Your Chicken Questions Answered by a Veterinarian. Honest and Practical Advice

How much does it cost to build a chicken coop

Like with any DIY project the cost varies, depending on the quality of materials you use, features you want, the size of the coop and more.

We’d say building a large chicken coop and run with enough capacity to hold ten hens will cost around £200 in comparison to £500 (approximately) when buying a coop of similar proportions.

Expenses for building a chicken coop

ItemPrice
2 by 3 Timber£20
Chicken wire£10
Screws£5
Small garden shed£130-150
Roosting bars£10
Nesting boxes£10
Backdoor coop modification£40

2 by 3 Timber

Having solid timber is essential in making sure that your coop is sturdy and well built. We used 2 by 3 timber to create a fence for our run, each plank is around 6 and a half foot tall and they are spaced about a meter from each other.

However this is just a template, it can be shrunk down or enlarged depending on how big you want your coop to be and how many chickens you want to keep.

We found for a large chicken coop, this design is second to none, it simple and easy to build but provides the most functionality. The total cost for all the timber was a little short of £20.

We then used chicken wire to cover the timber and create a mesh fence which ensures that the chickens stay in and predators such as foxes stay out. The fence is joined to the shed where the chickens sleep and allow the chickens easy access to the shed and run during the day.

Leftover timber is always useful, it can be used to make nesting boxes, toys for inside the coop, roosting bars, and much more, even leaving unused timber inside the coop can be great for chickens to play with, they’ll forage through the wood searching for insects. To find out more about what you can do to keep your hens entertained then check out one of our other articles on How to keep chickens entertained.

Chicken wire

Despite seeming so simple, chicken wire is something you really want to invest in, especially if you live in a rural area where predators such as foxes are raccoons are common.

We used a tough, tight mesh, galvanized steel chicken wire when we built our coop and we’ve yet to have a visit from any foxes. It may seem over the top, being fussed about chicken wire, but trust us, you want your coop to be well protected.

Cheap chicken wire will cost around 50 pence per meter compared to a stronger alternative which costs around double. Still, the expense is minimal when taking into consideration the extra strength and value that the chicken wire provides.

Screws

Screws are the cheapest part of the whole build, just ensure that you have multiple sizes of screws and they are good quality. Cheap screws may end up rusting resulting in the heads of the screws becoming flat and difficult to take out.

This is important because if you ever decide to move your coop, you want to be able to dis-assemble it instead of having to break the entire structure.

A small garden shed

A shed will cost you nothing if you already have one in your garden, however, the price of an average small garden shed will be around £130-150.

The best thing about using a garden shed instead of a store-bought chicken coop is the versatility and flexibility that it provides, you make whatever modifications you need to suit your hens.

Another advantage of having a garden shed as a chicken coop is the size, the difference from a store-bought coop is massive. There are a couple of benefits of having a coop this size.

Firstly, the chickens are able to roost high on roosting poles in the shed which is a much more effective way of using the space within the coop and it makes cleaning the coop much easier as you can just sweep out all the old bedding.

Roosting bars

If you’re going to be building a coop, you’ll need to make a place for the chickens to sleep, we found the most space-efficient and practical method to be using roosting bars.

Roosting bars are basically just round pieces of wood drilled inside the chicken coop, the chickens perch on these bars when they sleep and go down to their nesting boxes when they want to lay eggs.

Roosting bars are quite in-expensive, they’ll also probably cost you around £10 and take around an hour to install into your coop.

Nesting boxes

To be honest, we didn’t pay anything for our nesting boxes. Any old bits of wood you have lying around will usually do, all you have to do is make a square box that fits your chickens snugly, you also want to fill the nesting box with a thick layer of wood shavings or any other soft bedding so that the chickens are comfortable when laying eggs.

If you were to buy the wood required for nesting boxes, it would probably also cost you around £5-10. However, we’d wait until the rest of the coop has been finished before going out to by more timber for nesting boxes as you often have leftover pieces of wood which you can use instead.

You can alternatively buy one, nesting boxes aren’t very expensive and they are widely available in farming shops and online stores.

Backdoor coop modification

This is probably the toughest part of building a chicken coop. Ensuring that the chickens have easy access to the coop and run is essential so making a little backdoor/access point is required.

When we bought our garden shed, we payed a service fee and carpenters actually installed the backdoor for us for a very low cost. In total it ended up costing us £40. For avid DIY-ers this shouldn’t be an issue but for less experienced carpenters like ourselves, we figured we’ll let the professionals handle this one!

Another product that isn’t essential but worth investing in is the Chicken guard premium (Check price on Amazon), this helps keep your chickens safe from foxes, rodents and other pets as well as saving you from having to go out each morning and night to lock up and let out your hens

Conclusion

Building your own coop is more cost-effective and it allows for more flexibility and customization, but it is a lot more work. If you a coop that fits all your needs and more, build it, if you want a quick, reliable solution, buy it.

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