Chicken Coop Plans and Chickens

Hey Everyone!

So I have decided on the coop I’m going to build. One of my readers mentioned using pallets, for some reason….that had not crossed my mind. But I’m glad they did. A local store around here sells pallets for $1, I can get as many as I want for almost nothing, so we’ll be really good to go on that! I might even make the roof from pallets as well.

Here is the coop I’m going to build—>

I plan on building it all myself after I borrow some tools from Dad. As silly as it sounds, I’m going to avoid power saws and just cut the wood with a regular wood saw. I know they save a lot of time, but I don’t like them. I get more satisfaction out of hand tools anyway. I’m also going to start building this, in my garage, in the next couple of weeks. I’ll continue to build it throughout the winter as we have an extra $20 here and there. I want it to be as cheap as possible. I’ve got plenty of time to use hand tools.

I’m going to be putting nesting boxes, probably 6-8 of them on the back wall and roosting bars on one end or the other. It should be easy enough to open the front door to clean the place and be able to reach the boxes (which I think I will make from milk crates). I’m also going to get some cheap linoleum to install on the floor, so that the place can be swept out, stripped and scrubbed if need be. I won’t have to worry about what’s soaking into the wood either.

That being said, Dad has graciously decided to give me one of the chain-link dog kennels he has, which will be the run for the chickens. It’s 10×10, so they will have plenty of space. I will also be putting chicken wire around the bottom of the fence, just as an extra precaution, even though the chickens will be in the coop at night. The coop will be off the ground and the chickens will be denied access under the coop. I will make sure they have some shade.

Now for my chicken choices. As you all know, if you’ve been here for a while, I’m obsessed with colored eggs, so I will be getting mostly Ameracaunas. I spent a month or so on picking people’s brains and I’ve decided they will be a good choice. On the other hand, I have found another breed that I like very much from the Meyer Hatchery in Ohio they are called Barnevelders ( They are a little pricey, so I won’t be getting very many. If their prices don’t go down ($20 a chick for Ameracuanas!), then I will probably be ordering from Townline Hatchery here in Michigan and I will have to forgo the Barnevelders. Dad has requested brown eggs for some reason, so I guess I better get one or two of those chickens as well. I will probably buy 8 chickens, but I’m hoping for a total number of 6-8 (in case I get roosters). My roosters, if any, will be culled when they get to weight. However, if things are looking good at that point, I may expand the coop and keep a broody hen. It’s far too early to tell, but as of this moment, roosters are out. Don’t want the noise, don’t want to clip their spurs, don’t want them beating up the girls.

I’ve also been playing with the idea of just getting easter eggers (for price sake) and then getting a couple Ameracuanas locally. Then, as time goes on, I can  change the flock if I’m not happy with the breed choices.

Couple questions:

1) I’m here in Michigan, it gets pretty cold. I should probably wire the coop for a bulb or two correct? I know there is risk of fire with things like that, so I want to know if they need heat (of any kind) or if the shelter just needs to be tight.
2) Are chickens sensitive to black walnut toxins? I can place them near or far from the trees, but if they were close it would give them summer shade and winter sun.

These chickens will not be free range. As much as I would love to do that, I have a huge garden, the neighbor has a huge german shepard that could easily get out, we have A TON of fox, raccoon, and coyote here and we are on a semi-busy road. No go on the free range thing. They will be getting tons of scraps from the garden and grass clippings to go through, no worries there. If we suddenly have an infestation of something, I might put up a temporary fence let them go.

I forgot to mention, Justin’s Mom offered us all her old chicken gear, so we’ll have feeders and waterers galore! No equipment to buy!

I’m excited to do this! I’ve figured out a way to make it cheap, effective and easy! This is definitely possible.

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. I live in Minnesota and winter lows can be pretty cold, like minus 20 or lower but I don’t put any supplemental heat sources in my coop. As long as your chickens have plenty of feathers and calorie-rich food and are in a weather tight coop I think they’ll be fine. I lay down a lot of extra hay on the floor in the winter and that helps to keep their feet warm. I have found it to be a good thing to feed them some cooked mash as it is easier to digest and gives them water at the same time. My usual mix is cracked corn, yellow filed peas, potatoes, and squash. I keep a pot of this in the house and bring them servings throughout the day. They get dry food, too.

    black walnut leaves, hulls, and twigs are toxic to horses and other grazers and maybe chickens. One thing that is deadly to chickens are garbanzo beans. One of mine died after eating them. Check the TBN Ranch site here at wordpress for more info on chickens.

    $20/a chick for Americaunas sounds too high. I paid about $2/chick for mine delivered by mail.

    1. Thanks for the help! That’s awesome! I was thinking he price was a bit high myself, but they are special “Blue” ameracaunas. I’ll probably just end up getting easter eggers and regular ameracaunas. I don’t really care about their foliage.

      1. Most of what is sold as Americauna is really not. The hens lay blue, green, pink eggs like Americaunas but there’s a lot of unknowns in the pedigree (like mine). There is a place in Wisconsin (I think) that sells real Americaunas but can’t remember the name right now.

      2. That’s okay, I think I prefer the cheaper ones anyway.

  2. James Gielow says:

    I agree with everyone above. The chickens will be fine in the winter, however their water source might not be. They have little heaters you can add to keep it from freezing. But then you’d need electricity run to the coop.

    As for breeds, $20 is way too high for a chick! Ameraucana aren’t so rare to validate that mark up!

    Easter Eggers are awesome and the eggs are beautiful to be sure. Not too heavy on the laying though. But definitely worth getting.

    If your pop wants brown eggs, I highly recommend a couple Rhode Island Reds for your flock. They lay like crazy. Big beautiful eggs every day.

    Backyard chickens is a great source for info, so you’re on the right path. Hit me up if anything comes up too and I’ll be more than happy to help out!

    It’s so nice to see you guys living your dream in your new house! Very happy for you.

    1. That might be a good idea, getting a couple brown chickens, just to mix it up. Thanks for the tips, I appreciate it!

      1. James Gielow says:

        Rhode Island Reds are egg laying machines! I’m getting a couple Barred rocks in a couple weeks. I’ll let you know how they do.

  3. Grower says:

    You’re going to have so much fun with your chickens! Post if you find an easy way to disassemble pallets. I could NOT get the spiral shank nails out of the one I wanted to use for tomato crates and ended up just sawing it up.

    1. We pulled some boards off one by hammering the opposite side. We broke a couple of boards, but mostly they came off pretty well!

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