A quick Google search is all it takes to turn some hopeful chicken-keepers into new DIYers. Housing your birds doesn’t come cheap; a good coop can easily run you several hundred dollars if you buy online, and even relatively modest structures can make a serious dent in your savings. However, if price has you paralyzed, you’re in solid company, and there’s a whole community of home-builders out there to help.
While it isn’t easy to manufacture a chicken coop, it’s generally cheaper and – in the long run – more rewarding than taking the pre-built route. The vast majority of materials you’ll need are easily available at just about any home and garden supply shop. And for those of you looking to skimp further, some time and persistence may be all you need to get your hands on some reclaimed materials. Housing builds, dilapidated farms, and small businesses are all possible sources of scrap wood and other necessaries (just be sure to ask first).
Once you’ve got all your build materials lined up, you only have to shape them. And, of course, that’s the hard part. Ensuring that you’ve got the right tools can make a massive difference for a build. We’ll quickly run through three items that you’ll want to buy or borrow before getting down to brass tacks.
While they aren’t necessarily the easiest tool to make straight cuts with, jigsaws are a necessary addition to any DIYer’s toolkit. It’s always good to have access to a circular saw as well for making long, straight cuts to wood, but a jigsaw remains the best solution for many of the smaller cuts a coop requires. Bosch and Makita both make reasonably priced, highly rated saws, which will prove more than worth the investment for a new DIYer.
If you are likely to be doing a lot of diy work a jigsaw and/or circular saw can make life a lot easier but bear in mind :
- These are pretty serious pieces of equipment and if you are all fingers and thumbs you could find yourself with less fingers and thumbs if you are not careful (not to put too fine a point on it!).
- If you are purchasing new wood for your build you may not need to cut much (or possibly anything) at all – by working out what wood pieces you need in advance you can often get it pre-cut to the right size if you ask.
These nifty little devices roll several other tools into one. To start with, they make marking out straight lines or right angles a matter of moments, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Squares can also measure angles and take the place of a protractor, something you’ll need when putting together a coop. They’re also thick enough for safe use as straightedges with circular saws, or jigsaws, albeit with some more caution and finesse.
Wire might just be one of the trickier materials you’ll work with during your build. It’s springy, tough, and unexpectedly sharp if not treated with care. As a result, finding a pair of cutters that can go through it without any trouble will save you time and heartache. Some sites recommend tin snips, but most builders will be perfectly happy with a solid pair of spring-handled wire cutters. (When dealing with wire a good pair of sturdy gloves wouldn’t go amiss either). Don’t use chicken wire for predator protection as it will be easily bit through or bent – for proper protection strong galvanised steal wire is the best. To cover ventilation holes in the coop hardware cloth is usually used. The rest of the wiring such as for the chicken pen can be a little bit bigger holed but bear in mind what predators you have that might be able to reach through or squeeze through those kinds of gaps and size accordingly.
I know, this is the fourth item in our list of three Again, another serious piece of equipment but for many small coop projects a good nail gun can make life so much easier. Framing? bang, bang, bang. Attaching wire? bang, bang, bang. Of course they can vary in price a lot and the ones that bash out big nails and staples (which for a sturdy coop would be the most appropriate) will be at the higher end of the price scale but it is certainly a tool to bear in mind and might be something you can hire or borrow for a few days rather than buy if you don’t have any other diy jobs on the horizon.