Scott and I browsed through hundreds of chicken coop photos to look for the one we were going to build. Hundreds.
Unfortunately, many of them we looked at didn’t come with plans or were not to our liking. I hate to admit it, but I was pretty picky with what I wanted. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure what I exactly wanted.
Until I came across THIS picture. *chime in holy angels and bells*
I sent Scott a text message, “THIS is what I want. Only not purple. Do you think you can build that for me?”
Then, I sent his dad a text, “Hey Greg, hope all is well. I just wanted to let you know that I am already delegating you to helping Scott build a chicken coop for me.”
He said I was awful bossy for such a little woman but hey, this woman now knows what she wants and sometimes I’ve gotta crack the whip (if you know what I mean) to get things rolling along. 😀
Things surely did move right along but unfortunately, I was kinda out of the loop when it came to talking about the specifics with the coop. I would tell Scott to tell Greg specifics but I’m not ever sure the messages got relayed. My father-in-law joked that the engineer usually has plans to build the coop but the general contractor changes it to his likings but it’s usually different when it comes time for the workers to do it because they don’t want to work as hard so what ends up happening is the home owner gets something completely different than what they wanted. Story of my life when it came to chicken coop building.
Long story short, the coop was built in about 6 days total (but about 2 weeks worth of work — painting, roosts, garden beds, etc) and we ended up spending WAY too much money. So, if you’re wanting to build a chicken coop from scratch, here are a few lessons I’ve learned so you hopefully don’t make the same mistakes we did.
1. Go straight to the source
If you are having someone build your coop for you, make sure you go straight to the “engineer” about your specifics. I wanted a large enough coop with a large enough run so my current ladies would have enough space but would allow for the addition of more ladies in the future. What I got was the mansion of all mansions in terms of chicken coops. The Chick Majal. The Chicken Mansion. Whatever you want to call it but holy shit. I can probably fit like 30 birds in that chicken coop — if not more. No one told me this chicken coop was going to be 6 foot tall, by 8 foot wide! A whole family of PEOPLE could move into that chicken coop!
2. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Practice patience. Lose your “instant gratification” instinct.
As hard as it may be, do yourself a favor and be as patient as possible. This may mean not purchasing your chicks before your coop is built. This way you don’t feel like time is quickly ticking away and you have 6 chickens that are growing rapidly in a crate in your home and stinking up the room and making it a mess and all you can think about is getting the chickens out. side.
By doing this, you will probably have a higher chance of not doing things backwards. In hindsight, we should have painted everything before we assembled it. Have you ever tried painting wood with poultry netting and hardware cloth attached to it? If you haven’t, don’t ever do it. If you have, my sympathy is with you.
Paint. Everything. Before. You. Assemble.
Oh, and by painting everything before you assemble, you’ll greatly reduce the chance of having paint marks on your chickens.
3. You’ll probably spend more money then you initially planned
Well, if you’re like the Adams’ you will spend more money. My original budget was $300 for a coop. Scott had some lumber (28 2x6x10s which did the run) from job sites so I figured that would cut down on costs drastically. My father-in-law even had some 2x4s and extra pieces of lumber. Unfortunately, we learned that hardware cloth is SUPER expensive so the amount that we would need for our run already maxed out our budget. I upped it to $500.
Remember how I said you need to go straight to the source and make sure everything is according to plan? Yeah. Well. Things obviously didn’t go to plan and since the coop ended up being so big it could accommodate a human family, that meant more materials were required. More materials meant more money. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Try adding another $300 to the budget I upped.
Then try adding another $200 for additional materials like the door for the coop, extra netting, more 2×4’s, more 2×6’s.
Oh, and don’t forget the cost for paint which was $70 + the cost for white spray paint (try 9 cans and I still need another 2 to finish the back of the coop) because there was NO WAY we were trying to paint the posts with a brush that had the netting attached to them.
Too. Much. Money.
Thankfully, our roosts were free. I thank the big oak tree in the middle of our yard that needed some trimming and my husband for manually cutting the limbs with a pole saw. They turned out AWESOME. Don’t you think?
Now, if only they would go in their coop to use the roosts.
In hindsight if we weren’t in a rush we’d try and gather materials from more job sites, craigslist, etc and we would really think about the coop so we could make sure it was spacy enough but not gigantic. I believe this would really reduce cost of lumber.
BUT after all that being said.
I love my coop. A lot. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I know my girls wouldn’t either. I’m very thankful for all the hard work Scott and his dad’s (his real dad and adopted dad) put into it and it turned out really beautiful. Don’t you think?
p.s. We still have to get dirt and then plant our herbs, lettuce, and radish there but just put on your imagination goggles and picture there was a beautiful herb and salad bar garden in the beds. 🙂 We also want to add some art to the coop as well as a cool rustic fresh eggs sign. We may even add a window on the side of the coop that you can see. Ahh… the never ending chicken coop project.
I promise once everything is done, I’ll give you a video tour of our chicken coop.
Want to learn more about raising chickens? Check out this guide on raising backyard chickens.