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In my excitement to get baby chicks, I forgot they grew like weeds and would quickly outgrow their brooder box! There wasn’t enough room for them in my current coop, so I had to find a quick and cheap solution. This a-frame chicken coop was the perfect solution! Less than $200, it could be built in a weekend! And the babies LOVE it. Here’s how I did it:
The original design is from ana-white.com. WARNING: do NOT go to Ana White’s site unless you want to turn your garage into a wood-working shop and begin eyeing every piece of furniture in your house. I’m already addicted – heed my warning! She’s the reason I have a homemade headboard, floating bookshelves and am planning on making dog crates next.
My only complaint about her plans (check them out here) is that it was a little too small for my new flock. Her coop can house 4-6 chickens, but we had 6 chicks and were gifted three more adult hens. So I beefed up the measurements. The final result is 8 ft by 6 ft. The babies still aren’t full grown, but they have plenty of room to grow. The enclosed area might get tight during the winter when they all cram in for bed, but that might actually work for the best – they can keep each other warm.
Definitely check out Ana White’s plans – in addition to much better CAD-type drawings that may explain things better, she also had a brag board full of coops that people have made off of her plans with added goodies – an extra door, a built in nesting box, etc.
How to Make an A-Frame Chicken Coop
On to the instructions!
Firstly, you’ll need:
- 15 – 2x4s, 8 feet long $86.55
- 1 – sheet 3/4″ plywood $18.43
- 4 total T-Strap hinges $11.12
- 50-60 feet of hardware cloth $91.88 (you can save money here by using chicken wire instead – but I feel better with hardware cloth)
- 2 3/4″ exterior screws (already had)
- 1/2″ exterior staples for chicken wire (already had)
- scrap plywood piece for floor of upstairs coop and ladder (already had)
- Optional 1x2s for trim out if desired
TOTAL = $207.98
1. To begin, cut your “rib” pieces – cut 6 2×4’s to 56 inches with a 60 degree angle on one side and a 30 degree angle on the other.
2. Place two 2×4’s, 60-degree angle-side together and secure with outdoor screws.
3. Add an 8 ft 2×4 across the bottom, middle and top of all three “rib” pieces. (I had to get really creative with how I did this because hubby was busy with another project. I did have to get his help holding the top and middle pieces though.)
NOTE: you can slide the middle rib right or left a little depending on if you want a larger “upstairs” for your chickens.
4. Measure the length between the two sides at the bottom. Cut two 2×4’s to fit and secure on the inside of the “ribs” with screws.
5. Measure the distance, inside the coop, between the two sides at the middle 2×4. Cut three 2×4’s to fit and secure with screws. You can see, as my adorable model is showing, the middle pieces.
6. Measure the length and width of one half of the middle section. Cut a piece of scrap plywood to size and install with screws. This will be the “coop” part and where the nesting boxes will go.
7. Measure the top portion of one of the long sides and cut the plywood to fit. Secure with screws.
8. Add hardware cloth all along the bottom and the outsides. I left the side of the “coop” area open with hardware cloth, but will probably go back in the winter and built additional walls to keep it more enclosed.
9. Measure across the top portion of the second long side and cut your plywood to fit. Measure the distance between your ribs and cut your plywood to create two “doors”. Attach hinges at the top.
Optional: cut 1×2’s to fit and trim everything out. We haven’t done this yet, but we will. After our last big rainstorm our plywood doors bowed – not bad enough that anyone could get out or in (anyone meaning chickens or raccoons), but bad enough that we need to fix it before the temps start dropping.
All-in-all my chooks are really happy with their new set up. They get plenty of shade, breeze and can watch us as we work around the yard. I wish we had built our first coop by hand.
Now to build a run to connect the two…
If you’re just thinking about getting chickens, don’t miss my posts 13 Creative Ways to Lower Your Chicken Feed Bill, Top 12 Heritage Chicken Breeds, and The 9 Things You Need BEFORE You Get Baby Chicks.
If you don’t think this A-frame will work for your flock, check out Justin Rhodes’ 5 different coop designs: