Chicken fanciers around the world are getting creative when building their DIY coops. So I decided to hunt down my favorite picks for the top ten best DIY chicken coops in 2020. Before you dig in, there are a few things to take into consideration when planning the type of chicken coop you’d like for your flock.
Here are some tips on what to think about when you pick out a DIY coop to build:
When I say, location, I meant, your literal location in the world. Do you live in a hot or cold climate, for example? The location in your yard is important as far as sunlight and drainage go, but if you live in a cold climate during the winter months, your coop must shelter your flock in cold weather.
That might mean that you’ll have to use insulation or build a coop that can be moved into an inner barn, for example. Whatever you do, don’t forget about seasonal changes where you live when you DIY your chicken coop.
How Much Space Per Chicken
It’s important to know how many chooks you plan on housing before you start building your coop. And as a rule of thumb, always plan for more than you think you want because chicken math tends to add up over the years. Generally speaking, chickens need at least 4 square feet per bird in their coop, and an additional 8 square feet in the chicken run.
Bantams and large chickens have different needs:
- Bantams need approximately 2 Square feet per bird in the coop and an additional 4 square feet in the run.
- Extra-large chickens (like the Jersey Giant or Brahma, for example) need about 10 square feet per bird in the coop and an additional 12 square feet in the run.
I always give my chickens as much space as possible to prevent respiratory illness, mites, and pecking order issues. If you can, try not to skimp on the elbow room.
The following coops are examples of good predator-proof coops. With that being said, do your due diligence when it comes to your specific local predators and adjust your plans as needed. Think about including more latches, screens, and wire skirts if you’re in a heavily populated predator area.
As mentioned earlier, packing chickens into small spaces is a recipe for respiratory illness, especially during cold winters when chickens are living in confinement. When building your chicken coop always make sure you’re leaving space for ventilation so your chickens can get the fresh air they need when they’re shoulder-to-shoulder on their roosts.
Always include a roost in your DIY chicken coop plans. Chickens love to sleep on a roost, as high as possible, off the ground. This comes naturally for them because, in the wild, they’d roost in small trees and shrubs to stay out of harm’s way—from predators hunting for a chicken dinner.
If a roost isn’t provided, your chickens will roost above their nesting boxes, their feeders, and their waterers, making cleanup a daily chore.
Speaking of nesting boxes, give your hens a nice, enclosed space to lay their eggs. If you forgo the nesting boxes, they’ll lay them anywhere and everywhere, and they may even trample them.
When planning your coop, allow space for a 12×12 area specifically for a nesting box. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need one nesting box available for every five hens so the girls can lay their eggs when they’re ready. If there are enough nesting boxes for all of your hens, they won’t have to form a line outside of a single nesting box.
The truth is, they probably won’t form a line, instead, they’ll all pile into one box and your fresh eggs will be pulverized by the weight of your hens.
Dust Bath Area
An often overlooked component of a good DIY chicken coop is the dust bath. Chickens take dust baths to clean themselves, regulate their natural oils, and keep external parasites under control.
If you want your chickens to be able to practice good hygiene, a dust bath is a must-have. Make sure to leave ample room for a dust bath, especially if your chickens will not be free-ranging. Luckily, a dust bath can simply go in the corner of your chicken run, as long as it has a roof over it.
The Best Chicken DIY Chicken Coops
Now that you know what you need to include when building your chicken coop, you can start to think about what kind of chicken coop you’d like to build. If you’re like me, you love a good DIY project but you need a little guidance to get through it.
So, to help you choose the best DIY chicken coop, I’ve compiled this list of free, highly rated coops and plans. And, as a bonus, they’re all aesthetically pleasing!
The Most Affordable DIY Pallet Chicken Coop
The most affordable chicken coop will undoubtedly come from materials you already have laying around the yard. And if you’re like most homesteaders and farmers, you’ve got pallets coming out of your ears. This design gives you an easy peasy way to re-use your wooden pallets to create an extremely inexpensive chicken coop in no time flat.
And if you’d like to add some space for your chooks to run around safely, here are some plans to create a run out of wooden pallets.
The Smallest DIY Chicken Coop for the City
Both adorable and functional, this teeny coop is perfect for the flock that is limited on space. It will provide all the necessities in a compact little design. Use this as a temporary chicken coop for babies coming out of the brooder and into the outdoors for the first time or as a permanent coop for one or two medium-sized layers.
The Easiest DIY Chicken Coop
This coop is a no muss no fuss kind of coop. I recommend this coop for people who plan to free-range their small flock. It provides a nice little shelter for night-time and egg-laying. It’s also a perfect coop for a smaller flock.
The Multipurpose Chicken Coop
This coop is perfect for those who want a “living roof” coop! Use this design to build a coop that has a decorative green roof or, even better, grow herbs for your family or specific herbs that you can use to treat your chickens for common ailments. A win-win!
Note: just make sure you can reach the roof for routine maintenance and gardening.
The Recycled DIY Chicken Coop
This coop is another example of the kind of creativity you can enlist when planning your new chicken coop. If you have access to old wooden wire spools, you can create a gorgeous recycled chicken coop for your girls. This design is effortless and has a modern look to it.
The Cutest DIY Chicken Coop
When this coop came up on my radar I swooned! This Poop Coop was obviously created to give their chooks some character and their visitors a conversation starter. While the plans are MIA in this article, you get the idea just by looking at it.
The point is, it’s ok to get creative with your chicken coop! The chickens probably won’t even notice that they’re living in an outhouse!
The Best Kids Chicken Coop
This coop is perfect for your kids because they get to see their old crib being put to use! Children may feel attached to their old bed and will enjoy raising their chickens in it…a great way to connect them to their chickens.
Bonus: Have your children help repaint the new coop!
DIY Mobile Chicken Coop
If you’re looking for a chicken coop that you can move daily and is easy on your back, you’re looking for a PVC chicken coop. Lumber can be heavy, and a little bit of it usually adds up to a lot of weight when building a mobile chicken coop. Instead, use PVC pipe so you can eliminate the extra weight of wood on mobile coops.
Tractor A-Frame Coop
A-Frame chicken tractors are a popular choice for DIY’ers because they’re easy to make and provide just enough space to keep your chickens safe and healthy. We like to keep our laying hens in an A-frame coop with a run to keep them safe and give them a cozy place to lay their eggs.
DIY Coop For Meat Birds
Lastly, this coop is another version of the chicken tractor, but it has pasture-raised broilers in mind. These coops are perfect because they’re mobile (yet not as light as the PVC tractor) and sturdy. They also provide access to fresh grass and plenty of ventilation for your broilers without sacrificing safety from predators.
The only alteration I’d recommend is a larger access door…even lazy broilers are hard to catch on processing day!