half acre, and they made friends with the neighbors, so they have the run of about 5 acres. The go to bed at sunset, which reminds me.. mine are happy birds and they only stop making noise after sun set.. before sunrise the roos will begin to sing. Eleven hens can make a lot of noise, and you may have one or two take on roo traits if you have no roo.

I am now converting my coop (to tractors I can move through the raised hay bale garden (becuase they will dig up everything) http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/8453/video-make-a-stra... , I use those cardboard file boxes as nesting boxes because I can compost or burn them.. I use hay in the nests, litter in the coop.. My floor is lined with a heavy vynil I can fold all the litter in and remove, dump in the compost, hose down, dry and return.. make the coop as easy as possible to manage.. my chickens like the shade for the most part, each has it's own personality, and three born on the property are named for Daily Paulers.

I do not feed mine hormones, but they do get scraps .. their litter, scraps all go in a huge compost heap that they scratch through all day.. they love to dust.. so have a patch where they can roll in the dirt and add some diatomaceous earth http://www.google.com/search?q=diamatrious+dirt&rls=com.micr...

Chicken watching is a lot more fun than people watching.. I hope you and your flock many years of good memories together.

Jefferson's picture


for the tips. We have a lot of people to feed, and I guess I'm stuck with 11 chickens for now. I'd feel pretty silly taking them back to the store.
I've got to do something pretty quick as well because if these chicks get any bigger any faster, I'm going to be looking like a Tyson factory farm..

I like the idea of a vinyl floor. I also saw a tray you could pull out and clean that sits under the roosting area? That was pretty cool.

I'm also thinking of getting an automatic door so we don't have to worry about securing them every night, and can go away for trips etc.

We've got diatomaceous earth at the garden shop so that should be easy. The biggest thing is finding something for them to nest in. we don't really have easy access hay, or wheat straw etc. I've heard shredded newspaper works ok but it get matted pretty easily.

Anyway, thanks again for the tips.

I really like the cardboard boxes

You can wind up spending a lot of time cleaning up after chickens.. so the card board boxes are great, cut out a space for them to get in and out, they like something overhead.. it's worth purchasing a straw bale..

I suggest you go as inexpensive as you can.. don't be ashamed to bring chicks back to the store.. it's better to have something you can handle and enjoy than a BIG job.. and ask the feed store because they KNOW people in your area, groups.. sales.. I would not ask the store for my money back.. I don't know what you spent..

barnfelders were $4.00 each
winedots.. $3.50
bardrocks $2.00
red hens $2.00

I suggest you start with three or four.. I started with three and if I had to do it all over again, I would start with three and keep it at three.. then again, since I have a good relationshop with my fat and happy flock.. It's all I can do to keep myself from owning 30.

Granger is right. Start with 3 or 4 chickens

I have 8 and they are plenty. The only way I would start with more is if you buy the eggs to hatch or un-sexed. Then 4 or 5 months later you eat the males.

I used 8" solid wheels on

I used 8" solid wheels on 1x3x12 pivots that extend off the end of the coop, it works well, but the next one I build will have 10" wheels incase the buyers have bumpy ground.

Sorry, don't have plans, just went off the pic. and modified to suit. If you got any more questions, just let me know.

Because: Some animals are more equal than other animals. -Animal Farm-

What the? > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MTIwY3_-ks


Where is the ole Nui these daze? Don't see him on here no more. Tell him to get back in the groove once in a while, for ole time's sake....

Because: Some animals are more equal than other animals. -Animal Farm-

What the? > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MTIwY3_-ks

Jefferson's picture


still around. He's just been busy with work. You have to take it when you can get it in his business of film production. I do miss cutting up with him on here though.