How to Build a Chicken Coop or Greenhouse From Cattle Panels for Under $200
The chirping coming from inside the cardboard box gave away the surprise. Several weeks ago my youngest son convinced my wife that we needed more animals. Without telling me, the person who does the chores for the critters, four puffy chicks barely bigger than an egg were presented to me like a gift. Apparently, I wasn’t acting as excited as they hoped. My wife assured me “it could be worse, he really wanted a rodent.”
We actually love keeping chickens. It’s been a while since we had fresh eggs from our own hens. In the past, our chickens were easy to manage. They were fully free range during the day with a coop for evenings. Like chicken-shit-on-our-back-porch and roost-in-trees level of free range. There were fewer predators where we lived then. Now we live in Washington state where eagles will snatch chickens from the air. A chicken coop with a covered run is necessary.
We bought a small enclosed coop, but our Ameraucana chickens quickly outgrew it.
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The chickens needed more space. None of the chicken coop designs online appealed to us. Although they looked nice with cedar wood siding and cute ladders to nesting areas, the covered runs seemed too small for us feral free rangers. And the chicken coop kits were expensive and still required assembly.
We wanted something bigger that can be moved if needed.The structure is light enough to move to fresh grass but big enough keep in place with bedding materials like straw or wood chips to prepare the ground for another garden bed. In the winter, we plan to wrap it in clear greenhouse plastic to help keep the hens warm.
I recalled a few YouTube videos on cattle panel greenhouses and cattle panel chicken coops. They appeared affordable and easy to build. So we made a materials list and got started. (See full material and tool list at the end of this post).
Materials cost around $190. We are NOT skilled carpenters and it only took about 6 hours to build. Believe me, if we can do it, you can do it.
The chickens are much happier!
Here are the 8 simple steps to building a DIY cattle panel chicken coop or greenhouse:
Step 1 – Frame the Foundation
At 8′ (96 inches) by 8’4″ (100 inches) the frame is suitable for a small cattle panel greenhouse or large chicken coop.
The frame is made with two-by-fours (96 inches x 100 inches) and fastened with deck screws and corner braces. The cattle panels are 50 inches wide so two of them fit perfectly in the frame.
Step 2 – Attach Cattle Panels
We attached two 10-inch pieces of two-by-two to the bottom of the frame in order to act as a shelf for the cattle panels to sit evenly in the frame.
We used 1 1/4-inch galvanized staples to secure the cattle panels to the frame.
We used zip ties to connect the cattle panels together where they met in the middle of the coop.
Step 3 – Build a Door
We used two-by-fours, deck screws, and mending plate fasteners for the door frame. Once the door frame was in, we secured the cattle panel to it using galvanized staples.
The door itself is made from two-by-two boards secured with deck screws and corner braces.
Step 4 – Attach Poultry Netting
Using zip ties and a staple gun, we attached 3-foot tall poultry netting across the lower side walls.
Step 5 – Frame and Net Back of Coop
We used 2x4s, deck screws and corner brackets for the back framing. We wanted it sturdy enough to handle the weight of roosting boxes and a door to easily access eggs without going in the coop.
Step – 6 Attach Door and Netting
A simple gate latch fit perfect. It auto-latches so the chickens can’t get out and the dog can’t get it when feeding them.
Step 7 – Move to Desired Location
Our golden retriever, Koa, did our quality assurance check. It passed.
Step 8 – Attach Tarp to Roof
The 12ft by 16ft heavy duty tarp covered the entire roof area completely. We used zip ties to secure it to the chicken coop.
That’s it. Relatively simple for a couple of amateurs to build. It’s a suitable enclosure. We plan to add nesting boxes and perches.
Here’s the list of materials and tools used to build this DIY chicken coop:
2 – cattle panels (50inx16ft)
1 – heavy duty tarp (12ftx16ft)
2 – rolls plastic poultry netting (3ftx25ft)
2 – 2×4 studs (8ft)
6 – 2×4 studs (10ft)
3 – 2×2 studs (8ft)
1 – box 1 ¼-inch galvanized staples
1 – box 2 ¼-inch deck screws
1 – 100-pk zip ties (8 inch)
1 – door hinge
1 – gate latch
3 – packs corner braces (2-inch/4-pk)
By adding another 50-inch wide cattle panel, this design could make a very nice 8ft by 12.5ft hoop greenhouse. Replace the tarp and poultry netting with greenhouse plastic and you’ll have a nice set-up to extend your garden season.
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Tell us your ideas to improve this design or share your favorite DIY chicken coop designs.