Scientific studies certainly support the nutritional benefits of the incredible egg, but what they don't detail is what a difference it makes to pick the eggs fresh from your very own backyard birdhouse. If you're looking to increase your household's self-sufficiency starting with this breakfast staple, you might consider keeping your own chickens. Whether you live in tight quarters with a modest backyard or on acres of land with room to roam, there's a DIY coop that's got you covered. Check out these five safe, stylish, and fully-functional shelters first for the inspiration you need to get building.
Home to no fewer than eight chickens-Rosie Mae, Henny, Ginger, Merabeth, Maizie, Polly, Marigold and Hazel, to be exact-this 7-foot by 11-foot coop is a miniature palace for the feathered octet. Built adjacent to a chicken run and attached by a chute, the airy, window-centric coop even features a bunny hutch for the hens' four-legged furry friend. The builders and bloggers behind Redeem Your Ground anchored the structure with posts set in Quikrete and topped it with a tin roof, lending some old rustic charm to an impressively secure project.
Constructed with plywood and held firmly together with T strap hardware, this carefully-framed chicken cube features a high ceiling and fully hinged wall on one side to allow the humans in for easy cleaning. Even more impressive than the hens' amenities might be the slanted, greenery-stuffed eco-roof, which eliminates tough calls on whether to keep a garden or keep chickens. The blog Landscape+Urbanism walks you through the thoughtful design and build processes of the two-story coop and roof in a six-part series. The end result: A simply genius two-in-one sustenance structure housing four happy chickens and plenty of herbs.
Built to resemble a big red barn, The Creative Mom's whimsical chicken coop (made in collaboration with The Home Depot) boasts 32 square feet of space-enough room to hold up to a dozen chickens. This cute country coop is smartly designed, too: well-ventilated in the eaves to keep air flowing throughout and prevent overheating during the summer months. It also features roosting bars, a nesting box with an open top, and basket hook for easy egg-gathering before breakfast.
A BEGINNER BUILD
With less than $100 and only a few hours' time start to finish, Ana and Jacob White assembled this wooden A-frame chicken coop from scratch. Perfect for DIY enthusiasts with limited time, tools, and/or budget, this sweet and simple coop gets the job done with T-strap hinges for easy access and plenty of chicken wire to let the light shine in and keep everything sunny side up. Just pay attention to the angles on this project: 60-degree cuts at the top and 30-degree cuts at the bottom of the frame to secure it into an isosceles triangle.
When your kid gets ready to fly the coop and leaves you with a well-loved, outgrown playhouse, as the Dukes and Duchesses know, there's no better way to repurpose it than to find new tenants. A great design project for a larger plot of land, this DIY conversion includes a spacious chicken run for protection, whitewashed interiors to repel insects and prevent bacterial growth, plus plenty of smart chicken-specific renovations (right down to a closed water system made with a bucket and some watering nipples). Where children once played pretend, a family of chickens now live the dream.