Affordable DIY Chicken Coop Ideas for Budget-Conscious Enthusiasts
You need a home for your chickens, but you don't want to spend too much money.
It's a tale as old as time, but I've got some excellent news for you. It is entirely possible to create a cheap DIY chicken coop that will protect your hens without draining your bank balance.
I've got a host of options for you to consider - and the best part is that a lot of them require minimal DIY work!
So, get comfortable and browse our affordable DIY chicken coop ideas for budget-conscious enthusiasts.
An old dog house chicken coop
Is it wise to keep your chickens in an enclosed space with your dog?
No, don't be silly!
However, an old dog house that’s no longer being used is the perfect base for your chickens. The average one will be around 6 square feet, which is ideal for one large chicken or a couple of small ones.
You can get bigger dog kennels too. According to Grubbly Farms, you should aim for around 4 square feet of coop space per bird (for average chickens).
So, if you have a large dog house that’s around 24 square feet in size, it’s perfect for approximately 6 chickens.
The beauty of this idea is that very little needs to be done to the dog kennel. Clean it out, maybe create some windows or install a lighting system, add in the nesting boxes, and lay down some bedding on the floor. Complete the task with some roosting bars and everything is ready.
The whole design will barely cost a thing - and you’re likely to find most of the materials you need laying around your house anyway. Old leaves can be a great flooring material for chicken coops, so keep that in mind to save more money.
A child’s playhouse chicken coop conversion
Do you have an old playhouse lying around the house or in your garage?
Your kids used it all the time, but they've grown out of it since. If the playhouse is made of wood, it’s a wonderful base for a chicken coop conversion.
Again, like a dog kennel, most of the construction is taken care of for you. All you need to do is clean it out and repurpose it for chickens.
As always, measure the size to be sure it's big enough for all of your hens. Then, build and install some nesting boxes. Most chicken experts will say one nesting box per 3-4 birds is optimal.
With some roosting bars placed along the side walls of the playhouse, your chickens have a safe and comfortable place to rest and lay their eggs.
The added benefit of an old playhouse is that it should already have windows. I mentioned this earlier, but windows are important in chicken coops.
Why? Because the reproductive cycle of hens is influenced by daylight. If your hens aren't laying as many eggs as you expected, it could be due to a lack of light. Be sure to cover up windows with chicken wire too, as a way to deter predators.
A greenhouse chicken coop
This next idea is one of our favorites as it can provide a fantastic coop for your chickens. Most people wouldn’t look at a greenhouse and think it makes a great chicken coop. But, this structure actually has a few things your chickens need:
- Ample space to roam around safely
- Great exposure to light
- Amazing insulation to stay warm
Many people will have old greenhouses that never get used anymore. If this is the case for you, it’s time to upcycle it into a DIY chicken coop idea.
Start by clearing everything out of the greenhouse so only the structure remains. The beauty of this idea is that you already have the perfect floor for chickens. They can walk around and peck at the grass on the floor, meaning there’s no need to get loads of extra materials.
From here, you can start adding the essentials to your chicken coop. Some roosting bars can be made using old tree stumps.
Cut two down and stick them into the floor, nailing one along the top. Just like that, you have some wonderful roost bars that cost nothing to make.
Realistically, you can make roost bars however you wish, as long as you stick to the guidelines outlined by most experts. The bars should be between 2-4 inches wide and with enough space above for your chickens to fly up without hitting their heads.
After this, you can make nesting boxes using old pallets or plastic boxes with the top cut off. Cover the bottom with nesting materials, and you’re done. To make life a bit easier, you could use our washable chicken nesting pads.
They’re affordable, can be reused as often as you like, and are cuttable to fit the size of your nesting boxes. Place your boxes along the floor or make shelves to stack them on top of one another.
That’s all you need to do, and you’ve converted an old greenhouse into the perfect chicken coop. It’s safe, well-insulated, and gives your chickens lots of room to play, graze, and stretch their legs.
A garden shed chicken coop
By now, you should be following a theme with this list!
The cheapest way to build a chicken coop is to repurpose old things you already own. Instead of buying loads of materials and tackling things from scratch, you take what already exists and alter it.
A garden shed is the next possibility to try - and it’s such a simple DIY conversion.
Like your greenhouse, remove everything from inside the shed beforehand. This will let you see how much space is inside and whether or not you can fit your chickens there.
Remember, you’re looking at 4 square feet per chicken on average. Larger chickens will need a bit more space than this.
If your shed can accommodate them, lay down the flooring. Then, build your roosting bars and lean them against one wall in the shed. Make a shelf for nesting boxes and place them on the other wall.
Build a small fenced-off chicken run around the shed, and your chickens are free to run around as much as they like. I also suggest comparing the price of DIY shed kits and DIY chicken coop kits.
If it’s cheaper to get a shed, then you can buy one of these kits and do that instead - provided you don’t have a suitable shed to use.
Also, if that’s the case, you can knock down an old shed and use the materials to build things like nesting boxes, chicken roost bars, etc.
An A-frame chicken coop
Our final idea for a cheap DIY chicken coop doesn’t involve repurposing an existing structure or building.
Yes, I know, I broke the trend the moment I brought it up! Still, this is a brilliant idea as it’s very cheap, requires minimal materials, and is so easy to put together.
The concept is simple: build an A-frame, cover the walls with corrugated metal or wood, and fill the inside with everything you need. Because this method requires more DIY than the others, I found a very useful video that demonstrates what to do:
Keep in mind that the video is for 25 chicks, so your coop doesn’t need to be as big as that one. In total, this method can work out at under $50 - possibly less if you can find the materials for cheaper.
Some extra tips to make the cheapest chicken coop
Before I conclude this guide, I thought it would help to provide some extra tips that’ll help keep the cost of chicken coop construction as low as possible:
- Use old pallets as nesting boxes - you can even visit grocery stores or ask local businesses if they have any to spare.
- Dried leaves make great chicken coop flooring, so sweep up any outside your house for free.
- Visit local farms and ask if they have any spare hay or straw if you’d prefer to use these materials for the floor.
- Old branches make excellent chicken roost bars and are completely free to find and use.
Overall, there are plenty of cheap chicken coop ideas for people on a budget. The ultimate way to save money is by repurposing or reusing things you already own.
Look in your yard or garage and see if there’s a structure you can convert into a chicken coop. At the same time, search for free materials like wooden logs, dried leaves, etc.
There are so many things you can obtain for free that will decrease the cost of chicken coop construction. Hopefully, at least one of the ideas in this guide will work for you!