Buying Vs. Building Chicken Coop: What Should You Pick

The obvious yet deceiving answer: Buy a coop if you have poor building skills, but you have some dough. Build a coop when you love DIY projects and want to save cash. 

But the answer that you really need: it’s not all about how handy you are or if you have extra money to spare. Chickens have a say, too, especially when they’re already displaying this one behavior!  

So take a deep breath, relax and let’s do this.

buying versus building a chicken coop

Build a Coop if you…

Here are 5 reasons to build a chicken coop. Of course, if you’ve already decided upon this, you’ll need your chicken coop plans.

Are A DIY Enthusiast With Tools

Building a chicken coop is a cool DIY project. Sure, it’ll take a lot of measuring, basic carpentry know-how, and a lot of elbow grease. Not to mention you’ll need to work a couple of tools. 

But it shouldn’t be a drawback for those who are willing to build something for the first time. It’s good practice. You don’t need to be an engineer to build a hen house.… After all, many non-builders have done it. And so can you! 

Already Have A Coop Plan

“Winging it” is not the way to go when building a coop (1). You need a plan. There are different types of chicken coops out there. But go with the most basic plan if this is your first time. You can always add to your build later on. 

Choose a plan with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. You need a few wood planks, a hammer, and nails to build the simplest coop. Don’t forget that YouTube is your DIY best friend.

Have Access To Salvaged Building Materials

Remember the cabinets and wood panels you tore down during the renovations? You can use them to build your coop—those and other materials you have in your garage.

Building a large DIY chicken coop can cost you the same amount as a small pre-made coop.

To save money, many people decide to buy recycled wood, reclaimed wood, and surplus materials. If you have extra roofing material or pallets leftover from making the deck extension, USE THOSE. If not, go to your local salvage yard or ask your friends. It’s easier on your wallet.

Aren’t Rushed On Time

Trust me. You don’t want to rush a coop build. It’s not good for you or your future chickens. 

Imagine this. You ordered some hens so that you have fresh eggs during the winter. You start building the coop, and there are some setbacks with the build. Your chickens arrive early. The pen’s not ready. NOW, WHAT?

That’s a pretty bad situation, huh? Make it your goal to build in advance. It’s even better to order your chickens AFTER you build your coop. You enjoy the build, and your chickens don’t need to wait for their home.

Learn more: You can buy chicks and adult chickens online. And, yes, they deliver!

Want A Lot Of Customized Features

You probably have a lot of ideas on your Pinterest board. But there’s no coop in the market with all the features you want. Building gives you the opportunity to fit custom automatic coop opening doors, for example.

You have two choices. One, build everything from scratch. Two, buy the coop with the most features and add on the ones you want. Either way, you’ll be building something. But you’ll also end up with your dream coop. Yay! 

Buy a coop if you…

And here are 5 reasons you should straight up buy a chicken coop rather than building one. If you don’t need any more convincing hop on over to our buyer guide covering the best chicken coops now.

Are Not Handy With Tools (or don’t have any tools)

Don’t build a chicken coop if you don’t even know how to hammer a nail. It’s a waste of materials. Not to mention potentially dangerous. (Especially if you want to experiment with power tools.) Try a small birdhouse instead.

Building a coop needs basic building skills. You’re making a small house, after all. There are a bunch of pre-fabricated coops available. A lot of them come with free assembly upon delivery. 

Be sure to watch the people assemble the structure. You’ll need to know how to put it together for repairs later on. Plus, it’s like a crash course on building. They may even teach you how to hammer that nail or drill a screw.

And don’t forget, if you have no tools, the cost of hire + materials might cost you the same amount as buying a coop.

Are A Beginner Chicken Keeper

You’re a new member of the chicken-keeping community. It’s already overwhelming learning about breeds and care. So no one’s going to judge you for buying your first chicken coop instead of building it. A lot of people start like this and learn a lot from it. 

You’ll see what works for you and what you need to change. It’s like buying a house. You choose one, but sometimes you need to renovate or add an extension. Nothing stays the same for long.

Already Have Brooding Chicks

Let’s say you have chickens in your yard that happily roosted in low trees. Everything is fine; then, suddenly, you hear little chirps. Congratulations, you have chicks! 

But wait. It also means you need a coop. ASAP. Luckily, there are small chicken coops you can assemble within a day. Brooding chicks need to move in fast (2).

To give a hen the best chance of raising her chicks successfully, she needs a secure broody coop.

Hens and chicks need a secure space with a warm nook. Remember, baby chicks don’t have a lot of feathers yet. They need constant warmth, not to mention protection from predators.  

Need To Buy All The Materials

It’s better to buy a coop if you don’t have the materials to build one. You might be thinking, “Well, wood planks are cheap.” Sure, but you also have to buy wood treatments, roofing material, coop flooring, etc. Oh, and you’ll need tools. It all depends on how complex your coop plan is. 

Case and point: It’s just as or even more expensive to build a coop. It doesn’t only cost money but also time and effort. Sometimes, paying for convenience is the way to go.

Have The budget

Like we’ve just mentioned, sometimes it’s easier to buy a coop. If you have the money, go for it. 

Chicken coops range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. It all depends on the size, material quality, and features. Bigger pens with lots of features and quality materials, of course, cost more than a basic one.

Final Thoughts

Building or buying a coop is a case-to-case decision. It depends on your ability, budget, and timeframe. Choose what works for you and your chicken’s current needs. But remember that your first chicken coop will change over time.

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the information. Yes, it’s an important decision. But it should also be fun, so enjoy the process!


No, it’s generally not that hard to build a chicken coop. Then again, the difficulty depends on the plan you choose. Chicken coops can be as simple as hammering planks to form four walls and then add a corrugated sheet for the roof. Or it can be complex having two levels with a big run. You’ll also need power tools for more complicated coops. Each coop requires a different skill set. Definitely consider that before building a hen house.

Building a chicken coop costs as little as nothing to thousands of dollars. Yes, you can make a coop for free if you have the tools and use recycled wood and other materials. Of course, you’d also have to do the labor yourself. But it’s possible. It can also cost you a small fortune to make. But that’s only if you’re building for a big flock of 30 or more chickens. That would be a literal chicken house.

When buying a chicken coop, look for features that will make it easier for you to raise chickens.  A lot of people just consider the chickens when choosing a coop. But think about this? Who tends to the needs of the coop and the chickens? It’s not the birds; it’s you. Look for a chicken coop that works for you. Something that comes with an external hatch for collecting eggs. Oh, and one that’s easy to clean. There should be a balance of necessity and practicality when choosing the ideal coop for you.

  1. 10 Big Mistakes First Time Coop Builders Make. Retrieved from:[1].pdf
  2. Caring For A Broody Hen And Her Chicks. Retrieved from:
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