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).

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Comments 405

  1. [email protected]

    This is a chicken Palace for sure! I am saving it for my men: great step by step instruction!

  2. Jack Tanksley

    Pretty amazing I just wish you had a shot taken from an angle where we could see where you put the satellite dish on the roof of the “Chick Mahal”. Very cool!

  3. Margarita

    This chicken coop is so fancy and pretty! I lived in a farm with some really nice folks for 2 years and they had tons of chickens… like 30 or so. My host mom loves her chickens so much she just kept hatching the eggs. She would even put unhatched eggs left by the momma hens in her breast pocket and walk around with them to keep them warm in the hopes of making them live. So, I never got to eat fresh, farm eggs when I lived there. LOL!

  4. Kim in MD

    Wow…you did a great job, Scott! Seriously, this is the most beautiful, functional chicken house I have ever seen. I really wish I could have chickens in my community!

  5. Kenna R

    Love this coop!! I would appreciate more detailed instructions if you ever decide to get into that much detail. I would build this in a heartbeat!! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. Lita

    Nice job! I learned Sketchup for the sole purpose of designing our urban chicken coop. It’s such a great program for this type of thing.

  7. Angie

    Wow, is this impressive! I’ve made chicken coupes with reclaimed lumber, and I’ve seen many little backyard chicken coupes, but never anything as beautiful as this. Very, very well done!

  8. Penny

    WOW! I’m impressed with this project! I miss having my hens so anytime you feel you have time you can come up our way and build this in our backyard 🙂 It looks absolutely perfect and you did an “egg”cellent job with the tutorial.

  9. KenW

    As an ex-building inspector from RI that gets hurricanes, now retired to HI, and you living in FL that gets a heck of a lot more hurricanes than RI if I were you when I poured the finished footing I would have embedded L-shape ¼ to ½ inch anchor bolts into the finished footing every so many inches for hurricane protection to bolt down the framing sill plate. Nothing like a lose 900 to 2,000 pound chicken coop flying off on you in a hurricane crashing into your house like a guided missile!

    Hawaii learned its lesson on Island of Kauai when Hurricane Iniki CAT-4 hit taking almost every roof off on the island and demolishing every chicken coop that was not anchored down. The flying coops did a lot of building damage! The Island of Kauai island bird has now become the chicken even up on top of the mountains! They are everywhere you go and the roosters sing their songs daily everywhere at any time!!!!!

  10. Lisa

    Great job! My husband and I were just discussing the addition of a chicken coop to our property. Would love to have the two SketchUp files you mentioned. Thank you!!

  11. Vicky

    What lucky chickens! Because aren’t lucky enough to be back yard chickens they live in a pen with an old grainery that used to be my goats barn. Enjoy your flock!

  12. sheilah

    I just started reading your site and I love the family joining in. Jaden, both you and your husband are great writers. It’s warming to read your site.

  13. Dee S

    Wow! That is a masterpiece! We had chickens growing up, but their house did not look anything like this!

  14. Olinda Paul

    Awesome! I love the chicken coop. Great ideas and I wished I had a place to keep chickens because I use so many eggs in my food.

  15. Kendra

    If I may, I have a super easy suggestion that you can add to your chicken coop.

    If you take a long PVC pipe (thick or thin enough to fit between the chicken wire walls) and place it in the corner of the chicken coop, your chickens will LOVE to perch on it.

    My chickens loved to do this and would perch all day 🙂

  16. alyce poalillo

    Great job! I wondered if being in Florida you have issues with snakes and if so how do you keep them from the chickens and the eggs?

  17. Adrienne

    Great looking coop! Looks like quite a project. Our coop is much smaller and portable so we can move it around the yard. What’d you do with your old coop?

  18. Chit

    Wow…fantastic…superb! Really admirable…you really made the idea of raising backyard chicken and fresh eggs so attractive and fun and wow!! Really can’t be called a chicken coop but a palace! I would build one if I am not already in my senior years! But who knows!

  19. Leah

    Scott…what a great job on your chicken coop…very professional! Your “girls” must be very happy!

    Jaden…there is a wonderful book you might enjoy…Free-Range Chicken Gardens by Jessi Bloom. Lots of ideas and information to go along with your chickens and their new home.

    Hope the boys are doing well…

  20. Sherry

    OMG….. I can not get over what a Fantastic job you did and sharing this info w/everyone is so wonderfully generous of you.
    I would just want the adorable chicken coop in my yard even if I had no chickens…..
    . I bet there are other animals that could be happy in there too, such as a rescued bird that couldn’t fly any more, baby squirrels that fall out of the nest, etc.
    Just a total, gigantic WOW, WOW, WOW factor here. What Talent!
    LOVE every inch of it.

  21. Cristy Evans

    This is exactly what we have been looking for!! Thank you for the info! Would love to have plans if you have them!!

    1. SteamyKitchen


      I tried to email you a copy of the sketchup files to you, but the email address you used to comment gave a delivery error. Please use our “Contact Us” form with another email address and I’ll try again.


  22. clint

    I would like the 3d plans from google sketch, if you wouldnt mind sharing ? I really. really like the way you built your coop ! well thought out. thanks, clint…

  23. David McCarty

    Holy cow. I thought I’d built the chicken mansion. That is a serious coop. Ha! What is the plan once the wire rusts away? And what keeps varmints from sneaking in through the egg door?

  24. Barbara

    If my husband can build houses, wonder if he’d build this for our back yard. Looks really nice…good work hubby!! Now lets take it to the house baby..

  25. Susan Young

    Hi Scott & Jaden,
    Its been a while since I’ve seen or talked to you. Looks like everything is going great and I’m so excited for you.
    Great chicken coop. My husband and I have been talking about getting some chickens but we’re in a residential neighborhood and not sure about the chicken laws. Of course we haven’t really checked but I would love the plans if you could email them. Would give us some incentive to act on our ideas.
    Thanks. Susan

  26. scott iverson

    starting chicken farming and love your palace would appreciate the plans as am starting to build soon,ill keep you posted on progress

  27. Joschue

    your plans for the chicken coop is outstanding. I would love to receive the 3d plans

  28. Kaat

    Hi Scott,
    I’m so impressed! I’ve also been playing with Sketchup to design my coop. Talk about learning curve. (cf. I’d love to quit messing around with it and base my design on yours. Could you email me the plans?
    I love your idea for slanting floors and I’m also going to rethink the drainage.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  29. Diana Johnson

    Wow, well done Scott! On both the coop and the post. I started building our coop last weekend but it won’t be nearly as fancy. We’re on a tight budget so using reclaimed wood, but it’s really a LOT of fun. I love woodworking and power tools 🙂

  30. Sean

    Wow. Great post. I’m looking to built a very similar coop in North Florida. Any plans, ideas or general words of wisdom that you’re willing to share would be much appreciated and well received. Thank you for posting this great article. Very nice.

  31. Tegan

    Wow great coop. i would love the detailed plans for them. also would you be willing to give me a rough idea of how much it cost

  32. Scott

    I don’t have a detailed set of plans per se. You can click on the link to download the SketchUp files. The free version of SketchUp from google has great tools to help measure and look at different pieces in the coop. As far as price goes, the coop ran about $1500. Of course cost can be reduced by using re-claimed materials, or exchanging metal roofing for a less expensive alternative.

  33. Tegan

    We are going to give it a go and make something similar here in Australia. Just wondering if you can remember what size lumber you used for the structure?

  34. Steve

    That is a great coop. I have one made from arched pvc wrapped in chicken wire. The girls seem to like it enough, but I would love to do something like this. Do you still have the sketchup file? I love the design. I might try to lighten it up a bit and put wheels on it to have a luxury mobile home for the girls instead of a foundation style palace. Great job though.

  35. Hallie

    Love your coop. I’m getting ready to build something similar. What color/brand stain did you use? I can’t seem to find the look I like. Thanks.

  36. Terry & Jeanne Higgins

    We would like the plan specs. you used for the palace. Very nice job. Our girls would also like one. Thanks in advance.

  37. Deb

    What about the chickens getting fresh grass and bugs. Why not save the money on sand and let them graze on grass. But nice coop. Simple building will work just as fine though.

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