Project Overview

You can have fresh eggs on tap by building your own chicken coop. It’ll make a great home for your chooks and they’ll reward you with breakfast. You can also put a mini-garden on top to grow some herbs, and we’ll show you how.

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removing bent nail
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How to remove a bent nail

If a nail bends as you hammer it in, don’t try to straighten it, just remove it. The easiest way to do this is to place a thin piece of timber beside the nail to support the hammer and protect the surface. Fit the claw of the hammer under the nail head and pull the handle towards you until the nail comes out. Keep the handle as close to vertical as possible so you don’t make the nail hole wider.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut your timber
2 Timber for roosting box supports and base frame
3 Timber for the roosting box
4 Timber for nesting box
5 Assemble the outdoor area
6 Make the side supports
7 Make the back support
8 Make the roosting box, door side
9 Make the roosting box, non-door side
10 Make the base of the roosting box
11 Make the roosting box wall connect to nesting box
12 Make the nesting box side walls
13 Make the nesting box base
14 Make the back of the nesting box
15 Assemble the roosting box supports
16 Attach the outdoor area
17 Attach the base of the roosting box to the roosting box support
18 Attach the walls for the roosting coop
19 Assemble the walls to the entrance to the roosting coop
20 Attach the entrance to the roosting coop
21 Measure and mark the flooring for the roosting box
22 Cut and attach the flooring
23 Attach the nesting box
24 Attach the flooring to the roosting box
25 Make the doors for the nesting box
26 Measure and mark the noggins for the hinges
27 Wrap chicken wire around the door
28 Attach strap hinge fittings to the noggins
29 Attach the pad bolt
30 Measure and cut the timber for the roosting box door frame.
31 Install a door head
32 Measure and cut the cladding
33 Attach the hinges
34 Fix the stops
35 Cut the cladding to size
36 Attach the cladding
37 Cover the coop with chicken wire
38 Install the ramp
39 Assemble the frame for the roof
40 Fix the frame onto the roof
41 Measure and mark the mini orb
42 Secure the mini orb
43 Fix the mini orb in place
44 Make the lid for the nesting box
45 Attach the lid to the nesting box
46 Make the frame for the rooftop garden
47 Install the garden
48 Job done
  • Step 1. Cut your timber

    To make this project easier we’ve had our timber pre-cut at Bunnings, here’s the cutting list.

     Outdoor area

    Door frame:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 860mm x 2
    • 930mm x 2

    Front door:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 780mm x 2
    • 815mm x 3
    • 345mm noggins x 2

    Side frames:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 930mm x 8
    1200mm x 4

  • Step 2. Timber for roosting box supports and base frame

    2 sides:

     70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 800mm x 4
    • 430mm x 6

    Back frame:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 430mm x 3
    • 860mm x 2
  • Step 3. Timber for the roosting box

    Front frame:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 860mm x 2
    • 520mm x 1
    • 825mm x 2

    Back frame:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 860mm x 2
    • 790mm x 1
    • 920mm x 2
    • 520mm x 1

    Door side:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 800mm x 1
    • 805mm x 1
    • 835mm (mitred edge) x 1
    • 940mm (mitred edge) x 1

    Door:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 640mm x 2
    • 645mm x 2

    Side without door:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 800mm x 1
    • 805mm x 1
    • 940mm (mitred edge) x 1
    • 835mm (mitred edge) x 1
    • 860mm (mitred edge) x 1

    Base:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 800mm x 2
    • 930mm x 2

    Roof:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 1060mm studs x 4
    • 1070mm (two sides mitred) x 2

    Batten material:

     70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    •  1070mm x 1

    Floor:

    70mm x 19mm treated pine decking boards:

    • Cut to size to fit the base

    Ramp/nesting base:

    • 1000mm x 260mm ply x 1
  • Step 4. Timber for nesting box

    Base frame:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 370mm x 2
    • 930mm x 3

     Back wall:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 860mm x 2
    • 370mm x 3

    Side walls:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 360mm x 2
    • 380mm (mitred edge) x 2
    • 370mm (mitred edge) x 2
    • 430mm (mitred edge) x 2

    Roof:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 860mm x 1
    • 345mm x 2
    • 245mm battens x 2
    • 860mm x 2

    Garden:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 1000mm x 2
    • 1200mm x 2

     1200mm x 1000mm form ply base x 1

    Battens:

    70mm x 35mm treated pine:

    • 1465mm x 2
    • 500mm x 2
    • 430mm x 2
    • 565mm x 2

    Stops batten timber:

    50mm x 25mm treated pine:

    • 1480mm x 2

    Palings sides:

    150mm x 12mm treated pine palings:

    • 750mm x 14
    • 1120mm x 10 

    Back:

    150mm x 12mm treated pine palings:

    • 1000mm x 12

    Front:

    150mm x 12mm treated pine palings:

    • 520mm x 3
    • 1000mm x 3
  • Step 5. Assemble the outdoor area

    The chicken coop is made up of an outdoor area, a roosting box, a roosting box support, a nesting box, and a garden above the outdoor area. We’re going to make the outdoor area first. To do this lay out the frame. Take two 1200mm pieces, these make the top and bottom of one side. Place two 930mm lengths at each end. The other two are studs, placed an equal distance apart. Screw the timber together using 75mm bugle screws. Repeat this process for the other side frame.

  • Step 6. Make the side supports

    For this step you’re making three frames, including the two side supports, which are the same. Take the four 800m pieces of timber, lay them out and screw together with the 75mm bugle screws. The 430mm lengths are the studs. Place them an equal distance apart and screw them in with the 75mm bugle screws. 

  • Step 7. Make the back support

    Take the two pieces of 860mm timber and place two of the 430mm pieces at each end to make a rectangle. Screw them together with some 75mm bugle screws. Place the other 430mm piece of timber in the middle and fix it with bugle screws. 

  • Step 8. Make the roosting box, door side

    Lay out the timber for the coop door side.  The 940mm timber is for the front, the 835mm and 805mm are the studs and the 800mm is the back. This frame has a sloped roof, so the largest timber is for the front upright, smallest is at the back. Screw them together using 75mm bugle screws or the nail gun. 

  • Step 9. Make the roosting box, non-door side

    Repeat the process as for the door side, but attach an 860mm stud in the centre for support. The 940mm timber is for the front and the 800mm the back. This frame also has a sloped roof so the largest timber is for the front upright, smallest is at the back.

  • Step 10. Make the base of the roosting box

    Lay out the two 800mm sides. Attach a 930mm piece of timber in the centre and two at each end. Screw them into place using 75mm bugle screws. To support the flooring, secure two 930mm studs, 70mm from both ends.

  • Step 11. Make the roosting box wall connect to nesting box

    Lay out the top and bottom 860mm pieces of timber and the two side 920mm pieces and screw together using 75mm bugle screws. Install a 520mm stud in the centre of the top of the roosting box wall. Screw it into place. Then attach the 790mm door head. This will create an opening to the nesting box.

  • Step 12. Make the nesting box side walls

    The nesting box has a sloped roof. Assemble the frame using the two 360mm pieces of timber, the two 380mm pieces with mitred edges, the two 370mm pieces with mitred edges and the two 430mm pieces with mitred edges. Screw together using 75mm bugle screws. Repeat the process for the other side wall.

  • Step 13. Make the nesting box base

    Lay out the two 370mm pieces of timber and two 930mm pieces. Screw in the sides and two studs at each end. Fix a third 930mm stud 70mm from one end. This will support the front of the nesting box.

  • Step 14. Make the back of the nesting box

    Lay out the two 860mm pieces of timber and the two 370mm pieces of timber for the nesting box. The two long pieces are the top and bottom. The 370mm pieces of timber are the uprights at each end and a support in the centre. Screw the nesting box together.

  • Step 15. Assemble the roosting box supports

    Assemble the roost box supports or base. This is to support the roosting box, which will sit on this. Use the nail gun to attach the side frames to the outside of the back frame.

  • Step 16. Attach the outdoor area

    Use the nail gun to attach the side frames of the outdoor area to the side frames of the roosting box supports. Once the sides are secure, attach the front. You’ll be making and attaching the door later.
  • Step 17. Attach the base of the roosting box to the roosting box support

    Before attaching the base of the roosting box, fix off some extra studs to support the flooring. Secure two 930mm studs at 70mm from both ends. Then use the nail gun to attach the roosting box base to the support. 

  • Step 18. Attach the walls for the roosting coop

    The sides of the roosting coop need to slope to allow for run-off. Attach the door side first with the nail gun. Fix it to whichever side works best for easy access and to suit the position. Attach the roosting box wall that connects to the nesting box. Fix it off using the nail gun. Then fix off the other side.

  • Step 19. Assemble the walls to the entrance to the roosting coop

    Take the two 820mm pieces of timber for the side and two pieces of 550mm timber for the top and bottom. Lay them out and then fix them together with the nail gun.

  • Step 20. Attach the entrance to the roosting coop

    Use the nail gun to attach the entrance to the roosting coop. Be sure to leave enough room for the ramp to the outdoor area so that the chickens can enter the roosting box.

  • Step 21. Measure and mark the flooring for the roosting box

    Measure and mark the decking boards for the flooring in the roosting box. Ours measured three pieces at 725mm near the ramp and the other six were 610mm for the entrance frame.

  • Step 22. Cut and attach the flooring

    Use the drop saw to cut the flooring to size. Fix them onto the floor using the nail gun.

  • Step 23. Attach the nesting box

    Attach the base of the nesting box with the nail gun. Attach one side and then another side with the nail gun. Then attach the back frame of the nesting box with the nail gun.

  • Step 24. Attach the flooring to the roosting box

    Use the nail gun to attach the pine decking to the floor of the roofing box. Use a piece of the decking, turned on its side as a spacer between the decking.

  • Step 25. Make the doors for the nesting box

    You need to make two doors for the coop. One is attached to the outdoor area, the other is fitted to the roosting box. Ours measured 780mm for the top and bottom, the three pieces of 815mm timber are for the side and to attach the studs to. The two 345mm pieces of timber are for the studs. Lay out the timber for the frame. Fix off using the nailing gun.

  • Step 26. Measure and mark the noggins for the hinges

    Measure and mark the two noggins for the hinges. We placed ours 100mm up from the top and bottom on one side of the frame. Fix off the two noggins with the nail gun.

  • Step 27. Wrap chicken wire around the door

    Once the door frame is complete, wrap chicken wire around it, so that it sits on the outside of the frame. Fix off with the staple gun. Hammer in any staples that are sitting proud. Use tin snips to cut any excess wire. Make sure the wire is tucked around the frame and stapled securely.

  • Step 28. Attach strap hinge fittings to the noggins

    Once the wire is in place, attach strap hinge fittings to the noggins. Screw in using 50mm timber screws. Then fix the door by the hinges to the outdoor area of the coop with the 50mm timber screws. A handy tip when fixing the door is to prop the door into place using some timber off cuts.

  • Step 29. Attach the pad bolt

    Use 50mm screws to attach the pad bolt to the door.

  • Step 30. Measure and cut the timber for the roosting box door frame.

    You need to make the door so that it’s a suitable size for the frame. Ours measured 720mm x 600mm. Lay the timber out and secure it with the nail gun.

  • Step 31. Install a door head

    Measure and mark 615mm from the base of the roosting box, and cut a stud above the head to suit.

  • Step 32. Measure and cut the cladding

    Measure, mark and cut the weatherboards to clad the door.

  • Step 33. Attach the hinges

    Attach the hinges to the door, making sure you leave a 20mm gap so that the door opens and closes. 

  • Step 34. Fix the stops

    Measure and cut the batten timber for the stops. Cut them to fit the size of the coop. Attach them with the nail gun on the sides at the front and back of the coop and to the nesting box. The weatherboard cladding fits between these. The stops give a nice finish to the coop.

  • Step 35. Cut the cladding to size

    Measure, mark and cut the cladding. Our boards measured 750mm.

  • Step 36. Attach the cladding

    Attach the cladding to the outside of the side of the coop. Start at the base of the roosting box and continue up to the top. Use the set square to help measure a 20mm overlap for the boards to keep the coop water proof. Also, use a spirit level to make sure the boards are straight before securing with the fixing gun. To accommodate for the sloping roof, cut the top paling to size and attach with the fixing gun. Repeat this for the other side. Cut the palings to size and clad the nest box. Use any offcuts for the base of the nest box. Secure with the nail gun.

  • Step 37. Cover the coop with chicken wire

    Wrap the chicken wire around the outdoor area. Pull it tightly, tuck it in and staple it into place. Cut any excess wire with the tin snips. To prevent foxes, cats or any other predators from getting into the coop, wrap chicken wire underneath the coop as well.
  • Step 38. Install the ramp

    Build the ramp for the chickens out of ply, ours measured 260mm x 1000mm. Then staple chicken wire onto it for grip, making sure that it wraps around the ramp. Secure the ramp to the coop with the nail gun.

  • Step 39. Assemble the frame for the roof

    Take the two 1070mm mitred pieces of timber, these are for the sides of the roof. The four 1060mm pieces are for the studs. Fix two studs at each end. One of the end studs sits on its side, the others are flat.  These are important as fixing points for the mini orb roof.

  • Step 40. Fix the frame onto the roof

    Fix the frame onto the roof with the nail gun. Make sure the frame has an even amount of overhang at each end.

  • Step 41. Measure and mark the mini orb

    Once the frame is fixed, measure its inside measurements. Transfer these to the mini orb. Use the grinder to cut the mini orb. Use appropriate safety equipment when using the grinder.

  • Step 42. Secure the mini orb

    Place the mini orb into place onto the studs on the roof. 

  • Step 43. Fix the mini orb in place

    Cut the batten timber to measure so that it fits into the front and back of the coop. Place the battens on top of the mini orb and secure them with the 50mm screws and the nail gun. You will repeat this process for the roof of the nesting box.

  • Step 44. Make the lid for the nesting box

    Layout the frame for the nesting box lid with the two pieces of 960mm timber and two pieces of 200mm timber. Fix the smaller timber inside the longer pieces of timber with the nail gun.

  • Step 45. Attach the lid to the nesting box

    Once the frame is completed. Place it on the nesting box. Measure and mark for the hinges. Attach these 100mm in from each end. Fix into place using 30mm screws. Then attach the lid to the nesting box. If you want to completely waterproof the nesting box, attach a rubber strip between the lid and the roosting box.

  • Step 46. Make the frame for the rooftop garden

     Cut the timber for the rooftop garden to fit above the outdoor area. Ours measured two pieces at 1005mm and two pieces at 1130mm. We ripped one piece of timber removing 25mm so the timber width measured 115mm. 

  • Step 47. Install the garden

    To create fall and allow for drainage in the coop garden, fix an offcut of roofing batten or bead to one side of the coop garden. Attach it to the inside. Once the bead is in place, slide in the form ply base. Attach the final side of the garden bed.

  • Step 48. Job done

    You can paint or stain your chicken coop but we’ve left ours raw. Now all you need to do is put some straw in the nesting box and fill the garden bed with soil and flowers. Put the chickens in their coop and before you know it you’ll be enjoying fresh eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Angle grinder
  • Clamps
  • Combination square
  • Cordless drill
  • Drop saw
  • Dust mask
  • Earmuffs
  • Fixing gun and brads
  • Framing gun and nails
  • Hammer
  • Impact driver with Philips head bit and batten screw bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Protective face mask
  • Spirit level
  • Safety glasses
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Utility knife

Materials

  • 70mm x 35mm x 2.4m treated pine x 39
  • 1220mm x 610mm x 12mm plywood
  • 150mm x 12mm x 1.8m treated pine paling x 34
  • 50mm x 25mm x 2.4m treated pine x 2
  • 120cm x 5cm x 10m wire chicken netting x 2
  • 600mm x 900mm x 25mm wire mesh panel x 2
  • 1800mm x 634mm iron cladding
  • 140mm x 25mm x 4.8m treated pine decking
  • 75mm batten screws
  • 50mm timber screw
  • 250mm strap hinges
  • 90mm hinges
  • 100mm pad bolt
  • Hinges x 3
  • Bolts x 2
  • Chicken wire
  • Latch
  • Mesh
  • Potting mix
  • Sash cord rope
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