Chicken coops are expensive if you are buying a pre-fabricated one. The average cost of a new coop is $600, but there has to be a way around this. The best choice to reduce the cost is to build a cheap coop. But we are going to dive a little deeper into how to make it as economical as possible. Let’s talk about our 10 tips how to build a chicken coop cheap. Using your handiwork and a little creativity, you can create a work of masterpiece.
10 Tips How To Build A Chicken Coop Cheap
Let’s dive right in on our top tips to build a cheap coop. When most people think about making a coop, they jump right in. They buy all new tools, materials, and might even purchase plans for a coop. Some people don’t even want to attempt to build their own and buy a pre-fabricated one. But before you start buying anything, look at these tips to make the cheapest chicken coop DIY.
1. Size Of Flock
The larger your flock is, the more it will cost. Since each chicken needs to have 2-3 sqft of space, more chickens equal a larger coop. The average starting flock is 3-5 chickens, so that equals 9-15 sqft for a coop. And that will also give you about 12-20 eggs a week that is perfect if you are only using for yourself. If you have a larger flock, it leaves you no choice but to build a larger coop, which means more materials.
But if you plan to add more chickens to your flock, it is cheaper to start larger. If you make it too small, remaking it to be larger is inevitable. Then this means buying more materials. Not to mention, it is a massive waste of time.
2. Free Chicken Coop Designs
There are thousands of free chicken coop designs online. There is no need to pay for plans unless you want a complicated coop design. You can find free plans online or even on youtube. If you aren’t too handy with the tools, following a video tutorial might help you out some. Most of the free plans are very simple. So if you have no experience with tools, don’t worry. But if you are handy, feel free to find a little more complicated cheap chicken coop designs.
3. Build Simple
Your chickens don’t care if your coop is the most eye appealing. All they care about is that it is comfy and safe. To cut your costs even more, build a simple chicken coop. Cheap chicken coops tend to be basic, but they don’t have to be boring. Instead of trying to design a coop that looks like a deluxe cottage, make a basic square shape with all the necessities.
4. Chicken Tractor
Another inexpensive chicken coop idea is to build a chicken tractor. These coops can be fun and enriching for your chickens. And they are lightweight and can be moved all around the yard. Your chickens will love the foraging benefits, and you will like how cheap they are. You can make these out of used tires, some 2×4’s, and mesh wire. And chicken tractors come in all sorts of fun shapes, like the A-frame style.
5. Recycled Materials
The best way to make a chicken coo affordable is to use recycled materials. Keep a lookout for free windows, doors, plywood, and 2x4s. The popular new idea is to make a chicken coop from pallets. Be creative. Nothing can’t be recycled into something great.
You can find these on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or the LetGo app. Some people have great luck finding scrap materials from construction companies. You can’t get any cheaper than free. Just be sure that the materials are in good condition. You don’t want something rotting or molded, as this could compromise the structural integrity.
If you can’t find recycled materials, the next best thing is plywood. It is cheap, and you can buy it at any hardware store. It’s also durable and solid enough to make a small coop. If you use plywood, you won’t have to use as much of it as well. That will save you money compared to designing a coop with wood paneling.
7. Protective Materials
When it comes to protecting your chickens, this is one area you don’t want to skimp on. If an animal breaks your coop to get to your chickens, you will not only have to replace the chickens but also the coop. If you need locks or durable protective equipment, make sure that you are getting the best. For instance, when comparing hardware cloth and chicken wire, hardware cloth is far superior. Don’t go the cheaper wire route when it could cost your flock their safety.
You don’t need brand new tools to put your coop together. You could buy used tools if you don’t already have them. But, if you don’t think you will ever use the tools again, borrow! Ask your neighbors or your friends to borrow the tools needed for the project. Just be sure to give them back. If borrowing isn’t an option, you could always rent. Some hardware stores will let you rent out larger equipment for cheaper than buying it new. In either case, it could be more affordable, and you won’t have tools you likely won’t use again.
Making a chicken coop from a shed is another way to build a cheap coop. You could modify a cheap shed or buy a used one. Instead of making a boring basic coop, you could make one out of a cute shed. Modifying a shed is easy, and there are thousands of YouTube videos to help you along. Using a shed is great for people with larger flocks. They have windows and accessible doors already. So the only modification will be ventilation and adding a chicken door.
10. Milk Crates
And our final tip how to build a chicken coop cheap is to use milk crates as nesting boxes. The high sides make them fabulous for nesting boxes. You can often find them used for very little. They are much cheaper than buying nesting boxes, and yet easier than making your own. They are also versatile and can be used in any style of cheap chicken coop you make.
Is It Cheaper To Not Have A Coop?
Chickens without a coop will naturally find higher ground to sleep. Most chickens will roost in nearby trees. So while yes, it is cheaper. It’s not advised to leave your chickens unprotected. Chickens need a coop to sleep in when they are the most vulnerable. Leaving your flock outside without the protection of the coop leaves them vulnerable to predators and the weather. A coop is the best way to keep them protected and on your property at night.
What To Consider In Your Chicken Coop Ideas
When building your perfect chicken coop and runs, you might be wondering what you should consider in your plans. Whether you are creating your own blueprints or finding a free one online helps to know what to look for. Some of the things you should include are:
- A door, so you to enter the coop. An entry will make it easier to clean your coop. Without it, you will be crouched down and trying to get inside a small space.
- A chicken door and ramp so that your chickens have an easy way in and out.
- You will also need one nesting box per 5 chickens. You won’t want too many because your chickens will sleep inside them. You might not think this is a bad thing, but chickens poop a lot while they roost. You don’t want this inside the nest with your precious eggs.
- Keep in mind that you need plenty of ventilation, depending on your coop size and climate. Ventilation up top is best for the summer, and the bottom for the winter. Windows are another great option to let in a cool breeze.
- And finally, you will need a roost. For this, you can’t get any better than a 2×4. As long as your flock as at least 10 inches of space per bird, your chickens will sleep well.
Knowing what elements of your coop to look for can help you with the recycling process. And once you have your coop together, you could easily paint it to make it more visually appealing. It isn’t beyond the scope of reality to find all the materials you need for free. All you will need to buy is the nails and hardware cloth to keep it all together.
What Will You Design?
With these 10 tips how to build a chicken coop cheap, you can make a coop for just pennies. Then you can save the rest of your money to get the chickens you want and spoil them with a landscaped run. Starting to raise chickens doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. It just takes a little creativity.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!