Not-so-Helpful Advice About Building a Coop From My Friends

By Kelson Spear

The funny thing is, even though I grew up on the farm I never paid attention to the chicken coop. I never noticed how it was built. I never realized how the chickens have a schedule for laying their eggs. I never noticed the different clucking sounds they made just hanging out together.

It's strange to me - almost like re-reading a book after 5 years - you remember some of the story line, but a lot of the details are foggy.

Some of the past was so memorable, but then some of the details just weren't clear.

And the more people I asked about "HOW TO" build a coop, the more vague, sketchy answers I got.

And since I couldn't remember all the details, I asked a LOT of people.

Some of the responses went like this...

"Oh, it's just a chicken coop, you just make a wooden box". This was the response from an old timer, when I asked for his help. AS IF just anyone could whip together a perfectly sized little box built strong enough to hold together, but still be light enough to be mobile (And I got the same response from the Feed Store - I might add)

Another person said this, "Well, my dad actually built my coop. So you can come look at it, but I can't really tell you how we did it."

In addition to those "How-to" responses, one guy told me I would need to buy some specific tools to cut the lumber. So I actually went out and bought some real "power tools", because I didn't have any. (A circular skill saw was his minimum recommendation)

But... I didn't actually use the saw.

Well, I tried to.

But I didn't screw the blade on tight enough, so it only cut through half of one of my plywood sheets, loosened the blade, and scared me. So - I abandoned it.

It's still just sitting there in my garage.

Some of those power tools scare me. That's how "un-mechanical" I am.

Sad huh?

I've heard horror stories of cutting off fingers and arms.
And I don't want to do that to myself.

And I have since found that I didn't have to - Many wood suppliers will cut to your specifications.

On top of all that, other people questioned me on if I could keep chickens in town or not. So they had NO CLUE what advice to give me.

On and on went these ever-so-helpful details.

The Coop Journey Begins

And so I decided to begin my own journey.

What probably takes some people minutes to do took me hours to think through, and draw, and plan.

Along with tons of help from books I bought and notes I'd taken - I might add.

Did it turn out perfect? No
Was it simple? No
Did I have to try different ideas? Yes
Did it take HOURS? Yes - over 8 hours on the first coop with 2 people working on it. OUCH!
Did I need help? Yes
Did I spend a LOT more MONEY than I should have? Yes
Am I proud of what I accomplished? ABSOLUTELY
Would I do it again? Yes

After going through all of this, I can honestly say...


Even if you've never held a hammer, or drilled a hole, or sawed on a piece of wood.

You can do this.

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