How to Build a Chicken Coop for Your Backyard

Before you get your chickens, they will need a place to live. The backyard chicken coop has the same sort of requirements as your chick coop. It needs to keep them safe from predators, warm, dry and draft-free while also providing them with enough room to move around. They will stay in during wet weather.  If you’re looking to buy a chicken coop or other pet supplies, visit

In the case of a small coop, all you really need is a box with a slanted roof. You can almost skip p!ans or go with a sketch on the back of a napkin.

One side should be taller than the other three to create a slanted roof for run off. Roof beams or slats run at an angle from the tall side to the short side. I prefer to use prefab metal or plastic roof panels, but you could attach plywood and shingles for the roof.

Make sure the eaves are longer on one side and support them with additional beams. This lean-to or chicken porch is where you will feed and water your birds. Wet animal feed gets moldy very quickly. The roof extension should keep feed dry.

Your chickens should have their little door that opens during the day and locks them in at night, but they aren’t the only ones who need to get into the coop. You should have your own large door. It makes cleaning the coop and collecting eggs so much easier.

After you have the base structure, roof and doors, add sheathing to enclose the structure and paint it with a few coats of outdoor acrylic. It helps preserve the wood by creating a weather barrier.

Inside the coop, you will need to supply roosts for sleeping and nest boxes for laying. Think ahead to winter and wire your coop for a heater. Even the hardiest of hens can get hypothermia. Cover the floor with straw or wood shavings. This provides insulation and makes the floors easier to clean.

There are plenty of resources online for more complex designs. You might be able to find plans using one of the many Facebook groups or by using other small farm oriented social media sites. People have made fabulous coops from children’s playhouses and garden sheds. Some sites even have annual “beautiful coop” contests that are great for inspiration.

Backyard chicken coops can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. The basics are a leak-free roof, draft-free walls and locking doors. Heat sources, nest boxes and roosts will keep them comfortable and happy.