Here's a great weekend project for anyone who has or is getting chickens. The small footprint of this project is perfect for suburban folks and people with small backyards. You can't house a lot of chickens in this coop, but our six like it just fine.We built this chicken coop and located it next to our garden so that we can move our chickens there in the spring and fall to help clean up and cultivate it. The rest of the year, our chickens live in their permanent coop and pens. You don't need to use pallets for this projects, but in doing so, it simplifies the both the base and the roof. You may also be able to complete the project for much less than $200, depending on how many materials you have on hand, and whether you have a used or construction surplus store nearby. See the full list of construction materials below. Where do you find pallets? Many retailers get shipments on pallets and we have several stores that regularly put theirs out, so we have a large selection in our shop for purposes such as this project. The chicken coop design starts with the base pallet. I wanted a somewhat larger one, so began with a 4 foot by 4 foot pallet. I luckily had a larger pallet (that I also had to expand a bit) for the roof. I nailed strips of wood on the open end of the base pallet as a barrier to critters getting underneath the coop. To simplify things, I use a sloped roof in my design. Because we're located in an area that gets snow, I made the roof angle sharp enough so that the snow will slide off. If you live in the south, you can make the pitch of the roof much more shallow. My highest wall is 5 feet, sloping down to the low wall at 4 feet. These two walls are simple to frame and build. I added a surplus window on the tall wall, so that affected my wall design some, but otherwise, build on a 16" center stud wall. You could also add the main door to this wall, but I decided to place the door on one of the side walls. The short wall has the ramp door that sends the chickens off into the garden; this door easily fits into the space between two studs -- no extra work needed. For the side walls -- which are identical in design -- I could have done some serious mathematics to get the right angles for the studs, but instead used the trick of lining up the studs on my shop floor -- sloping from 4 feet on one side up to 5 feet on the other and put another 2 x 4 from one end to the other, using a pencil to mark the angle on all the studs. On one side wall, I have a 2 foot by 4 foot main door. On the other side, I have a 1 foot by 3 foot opening for a bump-out nesting area. I test fit the walls on the base pallet in the shop to make sure everything worked as they should. Once all the walls are constructed -- and tested for fit, they should be sheathed. I used a interlocking system so that my side walls were sheathed with 3 and a half inches extra on each side to connect to the corner studs on the short walls. The bump-out nesting box was made with 3/4 inch CSX plywood, glued (with exterior-grade wood glue) and nailed. I used a 2 x 4 ledger on the bottom, connecting the nesting box to the wall, and two 2 x 6 pieces to connect the sides of the nesting box to coop studs. I built the coop in modular format so that I could carry the floor, walls, and roof to the site on piece at a time -- and then simply assemble on site. The first step to final construction is creating a level base for the floor pallet. Once that is complete and the pallet placed. I started with the short wall and set it on the pallet with a few nails. I then placed the side wall with the nesting box in place and nailed it to the pallet and the short wall. I then added the other side wall, before attaching the final tall wall. Before adding the roof, I completed final nailing of all walls and attached several roosting shelves. Finally, I added a piece of plywood for the floor of the coop. The last step is adding the roof. You may need assistance with this task, as the roof component can be quite heavy. Once lifted and attached, you can shingle the roof. Then simply add your bedding material, waterer and feeder... and, of course, your chickens!
Final Thoughts on the Pallet Chicken CoopBecause of its size, this coop would also be ideal for raising pullets -- a pullets pallet coop! See more pictures of the Pallet Chicken Coop here.
Pallet Chicken Coop Construction List
Optional: Door handles and latching devices. We made most of these with scrap wood, but you could purchase these to speed the building process.
Authored by Hansen Woodland Farm owner, Dr. Randall Hansen. Besides a passion for forestry, Dr. Hansen is also founder of Quintessential Careers, the Web's most comprehensive career site, as well as CEO of EmpoweringSites.com, a network of sites with expert advice, tools, and resources to empower people to improve their lives. Visit his personal Website or check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.