“Krewe of Coops” Chicken Coop Tour, No. 14 — Fifteen (Anything But) Basic Coops

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When we named our stand-alone chicken coop design “The Basic Coop,” we meant it purely as a compliment. The design is basic, of course, in that it’s easy to build and easy to afford.

But that simplicity makes it a great starting point to extend, customize, and create the perfect housing for your small backyard flock. In this sense, The Basic Coop design is anything but basic. These fifteen customer builds will show you what I mean. . . .

Coop 1: Steve and Shawn’s Basic Coop, Sparks, Maryland

Steve and Shawn connected their Basic Coop to an existing coop. They also raised it up and enclosed the space underneath to expand the secure run.

Raised chicken coop with attached run
Side view of basic chicken coop with secure run

A few notes from Steve:

Before I ever got chickens, I purchased and assembled a kit coop I found online. It was super easy, but I was disappointed about the “balsa wood” quality and flimsy hardware. My wife and I planned on having just four hens, but figured we’d play it safe by ordering six. They sent us eight.

It quickly became clear the kit coop would not be roomy enough. So I looked around for a studier coop — and found your plans. Not only am I much happier with the quality you designed into The Basic Coop, I really enjoyed building it. Thanks!  

Coop 2: Mike, Nicole, and Keegan K.’s Basic Coop and Half-Height Garden Run, Bremerton, Washington

The K family’s coop and run configuration turned out amazing. I really like the combination of The Basic Coop and the half-height Garden Run module.

Raised chicken coop with attached garden-top run

The adjustment of the coop height makes this combination work. The coop tucks in nicely in their yard and can be moved easily if needed.

Exterior nest box on small chicken coop

The black hardware really dresses it up too, looking sharp against the color scheme and the cedar. The outboard nest box with the cabinet hardware is a classy touch too. 

Chicken coop ladder from run to henhouse

Some notes from Mike:

We used all cedar and 1/2″ fir plywood. The only major modifications were extending the legs to 24″, an exterior nest box, and using galvanized roofing. We painted the hardware cloth black to make it easier to see inside the run. Future plans are to add a solar/battery lighting system to keep the girls busy during the short winter days.

We used a cedar four-by-four for the base and stapled 1/2″ hardware cloth to the bottom of that for security, then back filled over it with dirt and pine shavings. It seems to work well. I had originally intended to use pavers for the base to rest on with hardware cloth extending down 12″ or so, but it seemed to be more work than needed, so I went with the four-by-four. If I do it over again, I may use a four-by-six and go with the deep compost method in the run. 

I also used some leftover vinyl for under the planter box to minimize water intrusion into the run. It’s set at a slight angle so that the water will run to the rear where I used a piece of angle iron for a gutter. Here in the Pacific Northwest we tend to see a lot of rain, so we wanted the girls to have a dry area to hang out in when they weren’t roaming about the yard. Seems to work for now, but in the future I will probably replace the vinyl with a thin piece of sheet metal.

Coop 3: April’s Double-Star Basic Coop, Montgomery, Alabama

April wrote:

We extended the plan by three feet and added external nesting boxes. We also put the pop door on the front so we could connect it to The Garden Run and added a window to the right side.

To build it wider, I just extended all the horizontal pieces by 36 inches. After I had it all together, I realized I needed an extra support under the floor, so I put an extra two-by-two across the bottom from front to back in the middle. 

This was my first time to really build anything (although I do have an engineering degree that I don’t use!). I learned so much. Thank you!

I think her coop turned out beautifully! The external nest boxes are a nice touch, and the decorations give it personality.

In the photo, I notice a slight sag in the middle of the roof, though it might just be the warp on that particular board. If you’re planning to build the design wider like this, you might want to add support to the purlins in that spot.

Coop 4: Laura’s Basic Coop with Garden Run, Northport, Michigan

Laura wrote:

We made The Basic Coop with the quarter-height and half-height/garden-top Garden Run modules attached. I modified the quarter-height to have two hinged tops and a bar for hanging a feeder and waterer, and I added a roost in the half-height. 

The girls used the roost under the garden for sleeping until they got a nighttime visit from a curious cat and decided that inside the coop was a better place to rest. All were safe. We included hardware cloth under the coop (covered with soil) and attached it everywhere with screws and washers in order to keep out any persistent predators.  

Coop 5: Susan and Patrick’s Basic Coop and Garden Run, Upshur County, West Virginia

From Susan and Patrick:

We reinforced the door with two-by-fours, painted it inside and out, and attached the half-height Garden Run module, which connects our Basic Coop and our Garden Coop with a pop door.

We used The Basic Coop as a grow-out coop for our new Littles, and once they were integrated into the flock, it became the temporary home for our broody hen (with the nest removed, of course). It would make an ideal place for a broody to hatch and raise her chicks.

This has been a very workable and adaptable design. Thanks for the plans!

Coop 6: Stephanie’s Raised Basic Coop with Run

How to build a backyard chicken coop with attached run

Says Stephanie:

We had fun customizing The Basic Coop. As you can see, it’s wider (by about five feet) and higher off the ground to create shade and shelter underneath because we didn’t have a good shady spot.

Coop 7: Michelle and Joshua’s Super Cooper, Portland, Oregon

Michelle and Joshua originally built a Basic Coop and attached couple of quarter-height Garden Run modules, modified a foot taller. They later built a second Basic Coop and attached the two together.

The Basic Coop built larger
Henhouse with modular chicken run attached

Michelle and Joshua wrote:

Our coop now has East and West Wings! We removed a roost bar from the one on the left (previously existing coop) and added another nesting box. So the one on the left now has only roosting bars, and the egg door is just a hole to pass from one coop to the other. We then extended the roof so there is one continuous roof over both coops.

We love how it turned out, and it looks like our ladies do too. Thanks for making such killer plans. They’re amazing, and we love how customizable they’ve proven to be.

Coop 8: Ali’s Basic Coop, Built with Hardware Kit, Westminster, Colorado

I really like how Ali raised the height of the coop and attached the secure run module. And how the grapes just spill out over the top for shade. 

Coop 9: Leah’s Basic Coop with T1-11 Siding, Window, and Shingle Roof, Brandon, South Dakota

Leah wrote:

The instructions were wonderful and easy to follow. Thank you so much! We decided to add a little flair with a window we found. We scored big with the green color being a mistint of paint as well. Just what we were looking for. 

The pup is Linus. He has no idea what he’s in for with the chicks. 🙂

And finally, here’s her coop with the secure run attached. . .

Coop 10: Jessica’s “Fluffy Butt Hut” Basic Coop and Run, Sandy, Utah

Jessica’s coop and run sit elegantly in a shady part of her yard and garden. I love the black framing, white siding, added front window, and personalized sign. You can see in the photos below that she uses sand for litter in the bases of The Garden Run sections.

Coop 11: Tina and Peter’s Basic Coop, Built with Hardware Kit, San Jose, California

Tina wrote:

My husband enjoyed building it and found your instructions to be very clear. He wants to build a treehouse now! Getting the hardware kit was also worth it and saved us a lot of time with getting materials. Thank you for your great customer service while we went back and forth on this a few times.

Coops 12 & 13: Katie’s Larger Basic Coop, Attached Garden Run, and Second Basic Coop, Connecticut

Katie made a few modifications to her first Basic Coop — increasing the size of the coop to 4′ x 4′, lengthening the legs, and adding an external nest box. She also attached the half-height and quarter-height Garden Run modules to give her chickens some secure run space.

Here are some more notes from her:

I was originally going to put additional run space under the coop, but I changed my mind. I wish I’d elevated the coop another 6 or 12 inches for ease of cleaning, but I love the size. I have five hens now and could fit more easily.

I’ve also been experimenting with actively composting in the runs. The henhouse I keep clean and dry, but I am keeping the runs moist and turned regularly with lots of compostable items. I actually won a sustainability award from my company for composting in the coop.

I really love the coop. In a year or two we will be moving, and I like that I’ll be able to move the coop relatively easily. 

Our second Basic Coop I built entirely following the instructions and using leftover paint. My husband says it’s his favorite because of the colors. I did it mostly by myself in three days.

Coops 14 & 15: Wendy’s Two Basic Coops, Rexburg, Idaho

I’m delighted with my Basic Coop! This is not my first crack at carpentry, but it is the first significant thing I’ve built from actual plans. It was a fun build, and I’m very satisfied with the result.

My mods:

– Added a Schluter strip along the top front wall-roof joint to hide the gap and add a gleam.

– Moved egg door and nest box to the back corner and used a plastic washbasin for the base (removable for cleaning). Built a simple frame to support the edges. (It also rests on the back roost.) And added leftover window screening to enhance privacy. With the box back in the corner the entire front roost is freed up for. . . roosting.

Attached a run made of hog panels and hardware cloth. It started at 3′ x 4′, but was later expanded with the addition of a new 4′ x 4′ section.

After looking at countless online coops with sketchy plans, I was thrilled to discover your site. I especially like the carpenter’s tips you give — basic stuff every carpenter should know. Thank you for not making assumptions about anything! That’s what really sets you apart, besides your eye-catching designs.

After building a second coop using The Basic Coop plans, Wendy got back in touch:

My second Basic Coop is done and being put to good use! Since it’s housing four youngsters in chilly night temps, I’ve loosely laid some bubble wrap atop the wire roof. I think it’s ingenious how you built this flexibility into the plan.

Building your coops is giving such a boost to my skills and confidence. For this second coop, I opted to make your outboard nest box. I wanted the challenge of it and needed to maximize roosting space inside for three hens and their roo.

I pre-framed the nest box wall with extra two-by-twos. Then found I had enough plywood scraps left from the build to piece together the nest box with glue, mending pieces, caulk, and good paint to make it nice and watertight.

I made the access door as tall as I could. I needed room for my dishpan nest base, leaving enough of a gap at the top to collect eggs over its side. There was, happily, just enough room left for the barrel bolt under the roof overhang. Little curtains made of leftover shade screening add the privacy my hens seem to prefer for egg laying.

The color is SW’s Sun Dried Tomato. This contrasts with a white interior and a scrap of bright orange Schluter ditra mat for waterproof flooring — which happily has a waffle texture for grip.

Final assembly was done inside our existing cattle panel hoop run. The only help I needed was to lift the coop onto the brick base. This is easy work for two, using a strap looped around each leg, which allows lifting with minimal bending over. I painted the run’s exterior door to match.

Thank you again for your brilliant design!

Oh, and I don’t think Wendy could have done it without some construction help from her chickens. 🙂

Thanks to everyone featured here for sharing your coop pictures, ideas, and notes about your experience building with The Basic Coop and The Garden Run plans! Like what they’ve done? Let them know in the comments below.

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