Updated: Aug 4
Nick and I had talked about adding chickens to our homestead from day one. I ordered our chicks from Hoover's Hatchery just after the new year, with a delivery date of March 18th. That meant getting a brooder set up and making a plan to either purchase or build a chicken coop. After shopping around for premade coops and kits, we just weren't finding anything that would hold enough chickens and be sturdy and long lasting, or they were just exorbitantly priced for the size. So we decided to build a diy chicken coop!
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Nick did tons of research and looked at different options and ways to build it and eventually landed on a YouTube tutorial by Bushradical that features an off-grid cabin build that anyone can build and afford. With that inspiration Nick decided to build an 8'x8' building on concrete piers. So here is an overview of the building process and lead up to our new chicks moving in to their permanent home on Blazing Bear Homestead.
First things first: decide on the location. Not an easy thing to do! After some hemming and hawing we made the decision to build it near the horse shelter and under a large oak tree. This spot has a nice combination of sun and shade, visible from the house, and easy to get to. It was overgrown with buckthorn and the previous owners had piled up some dilapidated pallets and broken cinder blocks, so we had some serious cleanup to do.
Once that was done Nick started the build by deciding the exact placement of the four piers that will support the coop and getting them lined up properly.
Once that was done we started putting the framing on. Nick wanted the floor to be super solid so he spaced the joists on 16".
Once the walls started going up the project seemed to fly by!
I'm so glad we decided to build it tall enough that we can walk in to the coop comfortably, that was important to me.
Nick installed 3 sheets of metal roofing and left some overhang all the way around.
In the picture above you can see a cool old door that we brought with us from our previous home. It is now the front door on our diy chicken coop!
We wrapped the coop and enclosed the space underneath with chicken wire.
I purchased some drinker cups on Amazon and installed them on a food safe bucket so my chicks will never run out of clean water. It works really well!
We built the attached chicken run with some maple found on our homestead and added chicken wire all around. I added 12" lawn staples to the bottom of the wire and drove them down into the ground to help prevent animals from digging through and we added netting over the top to prevent attacks from above. Safety first!
We moved the chicks in and they love it! They were getting quite cramped in the brooder pen.
Once they grow a little more we will add real roosts for them to sleep on at night, and some nest boxes for egg laying.
Another feature to make chicken keeping more simple is this homemade automatic feeder. We picked up a plastic storage bin with a flip top lid and added curved PVC pipe to allow them to eat as much as they'd like and never run out.
It was so much fun watching them get more and more brave as they ventured further from the coop a little bit at a time.
The coop isn't 100% finished, but it is doing its job and looking good doing it. Our little hens are happy and that's what really matters. I'm so proud of Nick for making this project happen! If we can build a chicken coop with no experience, you can too.
Some of the gear and tools used: