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Simple Chicken Coop Build for Up to 40 Birds

Step by Step – A Quick and Simple 4’ X 8’ Chicken Coop

“Chicken math” is a real thing.  Seriously.  Since you are reading this, you must need to build a chicken coop for up to 40 chickens.  That’s a lot of chickens, This means one of two things:

1) You have already accumulated way more than your original number.  Because you hadn’t ever anticipated having this many, you need a new coop. 

2) You love chickens and want a lot of chickens.  However, to hold 40 chickens, you almost feel like you need a shed to house them in.  If you need help with raising them from chicks, check out this article: https://maplewoodhomestead.com/how-to-raise-baby-chicks/

So, I know I don’t have to convince you that “chicken math” is real!  We started with six chickens when we lived in the city, but when we moved to the country, we knew we wanted more. When we moved here, on the planning board were a lot of chickens, but how would we house them?

We looked into sheds. Much too expensive. So, we came up with our quick and simple 4′ x 8′ coop. You can build this coop in one day. You don’t need a lot of carpentry knowledge and just a few basic tools.

Chickens sitting on a roost.

The Parts List

  • 6″ x 6″ x 8′ pressure treated posts – 2 each
  • 4 x 8 x 3/8″ pressure treated plywood – 4 each
  • Pressure treated 2x3x6 – 8 each
  • Pressure treated 2x3x8 – 8 each
  • Pressure treated 2x4x6 – 3 each
  • Pressure treated 2x4x8 – 11 each
  • Hardware cloth – 10 feet
  • Box of 2-1/2″ exterior wood screws
  • Driver
  • Saw (table saw preferable)
  • Box of self-tapping screws
  • Box of U-nails or heavy duty stapler with staples
  • 2 sets of large exterior hinges
  • 1 set small exterior hinge
  • 4 eye and hook size (regular size)
  • 6 feet of paracord

Build the Coop Floor/Base

The bottom of the coop will be on two 6 x 6 posts.
The base and runners.
First 4x8 will be the floor of the coop.
A look at the runners & adding the floor.
  1. Cut 45 degrees on the ends of the 6x6x8  posts. Make sure that the side that will attach to the frame of the coop stays 8 feet long. This means you will be cutting to the existing corner of the post. These will act like “sled runners” on the bottom of the coop so you can move it around if you’d like.  If you will not be moving the coop, you can skip this step. You may leave the 6x6s as they are.  
  2. Take four 2x4x8 and cut two of them in half.  Take an additional 3” off each half.  This means that you will have two 2x4s that are 8 ft long and four that are 3’9”. (In case you weren’t aware, 2x4s are actually 3 ½” x 1 ½”.  Therefore, to keep our ends 4’ long, we need to accommodate for that). 
  3. You now should have four 2x4x4 and two 2x4x8. Place the full-length boards horizontally and parallel to each other on the ground.
  4. Lay the halved boards on each end between the two 8’ long ones and screw together. This is the basic box of the coop foundation. You can see this in the picture above.
  5. Insert the remaining two 3’9” boards in the middle and screw them to the 8’ boards. Make sure they are equally spaced. It doesn’t need to be exact. You may need a rubber mallet to get them in the middle of your rectangular frame.  
  6. Toe nail the 6×6 runners to the frame at the ends and in the middle. Flip the frame over.
  7. Next, take one of your ⅜” plywood boards and screw it to the frame on the opposite side of the runners. 

Build the Front Wall to the Coop

Build and place the front wall. Framing in a doorway and the chicken door.
Front wall up.
  1. Take three 2x4x6s and cut them to 50” each.  Then take two 2x3x6s and cut to 50”. These five boards will be the vertical components of your front wall.  
  2. Lay two 2x4x8s horizontally and join two 2x4s cut to 50” on the ends vertically between the two 8’. pieces.  This is just like you did with the base. Screw them together to make a rectangle.
  3. The third 2×4 that was cut to 50” will be placed 24” from the inside of the exterior 2×4 board.  This measurement is taken from surface to surface, not center of board to center of board, which is a common practice in carpentry). Screw it into the frame. This is the frame for the large door on your coop.
  4. Next, place a 2×3 cut to  50” anywhere you’d like the chicken door to be located.  This next piece will be the left side of the frame of the chicken door.  Place it vertically into the frame, 12” opening, and screw it in. 
  5. Take the remaining 2×3 piece cut to 50” and place it on the right side of the other within the frame. Measure 12” space between the two.  Screw it in.
  6. Take scrap from the 2×3 cuttings and cut two to measure 12”.  These will be the horizontal pieces you see joining the two vertical 2x3s in the picture.  
  7. Place the first one 17” from the top of the bottom 2×4.  Screw it in.
  8. Measure 14” up from the one you just installed.  Place the next 12” piece there and screw it in.
  9. Lastly, you will need two people for this.  Lift the frame up and screw it into the base of the coop as shown in the picture above. Make sure the wall is flush with the floor in the front of the coop.  
  10. Congratulations.  You have one wall up!

Build the Back Wall to the Coop

Frame out the back wall. Then the side walls will be put in place.
Framing out of the back of the coop.
  1. Grab four 2x4x8s. Take two and cut them exactly in half.  That will leave you with two full-length 2x4x8s and four 2x4x4.
  2. Lay the two 2x4x8s horizontally to be your top and bottom of the back wall.  
  3. Place one half of a 2x4x8 vertically between the horizontal 2x4x8s on each end. Screw in to form a rectangle.  
  4. Take the remaining two halves of 2x4x8 and place them in the center of the wall (make sure to measure – see photo). Leave 3” between the two. Screw into place. You will be attaching roosts to these, so you need room to maneuver tools. 
  5. Next, grab one 2x3x8 and cut it in half.  
  6. If you stand back, you will see that you have two halves of your back wall.  Place a half of a 2×3 in the center of each half of the wall (see the photo above). Screw into place. 
  7. So just to verify, the six vertical pieces will be in this order:
    • 2x4x4
    • 2x3x4
    • 2x4x4
    • 2x4x4
    • 2x3x4
    • 2x4x4
  8. Now it’s time to screw this to the floor of the coop.  With someone holding the wall flush to the edge of the coop floor, screw it into the floor. 
  9. Hooray!  That’s the back wall!

Install the Sides and Back of the Coop

Cut last one to have a door and a chicken door.
Side of finished chicken coop.
The wall should not extend down to the base frame.
  1. Get one 4 x 8 x ⅜” piece of plywood and cut it in half. 
  2. Have your helper hold it in place.  The bottom of the plywood will be even with the bottom of the bottom 2×4 of the wall frame.  It should not go down over the floor base.  If this is unclear, look at the picture of the side of the unpainted finished coop above. 
  3. Do this for both sides of the coop. 
  4. Grab another 2x4x8.  Cut it into two 3’5” pieces.  
  5. Screw these pieces with the 3” side against the top and inside of the sidewall plywood. These should fit neatly between the end piece of the front wall and the end piece of the back wall.  You do not need to screw them into the front and back walls, only to the side walls. 
  6. Take the second piece of 4 x 8 x ⅜” plywood and attached it to the back of the coop.  Again, you will need at least one helper (maybe two) to hold the plywood so that it lines up with the bottom of the wall framing. It should not go down over the floor framing.

Install the Door Frame

Attach a 4X8 for a back wall.
header on the door frame of chicken coop
  1.  The door frame is roughly there, but to add to the stability, we are going to add some pieces.  
  2. Take one 2x3x6 and cut it to 24”.  Screw this into the top of the door flush. (Picture above) 
  3. Take the remainder of the 2x3x6 you just cut and cut it to a 47” piece. Screw it to the right-hand side of the door just like the top one.  This will keep the door from being pushed into the coop. (not shown)

Start to Install the Ventilation

Cut last one to have a door and a chicken door.
  1. Cut 6’4” x 6” strip of hardware cloth and staple it to the top of the front of the coop from the door to the end. Use hardware cloth because it is predator-resistant.
  2. Next, cut a 12” x 14” piece to place as a window over the chicken door into the coop. (See photo above for clarification). 

Install the Coop Rafters

After attaching the front, install the roof beams and tin roof.
Our roof install for coop.
  1. You can either get five 2x3x6 OR three 2 x 3 x 10 boards for the rafters of the chicken coop. 
  2. Cut them down to 53”.  Lay those 5 rafters evenly across the top.  There will be approximately 22-¼” between rafters (measured inside rafter to inside rafter). 
  3. Screw them into both the front and the back of the wall structure.  
  4. Take two 2x3x8 and cut each board into four pieces that each measure 22″. 
  5. Insert these newly cut pieces between the rafters in the back and in the front of the coop build. When you install the tin roof, there will be a large gap there if you do not put these pieces there. 
  6. Make sure they are all screwed into place on the top plate of the wall.
  7. Cut the corrugated roof into 55″ lengths. Make sure they hang off the front more than the back. Do not make them flush with the coop on any sides. They all need to hang off. Screw them onto the rafters with self-tapping screws.

Finish the Ventilation

  1. Inside cut two 4-1/4 feet by 6” wide pieces of hardware cloth.
  2. Install these inside the coop by using the U-nails or staples to attach it to last rafter and the side wall on both sides.  See the picture above. 

Finish the Front Wall to the Coop

  1. Take and cut a 4 x 8 x ⅜” plywood 25-½” in from one end.  This will be your big door. 
  2. Measure from the interior big door jamb to the chicken coop door.  This is a bit difficult to explain.  However, if you look at the photo, you will see that you need to cut out the area that covers the chicken door and window.  It will be an area of 12” x 32-½” that will be removed .
  3. Take the wood from that cut-out and cut a 12” x 24” piece from it.  That will be the window cover.
  4. The remaining wood will be the sliding door inside the coop.  
  5. With your helpers, align the wall on the front and screw into the 2x4s to hold in place.

Install the Big Door

exterior of door - how the hinges are installed.
Door hinge for the outside door.
  1. Hang the 27”x4’ piece you cut from the 4×8 for the front of the coop.  Hang it onto the framing for the front wall using 2 hinges that can handle the weight of the door. 
  2. Make sure the door meets the plywood in the front so you can install a padlock clasp on the front to secure it. (At this step, we use a carabiner to secure it instead of a padlock.)
  3. See the images below to help with spacing and installation.

Install the Chicken Door

Inside the coop, the chicken door.
The “rails” for the door to slide.
Interior of chicken coop door
Interior of sliding door.
  1. This one is a little tricky because there are no exact measurements for the door slider Basically, we are going to make a runner for the door to slide on. Look at the picture below.  You can see we took scrap wood and made an L-shaped piece on either side of he interior of the door.  
  2. The door is made from the piece you cut out of the front wall of the coop. This would allow the door to slide up and down within. 
  3. Secure an eye on the top of the door. Tie paracord to it that will reach up through the ventilation and out to the front of the coop.  This paracord can be secured to the hook installed on the outside of the coop. 
  4. The remaining small piece was also cut out from that area, and install on the outside as a ventilation door.  It will cover the area with the hardware cloth. Put hinges on the top.  Install a hook and eye so that just like the clean-out door, you can open this ventilation window and keep it open  

Make the Clean-Out Door

Clean out door for chicken coop.
  1. On the right-hand wall, install a clean-out door.  The big door can be used for cleaning as well, so the clean-out door should be at the other end of the coop.  This will make cleaning it out easier. We cut a 38” X 17” door at the bottom on the right-hand wall.  We used a reciprocating saw to do this.  
  2. Install one set of large hinges at the top of this door.  
  3. Install a hook and eye set on the door and into the side of the coop. When you are cleaning, you can keep the door up and out of the way using the eye and hook. 
  4. We are almost done with the coop build!

Build the Coop Roosts

  • The roosts are the last and the easiest.  Make a ladder.  However, I can’t give you exact measurements for this because my calculations were a bit off and not written down. These are made from 2x3x8s. At this point, I think you’ll easily figure out what works for you. I added five of these to the parts list to cover the material for the roosts.
  • Attach these to the frame of the back wall. We added a hook to the roost on the bottom of the legs closest to the walls. Then we put an eye on the wall near the ceiling. Because these hinge on the screws, we can lift up the roosts and keep them there using the eye and hooks.

In Conclusion

Even though it was the first time we made a coop like this, it didn’t take long. It was also more cost-effective than buying a shed and transforming it. At the time of writing, we have had this coop for about three years and some of the images you see here I just took (i.e. poopy roosts). We have repainted it twice and it has held up pretty nicely through all kinds of weather. You CAN build this.

Please send pictures of your completed chicken coop build! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

Once you are done with your coop, you’ll need to set up an area for them to lay. You can always modify the inside of your coop to house a nesting box. You can even put two milk crates or equally sized boxes with hay under the roosts and they will lay there. You’ll just have to remember to take them out at night. If you don’t, you’ll get chicken poo all over them.

Our coop in 2023.
The coop as it looks today.

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