Chicken Coop Confessions

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.

Ha. Hahahaha.

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.

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Aside from being a wannabe backyard homesteader who wrangles chickens and free-range kids, Loriel is the owner/creator of the professional natural lifestyle blog Naturally Loriel, owner of the organic spice blend business Naturally Free, and freelance professional food photographer.

'Chicken Coop Confessions' has 22 comments

  1. July 24, 2014 @ 12:49 pm Ma Kettle

    Very fancy! I love the roosting branches. You`ll be glad the coop is so big when you have to get inside for cleaning or to catch a hiding hen.


    • July 27, 2014 @ 5:45 pm Loriel

      Thank you! Yes, I think it will be really nice when it comes to cleaning. The best part is it’s big enough for my husband to stand so he has no excuse to not be able to clean it as well 🙂


      • February 22, 2017 @ 12:45 pm Gina

        A rolling stone is worth two in the bush, thanks to this arcilte.


  2. July 24, 2014 @ 11:40 pm Nikala

    Love it! Looks straight from pinterest. My coop is 8x8x8 (when you marry a carpenter, he makes it so there is the LEAST amount of cutting of plywood and wasting of material. I could dream about chicken coops all day. One day, ONE day, we will have a b&b with a giant gorgeous chicken coop with to many chickens to keep track of! Until then, I’ll stick to my little 8×8 coop!


    • July 27, 2014 @ 5:46 pm Loriel

      Thank you!! That future plan sounds amazing! I hope it happens for you soon. 🙂


      • February 22, 2017 @ 12:58 pm Marilee

        That’s really shdrew! Good to see the logic set out so well.


  3. July 27, 2014 @ 11:38 am Mary O

    I always say better too big than too small. Gives you room for storage, room to grow, and your girls will be far less likely to bicker and get plucky with the extra space. I always give my hubby a graphed out plan with dimensions and then watch like a hawk to make sure it’s done right because he will always cut corners and try to save a buck. I always tell him that in the need it’s cheaper to do it right than it is to do it over. 😉


    • July 27, 2014 @ 5:49 pm Loriel

      HAHA! I should have done that as well. Things may have been a little more according to “plan.” I do love that it gives us room to grow and let’s the ladies feel not as cramped. However, that being said, I don’t think they’ve slept on the roosts in the coop once yet. We have to start training them so they can make use of the spacious palace they have. 🙂


  4. July 31, 2014 @ 3:38 am Barbra

    Omg, I did nearly the same thing! I had” baby” chicks in a brooder IN MY LIVINGROOM until the little darlings were big enough to stick their heads out the top and look around! They’ve moved into a mostly completed Cluckingham Palace. I wholeheartedly agree, EVERYTHING should be painted prior to assembly, my coop wire is a sloppy mess. All that being said, I love my beautiful coop.


    • July 31, 2014 @ 9:08 am Loriel

      LOL, ahhh, the lesson we learn in life. 🙂 My motto should be #PaintEverythingBeforeYouAssemble


  5. July 31, 2014 @ 1:36 pm Laura Weymouth

    This is too funny! I also coerced my hubby into building me a chicken run this spring. Fortunately, we’d found a completely decent coop for sale by the roadside over winter. It was only $200 and very comfortably houses 10 birds. We couldn’t have built it for that cheap. The run itself we did build, and had the same experience as you…it just kept getting more and more expensive! I did manage to hold off on ordering chicks till it was mostly finished, so there was no stress related to large chickens living in my home while their run sat incomplete. From start to finish our project took a month, but it was well worth it.

    I highly recommend coop-training your chickies! I did it when I first moved them to the coop and it’s made my life so much easier. Of course it also helps that we have an accidental rooster who’s turned out to be an absolute sweetheart and takes extremely good care of the girls, herding them around for me 😉


    • July 31, 2014 @ 6:30 pm Loriel

      Love it! It would have been nice to find a coop as well but I was impatient and I saw a picture and thought, “I want my coop to look like that.” If only I had realized how much money it was going to take! 🙂 That’s so cool about your rooster. We aren’t allowed to have roosters in my area so I’m hoping none of my girls are actually “he’s.” Thanks for sharing your experience!


  6. August 22, 2014 @ 10:42 pm Lori

    It’s funny, I have also seen this picture and wanted to model our coop after it, too!


    • August 24, 2014 @ 5:11 pm Loriel

      It’s such a pretty coop, how could you not want something like that?


  7. August 28, 2014 @ 8:17 pm Sophie Lafleche

    Oh. my. god. Loriel! Too funny because that is EXACTLY what my fiance and I are going through. We just can’t seem to find a plan that we like or that is the right size etc. And the picture of the “eggplant” coop is one of my very favorites too. And my fiance likes to come up with his own ideas even after I have tried to explain what I would like 🙂 In my case he is the contractor, the engineer and the worker LOL.

    Having never built a coop or even really seen one (except for large chicken barns), designing it is a challenge to say the least. We are actually going to try to build a Tractor Coop 🙂 We unfortunately don’t have the space to do something as large as the “eggplant” model.


    • August 29, 2014 @ 3:57 pm Loriel

      OMG! That IS funny Sophie. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse to have the contractor, engineer, and worker all wrapped up in one. LOL. I hope you guys settle on something and you’re both happy with the final result. At least you’ll have a good story to tell. 🙂


  8. October 3, 2014 @ 11:54 am Naturally Loriel / There's No Such Thing as a Free Egg - Naturally Loriel

    […] Although you try and forget how much money you put into building your chicken coop, you have to add the grand you spent on the tally sheet. …. Yeah, you can read more about my chicken coop confessions here. […]


  9. December 30, 2014 @ 10:23 am Naturally Loriel / Naturally Loriel's Best of 2014 - Naturally Loriel

    […] always funny reading about someone else’s mistakes which is why I think this post is in the top 10 this year. From spending WAY too much money on building a coop, to not having the […]


  10. June 5, 2015 @ 3:44 pm Kendra

    We are in the midst of this right now. A coop from scratch and a budget that has been thrown out the window. Seriously, why is hardware cloth so freaking expensive?! And yeah, we didn’t paint first. That ought to be fun…


    • June 5, 2015 @ 5:22 pm Loriel

      LOL! All I have to say is GOOD LUCK and I know you how you feel.


  11. June 8, 2015 @ 4:04 pm Katrina

    I was almost lucky when it came to our build. Our garden shed was a “L” shape, and we built into the crook. One wall for the girls is windows (from the existing shed) which helps with circulation. We have the coop above the run, and we are considering building out another run attached to the first build. I have to agree with painting prior to attaching, as I have three sets of jeans now paint splattered from me climbing in and out of the coop. I have two roost that aren’t as nice as yours, but the girls all prefer the roost nearest to the windows. They do jockey for the “best” spot, right above the trap door. One of my girls will let everyone know if she isn’t “her spot” with her chortling. If your girls haven’t learned how to use the roosts, go in there with them near dusk and place them on it. They will get the idea and do it on their own.


  12. March 9, 2018 @ 10:43 am Maureen Jones

    I love your set up and totally respect what you are doing. We are in the planning stages of our coop-building…can I see some more pictures of the other sides of the outside of your coop? It would really be helpful. Thanks so much!!


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