The Best Low-Cost DIY Chicken Coop Ideas

Images of chicken, poultry, hens crawling on the grass in the countryside with the big low-cost chicken coop in the background.

For chicken keepers, raising chickens can be fun and rewarding. However, it can also prove costly. With many chicken coops and hen houses ranging between $1,000 and $2,500, it’s understandable why aspiring chicken keepers may have some concerns when it comes to housing their feathered friends. Fortunately, when it comes to low-cost DIY chicken coop ideas, we have some brilliant, budget-friendly solutions.

In today’s guide, we’ll reveal solutions to help you build a chicken coop that doesn’t break the bank. From using recycled materials to repurposing kitchen cabinets, we’ll help you create an inexpensive material list. This will allow you to keep expenditures low and your chickens’ spirits high.

Moreover, we will also explore some of the best free chicken coop plans the chicken-keeping community can offer!

By the time you’ve finished reading this guide, you’ll know precisely how to save money while keeping your chickens happy and healthy.

Six Ways You Can Build a Cheap DIY Chicken Coop

You may be surprised that you probably already have access to everything you need to build a cheap DIY chicken coop. With careful planning and some unused materials, you can create an affordable chicken coop that boasts a charming, rustic coop design!

Below, we’ve assembled some helpful tips and tricks to shed light on the plans and practices of a budget-conscious chicken keeper.

1. Planning Ahead

This may seem obvious, but planning ahead will avoid costly mistakes. Consider where to site your chicken coup and whether you need a predator-proof foundation and protective fencing.

 The fun bit will be deciding on the style of chicken coup you want to build, anything from a rustic cottage-style coup to a modern contemporary chicken house. From there, you can budget for the type of materials you will need. You can then avoid purchasing additional materials that won’t be required.

In addition, speak to other chicken farmers and seek first-hand advice.

2. Utilizing Recycled or Unused Materials

You probably already have access to suitable materials that can be recycled and used to build your chicken coup. Here is a list of some ways you can use leftover materials or repurposed furniture:

  • Wooden pallets are usually easy to find and make excellent walls with good ventilation, providing they are in good condition, do not have any rot or mold and are generally sturdy.
  • Salvage discarded wood to use for your chicken coop’s floor.
  • Repurpose unused furniture like old kitchen cabinets, a chest of drawers, an unused children’s playhouse, an old dog house, or even a cylindrical water tank.
  • Use a trampoline frame as a mobile chicken run.
  • Put chicken wire over a stripped-down car frame.
  • Utilize milk crates as nesting boxes.

As you can see, finding free, suitable chicken coop materials is achievable. By looking around your home and backyard, we can almost guarantee you’ll find at least some of the materials you need to build an inexpensive chicken coop.

Stacked wooden pallets with visible signs of wear and blue paint.

Building with the Weather in Mind

Now that you have an idea of which materials you can use to build your chicken coop, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to protect the materials from the elements. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your area’s climate and weather forecasts.

 Be prepared to add protective coatings onto your wooden materials or choose a more sheltered location for your chicken coop. You might also want to consider whether you need to add extra insulation during colder weather.

Ultimately, building with your area’s typical weather conditions in mind will save you money that you would have otherwise spent on repairs.

4. Foraging For Additional Accessories

Building budget chicken coops doesn’t just mean using discarded wood for its external structure. It also relates to finding natural resources to decorate your coop’s interior. Your surrounding environment has an abundance of handy materials that won’t cost you a single cent to use.

Think tree branches for roosting bars, rocks as water holders and grass clippings for bedding!

5. Considering a Chicken Tractor Instead of a Typical Coop

Chicken tractors serve as portable enclosures that are perfect for those who may need to move their coop around their yard from time to time.

Chicken tractors are typically more suited to those with more space in their backyards, which is worth considering if you have a small garden. It’s also worth mentioning that chicken tractors are not ideal for larger flocks and don’t provide ample protection from predators like foxes.

However, as a cheaper alternative to traditional coops, chicken tractors also have the added bonus of portability. This means that by selecting the new location of your coop, you can protect it from harsh weather conditions. As a result, your coop materials will remain strong and durable for longer, saving you money in the long and short term.

Tip: You can distract foxes from the scent of chickens in the coop by planting odorous plants such as lavender and marigolds. You could even invest in a motion-triggered sprinkler system to keep your chickens safe from persistent predators! However, these methods are not to be solely relied on  and are only recommended as part of protective measures.

Chickens grazing in lush field, one focused, great for low-cost DIY chicken coop inspiration.

6. Downloading Free Chicken Coop Plans Online

There is no shortage of easy-to-follow, free-to-use coop plans online. By browsing online chicken coop plans, you’ll find a handy guide that caters to your financial limits and design preferences.

Easy Low-Cost DIY Chicken Coop Plans

There are many  free chicken coop plans online, and the best chicken coop plans often have reviews that will enable you to make the right choice. 

Below, we’ve assembled some of the best, easy, low-cost DIY chicken coop plans we could find.

The Lemony Coop

The Lemony Coop is a chicken coop plan that combines functionality with aesthetics, boasting a gorgeous, bright yellow hue that is perfect for springtime!

Moreover, the Lemony Coop plan will allow you to build a sturdy, winter-resistant coop with an enclosed run, protecting both the materials you use and your chickens.

It costs approximately $100 to build and is big enough to host between five and six chickens.

The Frame Chicken Coop Tractor

The Frame Chicken Coop Tractor serves as handy housing, perfect for those who need to move their coop occasionally but only have a small backyard. It has a visually intriguing shape (a triangular prism) that complements modern, geometric design trends.

The Frame Chicken Coop Tractor also has an enclosed run directly beneath it, making it easier to provide fresh grass for your chickens while offering ample protection.

Best of all, it costs around $100 to build and can house up to thirteen chickens.

Jared Skye’s Coop

A compelling feature of Jared Skye’s Coop plan involves building a covered interior within your coop. By building a sturdy interior for your coop, you will stop predators like foxes and coyotes from digging underneath the soil to get to your chickens.

Another useful quality of Jared Skye’s Coop is that it includes a large coop door. Incorporating a large coop door will make it easier to clean your coop and collect your chicken’s eggs.

Due to the short material list, Jared Skye’s Coop is cheap to build and ideal for five chickens.

The Pallet Palace Chicken Coop

The Pallet Palace Chicken Coop makes use of a cheap material that is easy to find – standard oak pallets!

With a short list of tools and materials, including cost-efficient materials like OSB plywood, you can make a stunning coop that houses up to forty chickens!

The Pallet Palace Chicken Coop is also sizeable (16 x 8 feet), making it a suitable addition to a large backyard.

Moreover, by following this coop plan, you can rest assured that your chickens are adequately protected. Specifically, the Pallet Palace Chicken Coop plan uses chicken wire around the bottom of the coop’s openings and even in the grass to prevent predators from reaching your chickens.

Thinking Outside the (Nesting) Box: Additional Budget-Friendly Tips for DIY Chicken Coops

From our guide, you now have the knowledge and inspiration to build cost-efficient DIY chicken coops. However, we have more cost-effective tips to help you raise and protect your beloved poultry:

  1. Use or borrow leftover paint to protect the materials you used to build your chicken coop from the elements.
  2. Opt for inexpensive materials like plywood if you have to purchase materials.
  3. Don’t settle for low-quality tools and materials. Although you may want to invest in cheaper materials and tools to save money, you could end up paying more than you initially anticipated due to replacements and repairs.
  4. Consider building your own DIY dust bath using repurposed furniture like sandboxes, old flower pots, and even kiddie pools.
  5. High-quality feed can prove one of the most hefty expenditures for chicken farmers. Planting a vegetable garden that contains vegetables like tomatoes, beets, and carrots can prove a cost-efficient method of feeding your chickens in the long term.
  6. Consider using repurposed items and furniture like wooden wine crates, bookcases, large planters, and milk crates as alternatives to traditional nest boxes.
  7. Consider purchasing or renovating a second-hand chicken coop. What’s more, because you’re renovating a second-hand chicken coop, you could utilize your spare funds to invest in a sturdier alternative to chicken wire, like welded mesh. This will leave your chickens more protected against predators without going over budget.
  8. Evaluate the necessity of fashionable accessories like an automatic coop door. If you have the means to tend to your chickens without technology, we recommend you skip the inclusion of advanced features.
  9. Create  methods of scaring off predators, like attaching old CDs or DVDs to tree branches near your chicken coop. CDs or DVDs glint in the sunlight, frightening hawks and owls.
  10. If you have other chicken enthusiasts in your family or friendship groups, it could be a good idea to build a shared coop. Not only will this allow for a larger flock of chickens/hens, but you can also split the cost of necessary materials.
Brown chicken at coop entrance, trees in background, inspiring DIY coop ideas.

Final Thoughts: Your Low-Cost DIY Chicken Coop

Pursuing your dream of raising chickens does not have to cost a small fortune. By following the advice in our guide and exploring the environment for natural resources, you can easily build a cost-effective chicken coop that will provide a safe haven for your chickens for many years to come.

You may even have everything you need in the form of unused furniture in your home; all you need  is imagination and some spare time.

Try not to compromise on the safety, happiness, or health of your feathered friends as well-kept chickens will lay more eggs.  Consider getting neighbors, friends, and family involved and turn a basic DIY project into an activity for all to enjoy.

Make sure to tag us on social media so we can see your low-cost DIY chicken coop ideas!

For more tips related to DIY projects and gardening, check out our blogs!

Frequently Asked Questions

Our most frequently asked questions about low-cost DIY chicken coop ideas.

1. Is it cheaper to build or buy a chicken coop?

More often than not, opting to build your chicken coop will prove a more affordable alternative to buying one. Although you may have to purchase numerous materials and tools (if you don’t already own what you need), building a chicken coop will undoubtedly be more affordable than buying a chicken coop.

2. What is the best and cheapest bedding that I should use in my chicken coop?

Pine pellets are inexpensive and practical. Often used as a bottom layer of bedding, pine pellets have absorbent qualities, making them ideal foundations for your chickens’ beds. We recommend  you cover the pine pellets with hemp, pine shavings, or wooden chips. 

3. What is the cheapest wood I can use to build my chicken coop?

You can use OSB (Oriented Strand Board) to build your chicken coop. OSB is the most affordable form of plywood, and once it has been sealed with primer and paint, it’ll be suitable for the inside of your chicken coop or hen house.

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