7 DIY-Friendly Chicken Coops You Can Build For Cheap
The pandemic has heralded major lifestyle changes for thousands across the globe (Little Onion Farm included). It hasn’t just made more people than ever think about where their food comes from – it’s made members of our generation want an overall return to self-sufficiency, too. Livestock, vegetable gardens, DIY projects, and other traditional ways of living are very much on the rise. The world of backyard chickens is where many of these people start for several reasons: namely, that chickens are fun, easy to care for, and affordable. They’re not the easiest to get started with, though, since the cost of a chicken coop can be a high hurdle for many. That’s why many chicken owners have been choosing to build DIY chicken coops instead!
Assuming you don’t have a barn or another structure on your property that you can retrofit – which is the ideal scenario here -you’ll have to build or purchase something before you start your flock. And while there are some really good manufactured chicken coops on the market (hello, Omlet chicken coops!), the cost of a quality chicken coop kit can be pretty scary at first glance.
With a little creativity and some willingness to get your hands dirty, anyone can build a creative, DIY chicken coop for cheap. This guide showcases seven of the best creative chicken coops that we’ve found on the web, selected for uniqueness, affordability, and ease of building.
1. Truck Cap Chicken Coop
Do you have an old or unused truck cap lying around? Even if you don’t, you may be able to find one for cheap (or free) for sale in your area. Of course, anything with a similar shape, such as a canoe, boat hull, etc. can work for this type of coop, too.
The nice thing about this easy DIY chicken coop is that you can easily upcycle truck caps that no one else wants, such as those with broken or missing windows. Once you reinforce said windows with chicken wire or hardware cloth, you instantly have a fresh, weatherproof roof over your chickens’ heads.
2. Hoop Coop
For those who need a temporary coop or daytime run, or for those who live in warm climates, a simple, quick-to-build “hoop coop” may be just the ticket. You can build these creative chicken coops out of tons of different materials, such as rigid cattle panels, wood, or even flexible PVC pipe. The final result is an arched, tunnel-like structure. You can cover part of the hoop house in plastic or a tarp to protect your chickens from wind, rain, snow, and sun. Plus, it’s easy to make these coops into mobile chicken coops with a few tweaks to the design.
3. A-Frame Chicken Coop
If you have some scrap lumber lying around or you want to minimize your bill at the hardware store, an A-frame coop is an excellent option. Because of their triangular shape, A-frames are incredibly sturdy. Build it well, and this DIY chicken coop and run in one will last through many generations of poultry.
The main downside of A-frame coops is their interior space (especially your standing head space), which can be limited. However, their classic, timeless appeal helps make up for it! Plus, due to the nature of the triangular frame, they tend to be lighter and easier to move than traditional coops, thus making excellent DIY chicken tractors.
A-frame coops are incredibly easy to build as well. While 45-degree angle cuts can be difficult to do sometimes, the rest of the construction process is simple. A-frames can be put together with just brackets and scrap lumber.
Has anyone else noticed how popular vertical gardening has gotten over the last few years? As someone who’s well and truly buried in the homesteading niche, I see adverts for different garden towers all the time. However, none of them have yet stood out to me in the way the Garden Tower Project does. These towers are made here in the USA with food-grade HDPE plastic, and they have one huge advantage over every other tower I’ve seen: the combination of vermicomposting and gardening in one unit.
Vermicomposting is the process of using worms to turn food waste scraps into nutrient-dense soil. Instead of using a separate worm bin, the worms live in a compost tower in the middle of the unit. They can freely move in and out of the central column, too, bringing important nutrients to the plants that grow around the perimeter.
I don’t know everything about how it works – I just know that I need the Garden Tower 2 someday! The good people at Garden Tower Project regularly do giveaways and sales to help you get yours for cheaper, too. If you’re not quite ready to pull the trigger yet, I highly recommend signing up for their mailing list so you can get in on those deals!
4. Pallet Chicken Coop
If you can find free pallets in your area, you’re well on your way to building a free chicken coop! While pallet wood takes a little more effort to use (you’ll have to disassemble each pallet and sort through the usable and unusable wood), it’s certainly worth it for cost savings and rustic appeal. Plus, when it comes to DIY chicken coops from pallets, the sky is the limit as far as shape, size, color, and design.
At Little Onion Farm, we love using pallet wood on our homemade chicken coops, even if it’s just as a stylish accent. While you can build your entire coop out of pallet wood if you want, using fresh lumber for the structural parts is always a good idea. Pallet wood is also a fantastic resource for making a DIY chicken coop door for your existing coop or run.
5. Dresser Chicken Coop
Even if you don’t have an old dresser or buffet in your basement waiting to be repurposed, you can probably pick one up for free somewhere near you. Old furniture can make a fantastic upcycled chicken coop (or even a DIY chick brooder) with some modifications and a few coats of paint. While it may not last as long out in the elements as one built with fresh lumber, a few coats of epoxy, outdoor paint, or polycrylic can help extend its lifespan.
Dresser chicken coops, and other coops with a similar vertical footprint, tend to work well when placed against your fence or the side of your house. This shelters the structure from the elements a bit and the positioning helps to stabilize it.
6. Natural Wood Chicken Coop
Lori Jo Jamieson
If you live on forested land, you may be able to access enough twigs and sticks to create a chicken coop just from the trees’ bounty. If you don’t mind the rustic aesthetic, these rough-hewn, live-edge wood pieces can protect your chickens just as well as any square lumber.
You should always make sure your DIY chicken coop can protect your flock with respect to any predators that live in your area. For example, a twig and stick coop like the one in the picture above would protect your flock from most predators, but not all; a mink or weasel might be able to squeeze between the logs, for example, or a bear (god forbid) might be able to bash its way in. A layer of small-opening hardware cloth over this coop would do a lot to dissuade mink and snakes.
In the coop’s defense, most structures wouldn’t stand up to a really determined bear.
7. Upcycled Chicken Coops
Take some time to look at all the fantastic DIY chicken coop designs available on the web! From UFO-shaped satellite dish coops to rain barrel coops, ingenious and inventive chicken owners across the world have shown that you can make a chicken coop out of just about anything.
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