There are lots of expensive chicken coop plans and ready made chicken coops available these days. Really, a good chicken coop can cost you a thousand dollars or more, but folks who want to keep chickens as an economical and earth friendly way of having an ample supply of fresh eggs usually don’t have that kind of money lying around.
Luckily, chickens aren’t too picky and if you have a fair supply of standard carpentry tools, a good imagination and not too much pride, you can build nice cheap chicken coops from salvaged materials. Read on to get some great ideas.
Prior To Building
Think about where you want to have your chicken coop. Understand that your chickens need to be able to bask in the sun sometimes, and they need to be able to get out of the sun when they want to. Put your coop under a shade tree if you can. Of not, be sure to provide a sheltered area where your chickens can sit in the shade but still be outside. Consult existing chicken coop plans to get an idea of the elements you want and need to include.
Remember that you want your chicken coop to be secure, so as you seek out your materials and think about your plans, keep this in mind. You will want sturdy materials, and you will want to stick to a fairly simple plan that will be easy to build sturdily. Of course, if you are using salvaged materials, you may need to have some design flexibility to accommodate items such as windows, but by and large, you are best off keeping your plans practical and sturdy.
Re-Use Items Or Use Salvaged Materials
Once you have a good idea of where your cheap chicken coop will be, simply sketch out your ideas. Get general dimensions and envision how you want your coop to look. Then go on a treasure hunt. Look around in your own garage, attic and home for items that might be helpful in building a chicken coop.
For example, some creative folks have found that an old ping pong table can make a good chicken coop floor if it’s reinforced with 2×4’s underneath. Old plastic milk crates or cubby shelving can make very nice nest boxes. Old brooms and mops may have handles that are just right for perches. Keep an open mind as you look through your stuff for items that might be useful.
Gather all your stuff together and take trips to construction sites, thrift shops, garage sales and so on to find more building materials. You can sometimes purchase pallets very cheaply or even get them free. This is a great source of wood for building a cheap chicken coop.
Some cities have recycling centers that separate building materials out and offer them for sale very cheaply. Check with your city to see if such a service is available. Look on CraigsList and FreeCycle for building materials that others no longer want. A little diligence can yield a mountain of excellent free or nearly free, materials.
Prepare And Organize
Once you’ve gathered all your items, take inventory and review your plan. Organize your materials so that you will be able to work through them in an orderly manner as you begin to assemble your chicken coop. Make adjustments for materials that you needed to substitute or didn’t count on. For example, if you planned to have a metal roof but were unable to find metal, you may need to use plywood. In this case, you may need shingles, which aren’t really inexpensive to purchase at a home improvement store.
Be sure you have enough of each item you need. Measure chicken wire or hardware cloth and go scavenging or shopping or make adjustments to your plans as needed. Count the number of posts you have to support your wire. Purchase, make or find more if you need more. Good inventory and preparation will save you time once you begin construction.
Once you are certain you have everything you need, including nails, screws and other fasteners and hardware, commence building. Start from the bottom up by establishing the foundation and flooring first. Frame it up, finish your walls and put on your roof.
Take your time and use your imagination. Be ready to make adjustments as needed throughout the process. Remember that building cheap chicken coops from salvaged materials is a creative adventure. Above all, have fun!