If you’re anything like me- you might have a brooder of chickens but no permanent coop to call home. If you are less spontaneous, you might be doing your research on how to find the right coop for you. Either way, I’m glad you’re here!
The first chicken coop is always overwhelming and Mr. and I did a ton of research before we committed to a decision.
The first thing you’ll have to decide- are you going to buy or build your coop. Each have their pros and cons, so let’s review and figure out the cost impact to your budget.
Building a Chicken Coop
Cost range: Free to $Thousands
I am positive you just rolled your eyes when you saw the cost range because I didn’t help you at all. Building a coop is a very intriguing thought. I’m going to tell you upfront – we DID NOT build our own coop. It’s mostly because of the cost.
To build a coop you will most likely need the following supplies:
- Some type of plan (drawn by your own hand or purchased)
- A saw
- A nail or staple gun (pneumatic)
- Hardware cloth (NOT chicken wire!)
- Some type of roofing material
This seems simple enough. But for us, we didn’t have any type of electrical saw, and other than a hammer and some nails, we didn’t have the right materials to attach the hardware cloth to the frame.
I also didn’t have any design concepts, and I have never worked with wood before. Reading through lots of others experiences, it wouldn’t have been impossible but it was something for me to consider about the amount of time it would take. To the note, I actually purchased a coop plan on etsy that I felt fit best what it was I was looking for out of a coop.
For this example, I’m going to break down the cost of the materials from the plan from Absolutely need to Nice to have – because this plan did have some Nice to Haves in it. Additionally, I’m going to round or up or down to whole numbers.
If you’re like me and need a set of instructions, then you absolutely need a plan – $15-20
Circular Saw- Cheapest I saw was $50
Miter Saw – Cheapest I saw on sale was $135
Staple Gun – $25
Hammer – Assuming you have
Drill – Assuming you have
1/4″ Drill bit – Assuming you have
Level – Assuming you have
Step Ladder – Assuming you have
Pencil – Assuming you have
2x4x8 Lumber – 6 @ $4.85each – $29
2x2x8 Lumber – 3 @ $2.68each – $8
2x3x8 Lumber – 17 @ $3.48each – $59
1x2x8 Lumber – 1 @ $1.38 each – $1
2x4x8 Treated Lumber – 1 @ $3.67each – $4
4x4x8 Treated Lumber – 1 @ $7.78 each – $8
½” Plywood Sheeting – 1 sheets @ $26.35 – $26
¾’ Plywood Sheeting – 1 sheets @ $37.94 – $38
T1-11 Sheeting – 4 sheets @ $38.46 – $153 (this could maybe be done with something less expensive), if you used the regular plywood as above @ $26.53, it’d reduce it down to $106
3” Nails – 3lb – I found a 5lb for $15
2” Nails – 3lb – 1lb @ $4 each – $12
3 ½” Lag screws (1/4” diameter) – 12 @ $16.87 – $17
1” screws – 1lb @ $5.97 – $6
4” wood screws – 8 @ $8.97 – $9
Roll of hardware wire for ventilation $11.69 – $12
Staples – 1 box @ $5.98 – $6
NOTE – these materials are just to get something built. This does not account for painting it or putting any nice roofing material on it, or exterior protection. This also does NOT account for a run. This is JUST the materials required in the plan I purchased to get a basic coop together.
Total Cost for JUST the Basics – $15 for plan, $210 for tools, $355 for materials (using plywood for siding instead of T1-11) = Grand Total of $580
This again did not include paint, or roofing materials, or additional wood or hardware cloth for a run. Let’s add in the cost of paint and roofing materials:
Nice to Have Materials:
Paint – $34
Roofing Felt – $22
Exterior Caulk – $7
Exterior Trim – $15
Starter Shingles.- $22
Roofing Shingles with Ridge Cap – $55
Grand Total WITH the Nice to Haves -$580 for Basic Materials + $155 for the Additional Materials = $735
Again, this is the cost of materials for THIS plan specifically which could ideally hold up to 8 chickens. So consider this for your Chicken Math! Less chickens could mean a smaller coop and drive down this cost a bit. A bigger flock and you’d need to consider the cost to go up! Also, your tool availability might be different from me.
When we considered the cost and time investment, it was too much for us right now, so we had to look at what it costs to buy a Chicken Coop.
Cost to Buy a Chicken Coop
Cost Range for a Pre-fab, Assemble yourself: $150-$300
Please be warned – any basic research through Amazon, Tractor Supply, or Wayfair reviews will quickly reveal these coops are small and don’t hold up well.
These coops are really something I can’t recommend really exploring if you’re 1) Looking to hold more than 2 birds and 2) Looking for something that is going to last you more than a year.
Chickens really need space to live a healthy life. According to http://thehappychickencoop.com, each chicken needs 3 square feet of coop space (specifically the coop, this does not include run space). So if you have 5 chickens like me because that’s what the county will allow, you’re going to be looking for something with a minimum of 15 square feet in the coop.
For the $189 model on Facebook from PawHut, I did the math based on their specs – Living house is 30.3″ x 22.1″ which is the same as 2.525 ft x 1.841 ft = 4.65 sqft. Their advertisement that they can hold up to 4 chickens is absurd. This isn’t even enough for 2 chickens, based on our rule of 3 sqft.
You’re going to run into similar problems from Tractor Supply and Rural King. If you are not buying directly from someone or some company specializing in coops, you will run into a size and quality issue if you have more than 1-2 chickens in your flock.
Cost Range for a Custom Built Coop: $350-$5000+
This was the option we fell into. As you can see there is a pretty big jump from Pre-fab to custom built. But I will tell you it’s worth it. Had I had more money, I would have went big, lol. But, this option gave me the ability to go big enough.
I had the pleasure of supporting a local small business. It cost me ~$350-400 for our chicken coop, and it was ready in a week. I wish I would have had the extra money to splurge for a walk in, but I set a budget and stayed in it.
There are a few things I would have liked in a coop, like a roost inside the house, a way to walk in to get to them. But this coop I have far exceeds anything I could have gotten online for the same price.
I was intrigued when I looked into omlet.us. For a total package of theirs, you’re looking at ~$1500+.
Anything Amish built is going to be starting at $1,500 and easily go into the $2000 range.
Buying a Chicken Coop that is custom that requires shipping will easily go $2,500 and beyond.
So how much should you budget for a Chicken Coop?
If you’re like me and just starting this backyard hobby, I would budget around $500. This gives you the flexibility to search locally to see if someone could build you something to fit your needs. If you just can’t find what you’re looking for, you still have the money to build it yourself if you want to.