Build your own Hen House
Chicken coup design. By Finbarr O Neill
I guess if you’re reading this then you are giving serious consideration to keeping chickens in your back yard. Well good for you. I was lucky really because I had a good knowledge of what to expect from my participation on the show. I have proven that for less than the cost of a night out I have built a chicken coup. It doesn’t take a genius and I hope you can follow my step by step guide easily.
First and foremost you need to decide the area of the garden that the coup will be situated and security is the most important factor. The chicken is a lovely curious creature and will scratch anywhere it is permitted to so think ahead and plan carefully. Dogs and foxes and cats all find chickens easy prey so they need to be protected. I have erected a small cage area for the chickens to scratch if I am away from home but otherwise they roam wherever they want ……
My design might not suit you so be creative with your own get help from the children if you are lucky enough to have some they have some great ideas on how it should be decorated.
Making something from pallets is difficult work it is not easy to split the timber from them without damaging either the timber or yourself so please be careful.
- Standard Pallets.
- Sheet of plywood WPB or Marine plywood 12mm minimum. 8ft by 4ft
Felt for the roof and the hatch at the rear
Approx 32 ft of 2” by 2” prepared timber
- sets of standard door hinges
8 ft of 4”by 4” treated post
5x70 and a few 100mm
Saw = Circular and jig both handy for this job
I have broken it down into three stage builds, a base, middle section and the roof section.
Step One. The base
Base size 3ft by two foot overall
1- Cut the 8ft post in four equal lengths. These are your supporting legs.
2 -Take 2 3ft lengths of pallet timber 4x1
3- Lay the timber posts onto the timber and screw in at the ends leaving a overlap for the side piece to slot in see example one
4 - take 2 2ft lengths of pallet timber and complet the frame
Repeat steps 2 to 4 again at the base but keep the timber about four inches from the base.
Cut a section of the plywood 3ft x 2ft and lay it onto the base and screw down
1, Measure and cut the 2x2 to make up the frame.
Remember the sides are mirror image so you might as well cut the lot together
All for the sides
The hatch piece depends on the pitch you put on the access door to collect the eggs.
It is simple to measure
If you make a mark 24” on one of the 28” side pieces and lay a piece of 2x2 from the mark to the 18” back upright and the 24” mark you have your line cut two of these.
Its always useful to drill pilot holes when joining two by two together it stops the ends splitting. I used 3.5 by 70 mm screws to join the frame together.
The next step is to line the side walls with the pallet timber keeping the frame on the inside and join together to make a three sided house.
Step three the roof
This is by far the easy bit
The height on the roof depends on the pitch you put on it
What I did was to cut a two by two on a chop saw making a triangle at 45 degrees then lined up my 2x2 frame pieces and screwed together.
Put in two cross braces along the bottom about three inches up from the bottom.
You will need two of these
Cut two strips of ply 28” by the length required to cover the house and screw to frame
Assemble all three parts and fill in any areas like gable with plywood. Put on the felt careful not to tear it and secure it well.
All that is left to do is install a perch for the chickens to rest on at night and sort out the shelf for the nesting shelf all of which is up to you.
And an access door on the face of the hutch makes sure it can be secured and also easy access for cleaning. Use the same principal with the construction of the door .All you need now is straw and chickens.
Best of luck with the build