Chicken Coop Design

Over the last year, I’ve heard from one of my readers who was going through the process of planning for and building his first coop. He told me that he was an experienced builder of high-end cabinets and wooden boats. Ted asked good questions. Yesterday he sent me photos of his set-up. I was as impressed as I thought I’d be. Ted generously said that I could share his design with you.

The building is a riff on a classic monitor style (there’s an illustration of one from the 1930s here.)

exterior coop


Ted lives on Cape Cod, and this building lets in light and air, but can withstand ocean winds and storms. Because Ted has a storage shed nearby, the entire interior or this 8 x 12 foot coop is used by the chickens. But, it could easily be divided, as I do with my Little Barn. (Plans for my small barn are here.)



Note that Ted has smartly predator-proofed the interior with hardware cloth on the windows.

Even more than the coop, though, I’m impressed with the design of the outside pen. He used greenhouse hoops! Areas can easily be covered with tarps for shade, snow and rain protection, as need be.



Hardware cloth is also used here – it’s longer lasting and more predator-proof than chicken wire. You can see the master builder’s touches in the mahogany jungle gym and swings.

inside pen

It makes my day to see a thoughtfully designed, well-made and spacious coop that is a healthy and happy place for both the hens and owner. Thanks for sharing, Ted!


  1. Terry I agree. Love it when someone does it right.

    Hardware cloth is the way to go. Chicken wire keeps chickens in and nothing out.

  2. NICE! But I have to say that I thought hardware cloth was predator proof as well until a bear ripped through like it wasn’t even there. Also a raccoon has NO problem with tearing through it. I had deep nails holding it down every 2 inches too. My coop is now lined with “unwelcome mats” everywhere!

  3. Of course, hardware cloth is not bear proof. Their little coop would have to look like a prison to make it bear proof! :o) Hardware cloth is easily made racoon/coyote/fox/etc by using 1.5″ screws insered into 1″ washers and fasted through the hardware cloth into solid wood. Done this way, you will have NO PROBLEM securing your little chickies.
    “Homestead Darren”
    Fayetteville, NC

  4. I had to do a Google search for hardware cloth, here it is just called 1/2″ welded mesh wire. This is what we used when we converted coop and old greenhouse into one unit for our girls. Does not look as posh but works perfectly well.
    Also must say Agatha’s new coat is looking splendid, Florence does not seem to have as much white..:)

  5. Bears can go through chicken wire, too. Ask our friends in Maine!

    Beautiful coop, and it looks like the outside enclosure could be easily expanded, yes? I love the swings, and I bet it’s fun to watch the hens on them.

  6. Awesome! Though around here, there’d be a bunch of critters standing in line to set up shop under that building! :D

  7. Do you recommend burying the chicken wire/hardware cloth around the perimeter of the outside pen?

    • Yes…you have to bury the hardware cloth at least 6 ins down and then out away from the structure so any critter that digs(and most all of them do), is unable to gain access to your birds or their feed. I don`t know how one would keep bears out though?

  8. I just need to add that nothing is truly predator proof – especially at night. That’s why I close all windows and lock up that pop door!

  9. Am happy that folks have enjoyed seeing the coop and run.The hardware cloth on the run is buried and extends about a foot out from the structure.A coop of this deign could easily be extended by adding additional greenhouse hoops,which are quite inexpensive.Good suggestion to add some cloth under the coop to prevent critters from getting in there.Thanks for input.

    • Again, thanks for sharing! I’d like to add that you don’t want to put hardware cloth all the way under the run (unless it is more than a foot deep) because the hens need to be able to scratch and dig their pot holes. Hardware cloth can hurt their feet. Also, get the smaller hardware cloth with the smaller squares – hens can get their beaks stuck in the bigger holes and I’ve seen some nasty injuries.

    • I should have added my appreciation for the beautiful craftsman ship work that went into the henhouse, Ted. It really is wonderful!

  10. I love the run area! What a perfect playground for chickens! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Wow, what a beautiful setup! I love the pen. Thank you for sharing this with us. The timing is perfect – I am working on covering my run so my flock can spend more time outdoors in inclement weather. I now have some great ideas on how to do it. Would you mind very much if I ask where Ted purchased the greenhouse hoops? Thank you both!

  12. Kim,I was able to purchase used greenhouse hoops from my next door farm.They were about $10. each.Not sure what your best source should be..there are lots of greenhouse supply sources you might want to look at.The hoops simply slide over 1 inch diameter re-bar that is driven into the ground.It’s the hardware cloth that gives the structure tremendous rigidity.Have fun.

    • Thanks a million for the information, Ted. I do appreciate it. Beautiful work, by the way. Very creative and it looks like you have some very happy chickens. :)

  13. My chickies have asked where their bus ticket is so they can go live there! Nice work, Ted! Fantastic design! I love the furniture in the run and it’s giving me some ideas for maybe re-purposing an old table to make my girls something to play on. :)