27 responses

  1. Brittany
    October 10, 2012

    Cool! The table will definitely come in handy! I’m forwarding this to my husband. He has some work to do! :)

  2. Cyndi
    October 11, 2012

    We just built one this summer. We live in Florida. Things we have already learned…. No such thing as to much ventilation. No matter what you build “make” sure you don’t have to bend or climb in to clean, it gets very tiresome and makes the chore something you dread. We are older and our backs aren’t made to shovel without being able to stand. After spending way to much to build our chicken coop we built an A-frame style for our new turkeys from design plans we found online for less then a quarter of cost and love it. Would love to build one for our chickens but can’t justify it because we put so much money into chicken coop already.

  3. David B.
    October 11, 2012

    I built a coop similar to the one pictured in the article 2 years ago. A person at work gave me 5 “free” chickens and after spending about $600 in supplies, we have backyard chickens. Having never seen a live chicken before, we have found they are very low maintenance and easy to care for. Ours are for eggs only unless we get really desperate!

  4. mark wise
    October 11, 2012

    THanks the large coop plans and pictures. They gave me lots of ideas. It is time for some chickens and fresh eggs!

  5. shar
    October 11, 2012

    Thanks I really need all the info. Maybe add a material list.The pics are a great help. Also a follow-up on the different kinds,care. and food for the different chickens.

  6. createsjg
    October 11, 2012

    Fresh eggs are so superior in taste and with the economy on the precipice it is good to have the food as it is a great source of protein. Thanks for the info and the chart to make it fit anyone’s needs

  7. PMEdge
    October 11, 2012

    I found that using 1″ wire works alot better at keeping predators and SNAKES out of a chicken coop, it costs more, but the benefits are much greater. Nothing wakes you up faster than opening the chicken nesting area and coming face to face with a snake eating the eggs!!

  8. Diversified Dan
    October 11, 2012

    Good information to have. I built one similar to the large one pictured, except I mounted it on 4×4 skids. This allowed me to move it occasionally by just hooking up to my lawn tractor and sliding it to a new location. This has to be done or the nitrogen rich “chicken exhaust” will kill all the vegetation in the enclosure.

  9. woody
    October 11, 2012

    Great article! I’d like to suggest an update, whereby you provide info on the minimum amount of land needed for a healthy, heavy chicken to roam. Or will they do just fine being cooped up in the coop?

  10. Kt
    June 15, 2013

    Can they be raised in new jersey cold winters

  11. TNlawguy
    June 16, 2013

    @Kt There are chickens for about every climate. Try looking online for a directory of chicken breeds (the Chicken Whisperer’s site is: http://www.chickenwhisperer.net; and another resource for info is: http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/chicken-breeds). You can also check with farmers in your general area. They can tell you what has worked for them. You might also check out Meetup groups in your area, but you don’t say what part of NJ you are in, but here’s a shot: http://www.meetup.com/JERSEY-SHORE-HOMESTEADERS-GROUP/. There are several breeds that are considered winter hardy, but you still need to take steps for them to get out of the weather and obtain warmth. There are several ways to do that in a coop – lights on a a thermostat, etc. Good luck.

  12. Aislinn
    June 17, 2013

    Yes Kt, chickens can be raised in New Jersey, just make sure you put them in the coop at night or if there’s a really cold spell or blizzard.
    I had them in the North and they didn’t mind the
    snow. However I kept heat lamps inside my chicken coops. Place them high enough so that
    they don’t get burned on them and sucure the cords so they don’t get tangled on them and make sure you turn them off when it’s not cold or they
    can over heat which could kill them as easy as
    the freezing temps. Chickens will tend to roost
    close to one another for body heat, but they need those heat lamps when it’s really cold.

  13. Rachelle
    August 17, 2013

    This is absolutely GENIUS!!! Thank you for the pictures and instructions, this is by far one of the simplest and most practical designs I’ve ever seen! Good work!!!

  14. Rachelle
    August 17, 2013

    Lol that was in regards to the “large coop design”

  15. Anne H
    September 4, 2013

    I have yet to see anything on what to do with chickens that are no longer producing eggs. I know they can get too old; so what happens in that case?
    Also, I recall my grandparents kept chickens and having fresh roast chicken for Sunday dinner. I never knew how that happened but now I can figure it out. But not sure I could do THAT to one of my chickens! Does anyone have an answer for me?

    October 10, 2013

    i have seen a lot of information and i think this is the best i’ve read and i had tested it out and it works.but i had a chicken that died cried alot

  17. Valkyrie 2001
    October 17, 2013

    My wife got tired of having to go out and open the coop door to let the chickens out, so I came up with a simple solution. I designed and built a automatic coop door opener. Using a photocell mounted to the north side of the coop and a home made circuit with an op-amp for the cell and a one second, one shot timer to activate a relay that would pull in a door latch solenoid. The door has a spring attached to it so when the morning sunlight hits the photocell, the solenoid activates and bingo! The door opens. I also put a solar panel on it to keep the battery charged. She still closes it every night by hand but that’s fine because she does a head count (4 hens and two roosters). The things I go through for fresh free range chicken eggs :-)

  18. noname
    November 17, 2013

    im 11 and want chickens for christmas what kind of chickens should i ask santa for ? i want some i can play with and arent evil and attack you

  19. Zor
    January 18, 2014

    Anne H.,
    The term ‘spent’ is used for hens that are done laying. As for what you do with them you have some choices.
    1. Let them free range around yoyr yard where they will continue to serve as an excellent insecticide.
    2. Slaughter tthem, but her meat will be very tough so will best best in a soup. Also note, breeds known as ‘layers’ don’t have nearly the meat on them that ‘fryers’ or ‘broilers’ have.
    3. Give them to someone who wants the fertilizer and insecticde services the spent hen can offer.

    I would like to offer that if you plan to eat your spent hens, you don’t give them names.

  20. Jeff GreenspanName
    January 18, 2014

    I wish you featured an ‘organic’ freeze-dried chicken product. I bought your chicken, anyway, but I prefer organic… I’m just saying

  21. Doug
    January 18, 2014


    Different breeds of chickens do have different temperaments. In my experience the “easy going” chickens include the feather footed Brahams (an Asian breed), and Rhode Island Reds.
    Both can be a gentle breed, but the Reds’ roosters can be a tad aggressive at times, but usually not if treated well, and hand fed. Hand feeding daily really makes a difference in having gentle birds.

  22. betty
    January 18, 2014

    I didn’t see any mention of the expense in raising your own chickens. It is not cheap for feed and bedding but like any hobby it does bring great satisfaction. And one side note, being the “favorite” grandparents cause we have pet chickens doesn’t hurt. Lol

  23. Guest
    January 18, 2014

    Some additional points to ponder: I built our coop using the frame from an old 16′ travel trailer. This allows it to be moved around our ten acre horse ranch as needed. I used 2X4 construction, strand board plywood sheets and a metal roof. Given our northwest climate, I installed heat lamps that are controlled from a Home Depot theromo cube that directs power to the lamps when the temps drop to 35 degrees. I also constructed the coop to allow access to the nest boxes from outside the coop via sloped access doors. The coop also has a large common area where the water and feed dispensers are located. This is enclosed with two ramps that can be raised when the chickens are locked in for the night. I used some dog run panels covered with vinyl chicken wire for the common area. In the winter months, I cover the north facing side of the common area with plastic tarp to provide protection from the wind.

  24. Ron
    January 18, 2014

    If you plan on eating your chickens do it before the local black bears wake up from hibernation. If your coop could be broken into by a couple of football players, it will be no match for a couple hundred pounds of ursus americanus.

  25. audrey
    January 23, 2014

    I have some questions I want to build a plain box dose it have to be off the ground? What kind of feed do they need? When is the best time to start?

  26. Jimmy steel
    January 25, 2014

    You eat old chicken also kids should not play with chickens I was raised on a ranch most of my life grand parents made everything butter cream milk all the chicken lay or we’re ate on Sunday also a smoke house for ham pork chops and beef it was a great life

  27. Drew
    February 9, 2014

    Does anyone have a rough idea how expensive it would be to build the large coop? Thank you

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