The Palace Chicken Coop: Free Chicken Coop Plan

Hey guys! It’s Scott’s (my husband…otherwise known as the “.com” of Steamy Kitchen) first post! ~Jaden

When Jaden brought home 5 fluffy new friends in July of last year, I knew a chicken coop was in our future. I wanted to design and build it myself as a fun exciting project. Little did I realize that 5 months go by very quickly when you move into a new house! When November 1st popped up on the calender, we had less than 2 months before we were expecting fresh eggs for breakfast.

When I first started doing research on our new coop I spent a great deal of time on Back Yard Chickens looking for ideas and suggestions. We owe a great deal of credit to the people who were willing to share their coop photos. All of them gave me tips, ideas and inspiration. We are grateful for their willingness to share their passion and work. Our girls would not have such a lovely home if it were not for the sharing of these people!

In that spirit, I wanted to create a pictorial showing how we made our coop. If you have any questions on how something was done, please ask and I will try to answer to the best of my ability.


Free Chicken Coop Plan for The Palace

Design Phase

We wanted to make sure our coop met the following requirements:

  1. It had to be aesthetically appealing as it would be highly visible.
  2. Easy cleaning and maintenance (including being able to stand inside & have easy access to clean coop).
  3. Sturdy to handle those occasional tropical storm conditions here in Florida.
  4. Designed to use Deep Litter Method in coop and run.
  5. Resistant to Summer Rain Flooding that occurs in that part of the yard.
  6. Good ventilation and air movement.
  7. With adequate room for 5-7 hens (I figured we would be adding one or two later wink.png).

I probably spent the better part of two weeks of late night web surfing to gather ideas and develop a plan of attack. I checked, double checked and cross referenced everything from space per bird requirements, Deep Litter Method (DLM), nesting box sizes, roost length, building codes, roofing solutions, predator proofing, waterproofing, drainage ideas, working with concrete, to using explosive nailers. I must admit the internet is a wonderful tool.

At this point I would like to add my *** Disclaimer ***: I am not, nor have I ever been an architect nor structural engineer. The plans and designs I created are from my understandings of things required to meet the objectives of my coop. They have not been approved by a certified engineer to meet certain hurricane, earthquake, volcanic, flooding, nuclear blast or other natural disaster sized forces. While every effort to make a safe environment for our chickens, some things may have been overlooked as we are novice chicken coop builders. Please note that no chicken was harmed during the making of this coop and all testing was done in very controlled manner were no chicken was ever placed in danger. 

I spent a fair amount of time looking for plans online. It seemed I was unable to located any free plans that seemed to meet what we needed. So I decided to use Google’s 3D modelling tool SketchUp to create a working model for our coop. It allowed me to spin the diagram in any direction and adjust it as I saw fit. It did take a while to get used to it, but the time spent in the learning curve was more than worth it during the construction phase. I can send you two files from SketchUp with the plans for the coop if you are interested. The first is the rough framing, while the second is the finished framing after the hardware cloth is installed. Please leave a comment or send me a private message and I will email them to you.


Click here for a zip file containing the SketchUp plans

*** Special Note *** – In the sketchup files, please note all lumber is depicted as true 2 inch by 4 inch. In reality, lumber from a mill is rough cut to 2×4 and then finished down to a smaller size. Usually 1.5″ x 3.25″ inches. That means you will need to adjust lengths of the 2×4’s to compensate.

You must download and install Google’s SketchUp program for these files to work. Google SketchUp is a free program that you can download (make sure you download the correct file for your operation system (Mac or Windows).


Designing the Chicken Coop


I decided on the following features for our coop:

  • 5 – 7 egg laying hens (standard size)
  • 10 sq ft of run space per bird
  • 3 sq ft of coop space per bird
  • 1 ft of roost rail per bird
  • 1 nesting box per 3 birds
  • sloped coop and nesting box floors for water drainage during clean outs
  • sloped metal over wood roof that added stability as well as way to gather rain water.
  • minimum 6 ft height so I could stand up inside.
  • strength of construction to ensure durability and stability
  • easy access doors for cleaning as well as egg harvesting
  • raised foundation to help prevent flooding
  • 1/2″ hardware cloth used for screening


The entire structure is 12 ft by 6 ft. The coop measures 4 ft by 6 ft. The roof has a 1 ft overhang on all sides which gives us a 14 ft by 8 ft roof. The coop floor is approximately 30 inches above the run floor.


Chicken Coop Foundation Phase

One of the biggest concerns I had was dealing with the potential flooding of the area surrounding the chicken coop. This past summer we had so much rain that the ground in the area became completely saturated. The ground was like a sponge and when you walked on it, you would sink an inch and water would flow around your boots. There was a concrete pad already poured where we wanted to build the coop, but we wanted to use that for a future shed or work area for the garden that is part of the same area. I made the decision to pour a footer attached to the existing pad to build the coop up on. This would raise the coop about 6 inches higher leaving room for drainage, even if the ground became completely saturated again.

It’s important during this step to make sure everything is square and level. After framing the footer I added rebar and drainage stones to help facilitate water flowing out of the chicken coop.

I mixed and poured the concrete using a mixer rented from Home Depot. If you’re wondering, the footer was 6 feet wide by 12 feet long and 6 inches across. The 24 linear feet took over 1/2 ton of concrete. Mix it with a mixer, or better yet, call a concrete company and have them deliver your required concrete premixed. Your back will thank you!

When I went to remove the forms, I noticed this in the concrete.

It seems Jaden let the chickens out some time after I poured the cement before it had cured sufficiently. I found the guilty party not to far away with her concrete shoes. Even to this day she is claiming her innocence and blames it on Chicken Little.

Before I poured the concrete I had inserted a four foot section pvc pipe on the lowest part of the coop. I cut, drilled and assembled pvc pipe to act as a drain if a sever downpour occurred. The holes are about 2 inches apart.

Another view of drainage system.

I ordered a 1/2 cubic yard of gravel and a cubic yard of sand from a local aggregate company. They were kind enough to deliver it right to my driveway much cheaper than buying a huge number of bags at the local home improvement store (not to mention the numerous trips it would have taken to carry the weight). I used the gravel to build up the floor of the coop. Later it will be covered with weed prevention cloth and then the sand will be added. This put the “floor” of the coop at least six inches higher than the surrounding ground. Hopefully this will keep the ladies’ feet dry.


Chicken Coop Framing Phase

Framing was new to me. I had a general idea on how things were supposed to go, but no real framing experience. I did spend some time looking for nailing requirements and and how best to secure the coop to the foundation. During this research I came across a great deal of information on basic framing. I printed out images from the sketch-up and used them as a reference to cut all of the framing pieces. After cutting, the family pitched in to help pre-stain all the pieces. We used a good water sealant stain and made sure we had good coverage on all the pieces, especially the ones that would have direct contact with the concrete.

I was fortunate enough to have family help stain the wood.

The process of cutting and staining all the pieces took much longer than anticipated. Painting or staining after assembly might have been easier and faster. Might be something to consider.

Framing took several days. Keep in mind if you are working by yourself use numerous clamps and braces to keep everything where it is supposed to be.

After getting the initial walls and roof beams up, I used a powder activated nailer to secure the kick plates to the concrete putting a fastener about every foot. Probably more than I needed, but I was enjoying the process so a few extra fasteners never hurt. I had to vary the loads of powder if I was nailing into the concrete pad or the footer.

And another view from the opposite side. From this angle it is a little easier to see the coop floor is tilted towards the side where the door will go.

I cut the coop floor from plywood and then started installing the 1/2″ hardware cloth.

It’s a pretty straight forward job of measuring, cutting and then installing the hardware cloth. I used an automatic stapler to secure the cloth to the framing. Later it will be sandwiched between the framing and the finish framing piece. An automatic staple gun is an absolute must during this phase.

I then installed the finish framing pieces that were designed to hold the cloth in place.

These pieces help secure the cloth on the inside of the coop.

I also installed the roof sheathing at this time to help keep some of the rain out. I left some of the finish framing pieces off till after installing the walls.


Framed out where the hen door was going.

And also the nesting boxes. The boxes themselves measure about 14 inches across, 16 inches tall and 12 inches deep. You can’t tell from the picture, but the floor of the nesting boxes is tilted towards the coop so water will flow out when cleaning. Notice the gap between floor of nesting box and the retaining board. You can also see the sloped coop floor pretty well in this picture. Also note that the nesting boxes are up about 6 inches off the floor to allow for the DLM.

Chicken Coop General Construction Phase

I picked up some very inexpensive vinyl flooring tiles from the local home improvement store. They were quick and easy to install and hopefully will help when cleaning out the coop.

Here is a picture of the removable stopper blocks.

And with them removed as if we were cleaning the coop out.

Built and mounted the main access door.

Other side of door.

I also built the access ramp.

It is secured using four eye bolts. The two on the bottom of the ramp have been cut using a hack saw to make hooks. The ramp can be removed and washed off with a hose. I didn’t install this till after I had the walls up on the coop, but I wanted to show it to you here.


Building the Coop Phase

The coop walls are built with simple siding sheets found at Lowes. They are shiplap boards that have an overlapping edge on them. I decided to build the panel, install them on the coop, trim and then stain the boards. Most of the trim pieces are 1 x 4 strip. I choose the strip over the normal 1 x 4 boards because they were much cheaper and already had the rounded edge. Surprisingly the strip boards actually had very few knots and were fairly straight. I had to cut two of the finish framing pieces to install the ventilation and siding above the coop door. I had forgotten the roof would hang down and interfere with the door opening. Using a skill saw set at the appropriate depth this wasn’t a major issue.

I also secured a 2×4 to act as my door stop as well as my support for the siding. The ventilation holes were created using a 2″ hole saw and covered with 1/2″ hardware cloth.

Next, I built the coop door and trimmed it.

Here is a close up of the back of the door showing the hardware cloth sandwiched between siding and trim pieces.

Then installed it on the coop.

Then the same process for the rest of the sides.

Back coop wall installed.

Nesting box side.

Chicken ramp side wall.

Stained inside and out. Seems Nathan decided he liked to pretend he was a hen checking out the new coop.

Built the nesting box cover out of siding and some trim pieces I had laying around. I used an extra trim piece that will attach to the wall to create an overhang. Hopefully this will help reduce or eliminate water leaking into the coop from the nesting boxes. I will also put weather sealing around the rim to help make it water tight. There is also a lip on the bottom of the siding around the nesting boxes, but it might be hard to see in this picture.

Installed the missing finish framing pieces under the coop. This is a good view of where the concrete pad and footing are connected. Using the pre-existing pad helped reduce the amount of concrete in this project. The coop height also gives the chicken’s adequate headroom.


Chicken Coop Run Floor Phase

I put weed block cloth down to prevent weeds from growing up through the floor and more importantly, preventing the sand from washing down through the rocks. It will also allow water to seep through into the drainage system.

Put sand around the edges to hold it in place.

Then I moved this cubic yard of sand…

Into the coop. In the end I think I ended up with a little less than 6 inches of base sand on top of a four inch rock base.


Chicken Coop Roof Phase

Built and painted the gutter. At fourteen feet, the gutter was going to be multiple pieces. It was pretty straight forward as far as assembly goes, but it did give me reason to pick up a pop-rivet tool. I always enjoy picking up new tools! big_smile.png

Installed it on the edge of the coop. I debated about building wedges to make the gutter parallel with the ground, but decided the 10 degree difference between roof and ground could be accounted for in the mounting. When I mounted the gutter to the coop I realized the lower end would be below the drip edge from the roof. I cut a piece of aluminum from the unused portion of gutter and painted it. It was installed overlapping the back of the gutter but will be under the drip edge from the roof.

Then I papered the roof and put down the 1×4 stripping to give breathing room.

Following a suggestion from this post on how to install a metal roof, I laid the metal roof out on the lawn to determine where the ribs would be in comparison to where the edge would be. I trimmed the roof on both side edges to ensure I would not have a rib where the edging would be.

Then installed the roofing on the coop. If you have never installed any type of roofing, plan for some extra time in this step. Be careful and think safety. Winds can be dangerous when handling these large metal sheets and the edges are very sharp.


Chicken Coop Finishing Details

The final stretch was finishing the nesting boxes and installing the roost bar. The chickens seemed to enjoy the temporary bar I was using for their roost, so I rounded the edges a little and left it unstained. No real reason why, I just liked it that way. I also think it was easier for the chickens to see. Seems they were having trouble accurately judging a stained one I had in there during hours of low light.


I used some trim pieces to give the nesting boxes a little more cozy feel. I am pretty sure the girls didn’t care one way or the other, but I like the look of them with the trim in place.

Here’s a view from the outside showing the trim pieces. My wife and kids added the fake wooden eggs to give the girls a hint of what they are supposed to do and where to do it.

Built and installed the coop door. The rope is pulled from the front to open the door and is hooked on to a cleat to keep it open. We leave it open most of the time, closing it during very windy  or cold nights. I used some furniture slides on the door inside the track to help it move easily.

Close up of the door. When the door is closed it does extend a bit below the door opening to help prevent little racoon fingers from trying to open the door (in theory at least).

Here is the cleat for holding the door open.

We also hung a little child’s rake on the outside and use this to help turn under the poop or spread new wood chips in the coop. Very handy!

We moved the girls in and they seem very happy.

You can read about our first egg-perience here: Our First Egg.

And here is one of the recipes she used our fresh eggs in: Crepes with Salted Lemon Butter Caramel.


Lessons Learned from Building Chicken Coop

  1. Double check length of your lumber, especially the longer pieces. The 12 foot and 14 foot pieces I got from the store were longer by almost two inches. Without catching this, the coop would not have fit on the footer.
  2. When squaring the footer use either the 3-4-5 triangle method or diagonal corner method. Both of these methods assume that your opposite sides are equal in length for the rectangle to be square.
  3. Getting help framing is always nice. Having an extra pair of hands makes holding things in place much easier. If you are going it alone, then don’t hesitating in generous use of clamps and temporary alignment guides.
  4. The chicken coop ramp’s rungs are made of 1×2 on 6 inch centers. The girls seem to skate down between rungs, maybe a little closer together would have been better. They don’t seem to mind and go in and out the coop all the time. I’ll keep an eye on this to see if it becomes an issue. If you are moving your chickens when they are smaller, then build a ramp with closer rungs. After they mature you can swap out the ramps.
  5. I did add a removable board across the coop door to hold the shavings in when we open the door. It’s held in place by a piece of 1×2 on each side of the coop and it slides up for removal.
  6. Don’t think that because someone works at a big box home supply store they know everything you need. I ran into issues when ordering the roof for the coop. I went in and asked their special projects desk person for assistance in ordering everything I needed for an 8 x 14 foot metal roof. After I picked up all the parts I went online to the manufactures web site to see if they had any special instructions. After finding their installation guide, I quickly realized I was missing half the parts required to complete the roof they way I had explained it to the salesperson. It’s better to take some time and research exactly what you will need before you go to the store than it is having to wait 2 more weeks to get the rest of the parts delivered.
  7. Pre-drilling holes for nails and screws makes things much easier when you are working on top of a ladder.
  8. If you have young children like we do who want to collect eggs from the nesting boxes, then top opening boxes may not be the best bet. We had to put a step stool out by the coop so the kids could open the boxes and reach the eggs. I wouldn’t lower the boxes any, but I might consider making a back door instead of the top opening. Just a thought.
  9. I love the slanting floors of the nesting boxes and the coop. Remember to factor that slope in when building your walls. Double check all your measurements and calculations. Also installing the walls is another great time to ask for a little assistance.


I’m really happy how things are going so far. I’ll keep you posted as we progress.


Free Chicken Coop Plan: Download the Google SketchUp Files

Click here for a zip file containing the SketchUp plans

You must download and install Google’s SketchUp program for these files to work. Google SketchUp is a free program that you can download (make sure you download the correct file for your operation system (Mac or Windows).

Comments 354

    1. gary

      Thanks for the great write up and plan!!! Built the coop last week that is virtually identical only larger in size. I really appreciate the attention to detail that you provided. My daughter and her family are a very happy group thanks to your generosity in sharing the plans. All the best.

      1. Post
        1. Pat

          help, I downloaded the sketchup program but how do I download the plan???? Please help.


      2. Samy

        Hello, was wondering if plans could be emailed and if you would be willing to do that. Thank you, Samy

      3. JoAnn Burton

        Hi Jaden
        I Love this coop design!
        I downloaded Sketch up and was not able to open the files, said the were not sketch up files… Can you email them to me? Im picking up my chicks new week and need to get going…
        Thank you

    2. jennifer

      I prepared the design of a chicken coop which is similar to your coop. In my coop design, I am not able to place nest boxes in my coop. Could you please tell me where have you placed the nest boxes. I mean off the ground or on the ground level.

      1. Scott

        Our Nest boxes are approximately 8 inches of the floor of the coop area to allow the use of Deep Litter Method. More specifically, they are on the outside wall so that we can access them without going into the coop. If you look at the very top picture on the post, the nesting boxes are on the far right side, just below the window. The top of the box opens for easy access. Nesting boxes should always be above the coop floor but lower the roosting bar or else the chickens will sleep in the nesting boxes and they will become full of chicken manure.

  1. Emily

    Could you e-mail the plans to me please i cant seem to get them! this is wonderful by the way i love how it turned out!

    1. Post

      Emily – right at the end of the post – there is a link to download the zip files for Sketchup plans. Just click that link!

  2. Casey Barks

    This looks like an awesome chicken coop. I have decided to attempt building a chicken coop; however, I have almost no experience building things. Is this something someone new to “construction” can complete? Or would I be over my head in attempting this as my first big project? My husband will be able to help me some, but he isn’t home a lot so I think the majority of construction would fall to me. Thanks!!!

  3. Chris Martin

    Do you happen to have a materials list for this coop? It is awesome but I wanted to know roughly how much money I was looking at for materials.


  4. Charlie

    Just need to know what type metal roof panels you used and where you bought them. I clicked on the link ‘How to build a metal roof’ and it ‘did’ go to a website, but there was no such article on it. I already have a chicken yard built, but need to add the covering over it (12′ x 25′). Can you help me?

    1. Scott

      I bought the roof from Lowes as a special order. They have several styles to choose from and can help put together all the pieces you will need. I will look into the link issue shortly.

      1. Bruce Kimbrew


        I only see the framing plans and they don’t have dimensions I am sure it’s an issue with the program I have downloaded. Can you send me PDF’s by chance? I am really excited about starting the project and so happy you are willing to share it’s a great looking coop.

        1. Scott

          Unfortunately I do not have the plans in PDF form. There is measuring tape tool in SketchUp that I used when building the coop (or at least there was in the version I used). Let me know if you can’t find it.


        2. Ken P

          Can you E-mail me PDF’s by chance? I am really excited about starting the project and so happy you are still willing to share??It’s a great looking coop. I will modify as per some of the above suggestions. Manley a little smaller version, 2-4 hens.

          Thank You

  5. Andrew


    Thank you so much for the response. It is a little difficult to tell from the pictures, but did you use solid or semi-transparent? Also, do you recommend the oil or latex base? Thanks again for all the great detail. It is very much appreciated.



  6. LInda Lalum

    The coop is beautifully built. Perfect detail. Congrats. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. I’m unable to use Sketch-up, would you be so kind as to forward plans via email. Thanks! L.

    1. Post
    1. Scott

      Cost of the project can range depending on the materials used, and if you used reclaimed items. If going with new materials it can pricey, upwards of $1000 or more. Choice of siding and roofing material being the biggest cost items. Going with reclaimed wood can reduce the cost associated with the project dramatically.

  7. John

    Great coop, and I was able to download the plans. I can’t find anywhere that has a materials list. Could you send it to me?

    1. Scott

      – I didn’t put together a materials list for the full project yet. I can give you some ballpark figures from what I remember:
      2 – 14′ 2×4’s
      6 – 12′ 2×4’s
      50 – 8′ 2×4’s
      9 – 92″ 2×4 wall studs for roof beams.
      ~20 – 8′ 1×2 furring strips (cheaper than normal 1×2’s)
      ~30 – 8′ 1×4 furring strips for trim work and roof (these were had rounded edges and were cheaper.)
      1 – 3/4″ 4’x8′ plywood for floor
      4 – 1/2″ 4’x8′ plywood for roof sheathing
      6 – 4’x8′ shipboard siding (a lot was wasted and could have been used for nesting boxes.)
      4 – 3/4″ 16″x48″ craft boards for nesting boxes.
      1 – 6′ 1×10 for ramp
      1 – 1/4″ 2’x2′ plywood board for door.
      1 roll of 3′ wide 1/2″ hardware cloth.
      3 rolls of 2′ wide 1/2″ hardware cloth.
      6 large hinges for doors and nesting box cover
      6 small hinges for window covers.
      2 heavy duty latches for doors
      4 buckle hinges for window covers and nesting box latches
      10′ small link black chain
      6 small snap latches to keep door locks closed and window covers open.
      2 metal plant hangers for feed and water
      4 metal eye hooks for chicken ramp
      5 larger metal eyes for door rope guides
      15′ small white rope
      Various gutter pieces to make 14′ gutter with downspout and end caps.
      10 – gutter mounting clamps.

      1/2 cubic yard of granite rock for sub floor
      1 cubic yard of sand for run floor
      1 role of 3′ wide weed barrier cloth

      linoleum for coop and nesting box floor

      16d Galvanized Nails for framing
      10d Galvanized Nails for toe nailing framing
      8d Galvanized Nails for joining 2×4’s together back to back

      1 3/4″ Outdoor screws to join trim and plywood to 2×4’s
      2 1/2″ Outdoor screws to join 2×4’s together (eg to sandwich hardware cloth)
      1 3/4″ Galvanized Roofing Nails

      pop-rivets for gutter

      Gutter sealant
      2 cans spray paint for gutter
      paint for coop

      roof material and parts.

      *** I’m sure I have overlooked some of the parts. Use nails for framing as they are good against shearing and use screws where you want to pull things together tightly like out framing and walls to studs. If your husband is proficient toe nailer then the roofing beam plates I used aren’t needed.

      1. Mary

        we want to use your plan for a coop located at a preschool. How complete is your supply list?
        we are attempting to cost it out and purchase materials, I would appreciate any information you can provide.
        Thank you,

        1. Scott

          Mary, the supply list is fairly accurate. If costs are an issue, I would suggest removing the metal roof and use a cheaper substitute like shingles. Also look for a reclaimed building materials or architectural salvage store. Often times you can find cheaper materials with much more character there. Using reclaimed wall studs can be beneficial.

          – Scott

          1. cody

            scott. i was wanting to know how you extended the 2×4’s on the roof past the 2x4x12 out the the outer edge 2x4x14. did you just use toe nailing method to attach the extended roofing out the outer 2x4x14? i really appreciate your time

          2. Scott

            Cody, all of the roof rafters are 8 foot in length and will extend 1 foot past the walls on both sides. I didn’t use a wall header and just ran the roof rafters across from the wall uprights. You will see a picture that shows some of the rafters in place while I was building the walls. The piece along the top of the wall that runs the length of the coop is actually smaller pieces nailed in to the wall upright and rafter using both straight and toe nailing. The larger 2x4x14 is nailed straight into the end of the rafters. I decided to make the top of the wall this way to ensure there were no large gaps at the top off the wall and the roof to help prevent critters getting in the coop. Hope that explains it better. – Scott

    2. Pat

      Please help, I have downloaded both the zip files and the sketchup program…how do I marry the two? I have tried forever and cannot get anything but errors about incorrect path. If you got this to work how did you do it? Please help and thank you for your assistance.

  8. Tony Serio

    Can you please send me the plans of this coop in your pdf file instead of the sketchup. We have chickens inbound this coming June and I want to start building a coop. Your design looks great and looks reasonable to build. I may have to expand the measurements just a bit as we are getting 9 chickens.

    1. Post
  9. Andrew Gomme

    Can you send me the plans in a PDF format.
    Thank you
    I am going to start the project next week.
    Will send you photos when finished.

    1. Post
  10. Laurie

    Jaden and Scott, I think we will have a flock of 10 and want the ladies to have plenty of room. As we have hawks, eagles, raccoons and fox, they will not have the run of the yard unless we are out with them, would you double the size of the coop? Also, building in Denver, CO so drainage is not an issue. Would you still recommend a concrete foundation? Thanks!

    1. Scott

      Laurie, The general rule of thumb for run space is approximately 7 square feet per bird. If they are Bantam’s you can go a little less. If you’re planning on giving them little yard time, you might want to increase it a little bit. Maybe instead of a 6′ x 12′ footprint, increase it to 8′ x 12′ footprint. The footing on our coop serves two purposes. One, like you mention, is to combat the higher water levels the area can get. But the other, and one that applies to your area, would be for predator protection. Raccoons, foxes and animals will try to dig into the coop. The footer prevents them for getting under, or at least a lot more effort is involved. You can also go with other means of protection like burying 12″ x 12″ x 1″ concrete paving stones in a vertical position beneath a layer of cinderblocks, or you can use a thick wire mesh or fence laid horizontally outward from under your base so when critters try to dig under they will run into it. Do not use chicken wire for this as it will fail over time. This type of protection is always easiest to install before the coop is built on top. Adding predator protection after the matter can be tough.

  11. Rick

    Hi im not to good on the computer but good with plans. Is there anyway to get the plans emailed to me. And what is the cost

  12. Bailee

    We are pricing out building a slightly larger coop but with the same design. Do you have an estimate on your costs?

    1. Scott

      With all new lumber, siding, metal roof and concrete work this coop cost between $1,200 and $1,800. I also had to purchase a few new tools to help with building. Biggest expenses are the metal roof and the siding. Going with alternatives to these can really cut your cost.

  13. Melissa

    I am unable to open the plans to print. I was wondering if you could please email me a file wih the plans.

    1. Post

      Hi Melissa – Those are the only format we have. It’s in Google Sketchup, so you will need to download Sketchup to open it.

  14. Zak

    I downloaded the SketchUp files and can open them. If they’re available, how do I view the measurements in this? Thanks!!!

  15. Paul


    Great design! I finished most of the framing today. Can you please tell me how much clearance you used on the doors with hinges (main, coop)?

    How are the linoleum tiles holding up? Would you use linoleum sheet instead?

    1. Post

      Hi Paul! I’ll let Scott answer re: clearance. As for the linoleum tile, they’ve started coming up – I think that even though the bedding is dry, our weather here in Florida is so darn humid that the tiles give up. We cleaned out the coop last month for Spring cleaning, and saw a couple of tiles come up. But it’s an easy fix, we still have a box of the tile, so we can just replace any that pop up. This might be easier than trying to replace an entire sheet.

  16. brandie

    could you please email me your plans? I downloaded them & the google sketch program, but I cannot get it open.

  17. Debora Cadene

    Hey guys. I’m building this coop, and am pretty excited about it. I have the walls up, as well as the roof. I just need to shingle it. I am ready to start framing in the hen house floor, and am thinking ahead to the nesting boxes. In the last picture in your Chicken coop framing section, you have a picture that shows the nesting boxes from inside the hen house. You note that the nesting boxes are up about 6 inches off the floor to allow for the DLM……..what is DLM? and why didn’t you just put the nesting boxes flush with the floor? I’m also wondering if you may have written down, or shown us readers, how you cut and built the nesting boxes.
    Thanks bunches and your coop is awesome!!

    Debora Cadene

    1. Post

      Hi Debora-

      DLM is “Deep Litter Method” – which is the pine shavings (or other bedding). The bedding is about 6″ deep, so you want the boxes to be level or at least a little higher than the bedding. Scott might have photos on the nesting boxes build- he’ll check for you later this morning.

      1. Debora Cadene

        Thanks Jaden. Having the dimensions, will fill in a few other blanks for me, and I can put my uprights in. My coop is only 5 x 10, but I made the hen house 4 x 5, so even though I ‘m only “planning” on a maximum of 3- 5 birds, I thought 3 nesting boxes would be better then 2…or would 2 be fine?

        1. Post
  18. Stacy Boncheff

    What a wonderful job you have done creating this site. I like Scott said in his post have been spending countless hours researching what I wanted to build and ended up with 4 candidates. I put them all in a spreadsheet with pictures and did some quick calculations and made comparisons to recommended space needs for coops and runs. I then allowed my wife to take a look at the 4 candidates and pick her choice on aesthetics. Well in the end you guessed it, your coop won out for me.

    I then downloaded the Sketchup program and played around with it, figured out I didn’t know what the heck I was doing then went to the tutorials. After I got more comfortable with the program, I realized I was going to be in some trouble since by nature I am a perfectionist. What I noticed is the lumber measurements given in Sketchup all are based on 2X4s being actually 2″ X 4″ which they are not since they are 1.5″ X 3.5″. So I then went and checked all dimensions and found the same everywhere.

    So I have a few questions.
    1. Have you developed any other plans and if so, could you send me everything you have including any other pictures or details others may have submitted.
    2. Has anyone noticed this and modified the Sketchup drawings.
    3. As i proceed to building this, are you available by email to answer any questions or do I need to just post here.

    Again, wonderful job with the write up and the design. And just wanted to say one thing I noticed. This has obviously become a big part of your life and I am extremely impressed how you have kept answering people’s questions for years and supported this wonderful hobby of ours. You guys are the best and I really appreciate the family atmosphere exhibited in the write up and your responses. Don’t see that a lot anymore in this world.

    1. Ken


      If you will download the Engineering Toolbox Plugin for Sketchup you can get the actual lumber dimensions instead of the nominal dimension.

      I needed this because I’m taking Scott’s AWESOME coop design and adding a few extras that I have found that I like from other similar coop designs.

      1) The bottom of the actual coop is a full slide out tray for easy cleaning.
      2) Feeding and watering systems that are accessed outside the actual coop.

  19. LeAnn

    Hi. I am new to raising chickens and have searched everywhere for free coop plans. I like your plan and downloaded both Google sketchup and your plans to my Mac but cannot open them. Can you email them to me please? Thanks.

  20. Wayne

    can you please e-mail me the plans to build this awesome looking hen house, thanks in advance.

    1. Post
  21. zener

    I’m zener from France. Congratulations for this nice chicken coop.
    I’ll start building mine based on your plans in few days.

    I have a question regarding the fundations. Is the chicken coop structure (frame) fixed on the concrete fundations you’ve created ?

    Thanks for your help

  22. Pat

    I also have trouble with that sketch up program. It says no longer windows vista compatible…it won’t load on my IPAD either and I really want to build this…is there any way you can forward this plan so I can try to print it in some other compatible format? Please send it via: [email protected].

    I appreciate your assistance.


    1. Post
  23. Sr. doler culo

    The major problem with this set of plans is the measurements call for a literal 2×4 . Guess what, a 2×4 is really 1.5″x 3.25″, this is standard and is what lumber yards carry in stock across the entire country. So in reality this entire plan is nonsense and only serves as general idea . People cannot use any of your measurements here , unless they custom mill an actual 2×4. Thanks buddy my wife made all the cuts you recommended and wasted a lot of boards , creating a nightmare of reconfiguration for me to deal with to salvage the wood.

    1. Scott

      I’m sorry you ran into challenges using our plans for making a chicken coop. I am the first to admit I am not an architect (as mentioned in the disclaimer!). And used the sketch-up tool to create the rough pans for me. I shared them here because so many people had asked for them. It was intended to be used to generate ideas and put together a coop similar. While constructing the coop, most of my cuts were made after measuring the required length on the coop itself. Just as an example, the base of my coupe is actually 6′ 1″ due to the tie in to the older concrete pad that I didn’t want to crack when nailing in the footers. It sounds like you found a way to adapt the coop to your situation. I will add a note to the post saying the sketch-up diagrams are using literal 2×4’s and lengths need to be adjusted accordingly. What cuts did I recommend, because I want to make sure there is an appropriate note by them?

  24. Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog

    Just love this post! What an informative and detailed tutorial! We recently purchased a home and I’m getting ready to do a post about our backyard dreams (which include building a chicken coop) later this week and I’d like to include a photo of Chicken Coop with a link back to this post with your permission. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at thejohnsonsplusdog at gmail dot com.

  25. Vicente . Rubianes

    Before I start I want to say by way of apology, and if possible, and my English is not very strong.
    I loved it, but much much, this coop.
    I’m interested that few chickens comentasen me to this thought?
    If measures increased only slightly, the part where the chickens sleep, believe also possible to increase the number of animals.
    I can also have a rooster? (is that I’m interested to breed well, if I can advise would be fantastic)
    Now the problem that I have is to pass measures to centimeters, in Spain the system is not used by inches.
    The more advice to give me, the better.
    the first serious attempt to have such animals, in life I’ve had.
    Excuse spelling mistakes, be benevolent with me.
    I thank you for your publication, and I thank you

    1. Scott

      While many factors dictate what size a coop needs to be, some basic guidelines would be:

      1 chicken should have 4 square feet (0.35 m2) of coop (sleeping area) and 10 square feet (1 m2) of run area. You could have one rooster in the coop if you like.

  26. B. Moore

    This is a very nice coop–I love the overall look of it and it looks very well designed. I’m curious, though: how has the drainage system held up?
    It looks like a simplified French drain set up but I’m wondering how well it actually works being on level ground with such small pipes. It seems like a great idea, of course, but the reality of the situation is often a bit different and I wonder if it’s a system worth investing in.

    1. Post

      We lived in SW Florida (hurricane central!) where it rained like crazy in the summers every single day. No drainage problems whatsoever.

    1. Post

      About $1200 – $1500, with a large portion of the cost being the metal roof. I’m sure you could spend much less if you changed out the metal roofing.

  27. Nancy

    I love this plan. We are just beginning to contemplate having chickens. I have a question about predators… In addition to raccoons, hawks and bobcats; we have snakes which may be an issue. Have you found that the 1/2″ wire is keeping everything out? (Just want to make my girls are safe.)

    1. Post
  28. Avery

    Hello it wouldn’t let me open the plans. I wish I could because I really like your idea and set up.

  29. brian

    Hi Scott, Did you really need 50- 8/ 2x4s or is that a typo? I can’t count that many boards used in total in the photo. Thanks!

    1. Scott

      Brian, the reason the count is so high is because there is set of 2×4’s used to create the wall studs, then a second set that is used on the outside to sandwich the hardwire cloth in between. You could switch the outer 2×4’s to 1×4’s if you wish, but I thought the 2×4’s tended to line up better.

  30. Glenn and Julie Howe

    We found the coop/run we want to build!

    Wedownloaded the SketchUp program and tried to open the zip file. But, SketchUp gave us an error message.

    Is there a current link to these plans?

  31. John Craft

    Is there any way to get a printout of the plans. I can not get Sketchup to work on my Mac. I have searched many coop designs and this is my favorite. Please send to [email protected]

    1. Scott

      We currently don’t have any way of printing out the sketch up file into a set of plans. Not sure if there is even a program to do that. So we are unable to send them out.

  32. Tracy Hall

    This is a wonderful coop and would love to build it myself. Just a question regarding the Sketch Up program. I was able to open the plans you created, but it is just a drawing with no numbers for lengths of the boards. I went through the tutorial, but could no figure that part out. What template should I be opening it up with? Thanks

    1. Scott

      Tracy, The Sketch Up program comes with a built in ruler (tape measure) so you can take the dimensions from each piece. Just be careful as dimensional lumber like 2×4 really isn’t 2 inches by 4 inches. Some allowances in length will be needed.

  33. aram

    How much all the materials cost? I’m designing a coop for my girlfriend and just wanted to know what my budget should be

    1. Post

      The coop costs about $1100 to build + $900 roof. You can cut your costs by using a different material for your roof.

  34. Drew

    Love it. Exactly what we’re looking for in terms of size and aesthetics.

    Question: You built it into a permanent foundation with poured concrete. We were thinking we would put the chickens directly on the ground. Would you say this is top heavy? If the base was hypothetically shored up and stabilized, do you think it could be “portable?” Like… move it 5′ over to give the chickens fresh grass under their feet, etc.

    1. Scott

      Top Heavy? Probably not, but the bigger concern would be weight. This structure would be fairly heavy and would require some mechanical means to move it. If I were looking to move it with a tractor, then I would want some sort of skids to move it and a reinforced tie point. We put it on a footer because of flooding issues as well as protection from predators that might burrow underneath the edge. Protection became our number one priority. I will say that a few chickens are capable of turning the amount of ground underneath the coop into barren moonscape in short order. You would probably end up moving the coop once a month (at least) and would need to keep replanting the grass. I love the idea of giving them fresh grass to scratch in, but not sure this coop lends itself well to the “tractor” style of coops.

  35. ALex

    Just FYI, Sketchup has a Dimension tool that can used to put them on the plans.
    If you get the free “CutePDF” you can print the files to a PDF file. (
    Nice coop BTW, I was planning to build one very similar.

  36. Gustav

    Thank you for this! I’ve redone the sketchup file (for the most part) and made the overall coop bigger. 15′ by 8′ with ~1 foot overhangs. I made the dimensional lumber to match exact dims, group them to components, etc. I’m sure I messed this up a couple times but hey! it was my first shot at a big sketchup project!

    I’m trying to take as many pictures as I can and if I get my act together will post a coop build of it on BYC or some forum.

    Just wanted to say thanks!

  37. Sarah Ostrom

    I really would love to build this for my kids, but I can not access the plans. I read every ones comments to see if I did something wrong with downloading. I followed all the steps and it just said, “Sorry, we can not convert this type of file. I seem many others are having the same problem. Is there anyway you could forward the plans to me? My email is [email protected]. Thank you for share such a great idea you had. I want my children to enjoy collecting the eggs and teach them how to take care of the animals.

    1. Post

      Hi Sarah – After Google updated their Sketchup software, it seems our plan no longer opens correctly 🙁 Sorry about that!

  38. Sharon Whitley

    We just bought 6 chickens. My husband and I love your coop. Tried to download the program but cannot access your plans. I think my computer is too old. Would it be possible to email the parts list and prints to me? Can’t wait to get started!
    One question about the ventilation holes. Will you cover them during the winter.
    Thank you in advance!

  39. Sharon Whitley

    Love, love this coop. My husband wants to get started on it but we cannot get the plans. PLEASE email parts lists and plans. My chickens are quickly outgrowing their temporary home!

  40. Mark Bryant

    I greatly appreciate your plans, but i too am having trouble with sketchup. Could you please email them to me? Thank you so much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *