How to Build A Chicken Coop


Fingers crossed, my chickens will have a coop to live in soon.  Hopefully this will happen some time before they start laying eggs.

I started building it this week.  The coop, I mean.  The process started off with my fella helping me but I fired him.  Or he quit.  Either way, he’s off the job.   He wasn’t having fun anyway, so it’s for the best.   How do I know he wasn’t having fun?  Mainly I have an intuition for this sort of thing.  Plus his language was colourful.  How colourful?  If his language was a candy it would be Skittles.

Overheard while my boyfriend was helping me:

*&&%# stupid   ##$%!

Crappy #*&$$!&!!

What do you mean it’s $%##! wrong??!   $#@!&&”

“It’s *%#$in’ straight enough!”


“No.  No, no, no &%^^$##[email protected]! NOOOOOOOOO.  I’M NOT STARTING OVER!  I WON’T &%$$ DO IT.  You can &%^^$ it”

“I’m due a scheduled break now.  Union rules. &^%%$#.”


Enter … my sister who has framing experience and thinks building a chicken coop is loads of fun.

Overheard while my sister was helping me:

Do you like my tool belt?  It’s pink.  I like it too.

Oops.   (32 times the first day)

No, I don’t need safety glasses.  I have these – they’re Chanel.

Ow.  (17 times the first hour)


This is my favourite tape measure.  I love it.

Uh Oh!  LOL, looks like we have to do it again.


Maybe we should have some chips and dip.”

“Uh Oh! LOL, I measured wrong again.”

“Huh.  How’d that happen?”

“Oh no.  Well, it’s not that bad.  It just means we’re going to have to rebuild it all.  Again. LOL

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking my sister is “simple”.  She’s not.  She’s one of those happy-go-lucky people you hear all about in fairy tales.  You know, the ones who usually get eaten by the monster but magically get vomited up by way of the monster’s nose, causing the monster to suffocate and die. Happy-go-lucky girl always saves the day.   Plus, she really loves projects.  She was the contractor on her own custom built house and she builds her own furniture in her spare time.  Just for fun.  Something as “cute” as building a chicken coop with absolutely no plans, a pile of wood and a mitre saw is her idea of Narnia.

And it was Narnia.  The first day.  By the second day the LOL’s were fewer and farther between.  By the time my mitre saw crapped out, complete with billowing smoke coming from the motor, we were both happy to see it happen.

So like I said, fingers crossed, my chickens will soon have a place to live.  Fingers crossed, before they lay an egg, they lay a sliding compound mitre saw.


  1. Jane says:

    I love your coop. I got chicken fever this Spring, but thank goodness did not buy the chickens first. I(wisely for me) decided to do some research first and have decided I may just have to build my coop to get it where I want it. I love your humor – sounds like me and my daughter trying to do stuff. I now have 3 chain saws and lots of tools. Needed to acquire stuff after my ex left with his tools. I am almost ready. Maybe by next year and maybe modeled on yours.

    • Karen says:

      Jane – Good luck with the chickens and the coop building. You can also buy coops, so don’t pass up on that if you can afford it. I couldn’t buy one because of the limited and odd space I had to fit it in. I can honestly say that every single day I go out and sit with the chickens. Then I come inside and say “I LOVE those chickens”. They’re cute, some of them are cuddly and jump up in my lap, and they’re always … always soothing and entertaining. ~ karen!

  2. Kate says:

    Love it! You inspire me, tho’ I don’t have chickens as yet (my late papa always kept chickens, so I know the joy and value of home grown eggs!) … but someday I will. But I’m thinkin’ … first the coop, then the chicks.

  3. Anthea says:

    You are the Chelsea Handler of the Chicken world…funny, pretty and darn good lookin chicken coop. Keep the sister and Chanels

  4. Gale says:

    Hi, I just got a link to your chicken coop on my facebook. My friends know I’m planning to build a chicken coop. Your has to be the neatest I’ve seen.
    My husbands parents raised chicken in a large open barn. We use the barn for all kinds of stuff, but I have cleared out a 12×9 ft area and have used barn lumber stacked and ready. We have two old nesting boxes. The old metal ones with 8 nesting holes each.
    I will make two separate pens. One for brood and one for the roosters when the chicks hatch. Looking forward to getting them built. I will probably wait until next spring though.
    Thanks for sharing your experience! It was definitely intertaining. I can relate, I’ve been converting our old Dairy barn into a homeschool classroom check out some of my pictures on my blog

  5. Amy says:

    Have you ever read Flannery O’Connor’s “King of the Birds”? I just found your blog (which is great) but your combination of self-mocking humor and gettin-it-done attitude really remind me of her writing. Plus she kept birds as pets. How many people can you say that about? ;)

    • Karen says:

      Amy – I have not! But I’m always looking for good books so I’ll be sure to take a look for it. I’ve discovered the only people who keep birds as pets are people who don’t mind cleaning up poop. And lots of it. ~ karen!

  6. Andrea says:

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!! You seriously crack me up! I just got 4 chickens, had them in a brooder for almost 9 weeks and was gonna go nuts if it lasted one more day. I LOVE MY GIRLS. Sweetest hens around but having four 9 week old chickens indoors is ALOT of work. The coop is finally done (although NOT painted cuz I couldn’t wait another couple days) and the ladies are IN it!! They are the cutest things EVER and I worry about them endlessly, but they are doing everything they should :) Can’t wait to see your coop!

  7. rebecca gostin says:

    I too am building a space for my chickens, the coop is being transformed from a “shed” to a coop and I still have to build the fencing. I am so happy to read that someone else has had the same “male” experience as I have! Good luck on your coop building! I want to pass along to you the words I keep telling myself: “The chickens won’t care what it looks like” Here is to strong women who make our own rules!

    • Karen says:

      LOL, Thanks Rebecca! Unfortunately I’m part Danish, part English and part Crazy. So my coop is turning into something you might see in Architectural Digest. With people living in it. No wonder my boyfriend quit/got fired! Good luck with your coop! ~ karen

  8. Shauna says:


    We too are ever closer to finishing our chicken coop. My husband, a software engineer in the testing department of federally regulated products seems to have the same opinion as you when it comes to building – perfection. It took 3 days for him to build the hen house because he kept taking it apart and re-doing it while me and everyone else were the broken record saying, “It’s just a chicken coop, it’s fine!”

    I’m convinced it will be the prettiest, well-built chicken coop in the neighborhood, so I’m secretly quite proud of him;)

  9. Elen says:

    Best chicken feet evah! The post was too funny. Thanks for the laugh big.

  10. angharad says:

    i had better not let our chickens see this post. they will be demanding re-hsouing.

    their coop is fashioned from an old packing case and some pallets and has never been near a mitre saw! or indeed a tape measure…

    love your blog!

  11. kimberly montgomery says:

    I’m totally loving your blog. Love the chickens. I found your blog the day after my mother and I went on a tour of local backyard chickent coops. This blog is too funny. Don’t ya just love sisters!

  12. Wendy says:

    I see you have been taking pictures of my legs again…I need some deep hydrating lotion. I don’t think you surprise me…since your sister gave me frogs for Christmas, why wouldn’t you get chicks for Easter?? Love your blog will read all of it.
    And I think I smell worms NOW.

  13. Tricia Rose says:

    Oh no, your chop saw died? You are so brave about it! and you don’t even have the Memorial Day sales to get a new one – unless there is an equivalent in Canada…

    Tell your sister if she ever wants a little holiday in California, I’m planning to strip out, vault and plank my bedroom ceiling late June when I run out of fabric and can’t work (my subconscious planned it that way). You can come too!

  14. Cynthia says:

    Took a break from measuring moulding for the just painted guest bedroom….with my guy. Lots of the same kind of colorful language.

    Congrats on your chicken keep and a terrific blog.


    • Karen says:

      Thanks Cynthia. Good luck with the crown moulding. If it *is* crown moulding I wish you more than luck. I wish a carpenter to miraculously appear at your door. ~ karen

  15. Marti says:

    Storms here in the eastern United States knocked out the power half an hour ago. (Read that aloud. Rhymes.. .kinda) But thank heavens it was restore, along with my wireless internet service. Whew! Because otherwise, I might have missed being among the first 20 people to comment on that chicken leg picture.

    Oh and gracious Lord, the glory of your blog in general. Have a great weekend. Thanks for making me laugh.

  16. Michele says:

    Amazing photo.
    Does your sister actually say “LOL,” because I have a friend who has started saying it rather than actually laughing at jokes.

    • Karen says:

      Michele – Um. No. My sister wouldn’t even know what LOL is I don’t think. She still doesn’t really know how to use text messaging and thinks cash machines are new fangled. She’s not one for technology so much. ~ karen

  17. blake says:

    I kinda want to paint the chickens nails…

  18. sandra says:

    Hi karen. You just described my sister Stacy to a tee. happy-go-lucky and always up for an adventure. I have never met anyone that can flit about in Nordstrom with her skirt tucked into her panties and then laugh about it when brought to her attention. I just know that if I were ever to have chickens, Stacy would be the one building a lop-sided coop with me … structurally unsound, predator ready, but oh the adventure it would be. Thanks for the laughs

  19. bluephatmom says:

    I was going to comment on how great that chicken picture is. Guess it’s been done. :)

  20. julie says:

    Just talked to a carpenter friend about building my coop. [My chicks arrive in a week, yay! ] I knew that for US to build it, we would be looking at all summer/fall, lots of bloodshed, and, very likely, chickens dead from stress.

  21. Patricia says:

    Chicken toes are sooooo cute! You have to polish them. tee hee

  22. Carol-Anne says:

    I love everything about this post! Can’t wait to see the finished project!

  23. Karen-Emmanuelle says:

    Thank you for making laugh on this impossibly grey and rainy morning :-)

  24. marilyn says:

    i would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the two of you build a chicken coop! thay would be fodder for a whole other blog!

  25. That photo is awesome – seriously, love it!

  26. sue says:

    Gosh, you are so funny and such a wonderful writer. And, as Renee pointed out, so very, very twisted. “I love you chickens, you are so sweet, cute and delicious.” Let’s hope they don’t read your blog too.

  27. Debbie Doodles says:

    This cracks me up especially since my son and daughter in law also just got chickens and built a coop. I share your posts with them. Their chickens are named nugget and dippit – they had more but they got eaten . . . they are trying to introduce new chickens – not easy – that will be a whole ‘nuther story. Thanks for the laugh.

  28. magali says:

    LOVE the picture!

  29. Kelsey says:

    Karen this post is HILARIOUS! And that chicken leg picture is AWESOME! You should put it on Etsy!

  30. Renee says:

    It’s pretty funny that your “you might also like” section includes 3 links to baby chicken & chicken coop posts, and one to a plate of grilled chicken :)

  31. Laura says:

    I had to read this one aloud to my hubby. He is still laughing.

  32. Mary says:

    That picture is awesome. And, I’m pretty sure our boyfriends speak the same language.

    • Karen says:

      Mary – Swearinese is pretty common among men. They pick it up in childhood I think. ~ karen

      • marné says:

        Funny, I think swearinese is what my husband was speaking when I asked for help building raised beds for our garden. I’ll just be making those myself from now on.

  33. Carrie says:

    Hi Karen. I love your blog, and your sense of humor! Today, I love, love, love your chicken leg picture. Bravo!

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