Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicken Coop Fort, Step 2 - Framing the Coop

Chicken Coop Fort
Step 1 - Planning
Step 2 - Framing
Step 3 - Burying the Posts

Once I had an idea of what I wanted my coop/fort to look like I started framing the coop.  I did the framing from the comfort of my garage long before I actually took the project outdoors.  All the materials for this phase of the project were second hand.  I collected materials from old projects and bought a lot of my materials from a local(ish) salvage yard, The Rebuilding Center.

Note: When you are mapping out plans, realize that wood these days is not true to their named dimension.  You can find true dimensional lumber at places like The Rebuilding Center but the standard lumber sold is smaller than its named size.  For example a 2x4 is really 1.5x3.5.  Here is a list of the typical dimensions of lumber and some information on types of wood.


My coop base is made of a 3/4" 5'x4' sheet of plywood attached to 2x4s.  The base was designed to fit inside the long 4'x4's that run up the entire coop/fort.

Where the 4x4 is marked in the corners on the picture below I just left a gap (3.5x3.5) since this frame was going to be attached to the 4x4s once outside.

I'm sorry about the quality of the following picture.  I had pictures of all the framing before it went up outside but somehow lost them.  This is the base of the coop from the underside.  When I built my first coop I had to ask my dad which way to lay the boards.  Just so you know, the plywood or base of your structure goes on the narrow edge of the 2x4's (see the two pictures below).  The thickest part of the board is the strongest so it is the side that supports the structure.

Below is little clearer shot of half of the underside of the base .


 The picture below shows the overhead view specs of the inside of the coop.  The nesting boxes are on the left (east wall).  The front (north) of the coop has a door for me to access the coop and a window.  On the right hand side (west side) is the door for the chickens to enter and exit through.  On the back (south) there is one window.

The thing to realize about framing is that wherever you want a window, door, nesting box or anything special you frame it - make a box around it.  The framing gives you a board to attach your siding, doors, windows et cetera to.  I deviated a little from the blueprints below so the live pictures may not match the blueprints but hopefully this gives you an idea.

I designed it so that the roost would be attached on the 2x4 support that is above the nesting box (east wall) directly across from a 2x4 on the right side (west wall).  Droppings pits are below the roost (obviously). The plans below do not accurately reflect the location of the 2x4 on the west wall.  You have to attach the roost to something more than siding!


Below is a detail of the east side - the side with the nesting boxes.  There is a window above the nesting box.

The nesting box was already put together separate from the framing of the wall.  It fit in between and was attached to the framing. The nesting box lid was made long after the framing.  Note:  Barbie and friends are pissed that the chickens have taken over what used to be their stomping grounds.

This is what the east wall looked like once sided and trimmed.


This is the west side of the coop.  The 16"x16" box to the right is the door for the chickens to come in and out of - with of course a latter attached.

Here is the west wall with the siding, trim and door. 

Here is an even more finished picture to give more clarity.


The door is on the left, the window on the right and I did droppings pits later down the line under the door and window.  

The 2x4 under the window is slanted to accommodate the window which was slanted. I purchases the window already framed from the salvage yard and simply screwed it in to the framing the same way I attached the nesting box. 

I really wish I had a picture of just the siding without the door, droppings pits and trim but for context, this shows what these plans came to.


Below are the specs for the back (south) wall.  I ended up having the window simply go in between the two vertical 2x4s for much easier framing.

Even though this picture is taken from the front, look to the back to see how the back window was framed in between the 2x4's.  I used something like a 1x4 there.  I was working with scraps, really anything that gets the job done will work - a 2x4 for the bottom of the window would have been great too.

Here is the south side realized.  The line in the window is just because I was using scrap wood.  This used to be a bookcase with a groove in it - it is one piece of wood just with an indention in it.

I had to use two pieces of siding for this wall and I attached the two pieces where there was a 2x4 because you have to have something to fasten the siding to - that's what the framing is for!


The 2x4s on top of the walls are laying the opposite way as the coop base 2x4s with the wide side parallel to the ground, not the narrow side.  This way it perfectly attaches to the vertical 2x4s.  The plywood which makes up the roof of the coop was simply nailed (or screwed - I forget and either way is fine) to the top 2x4s.

Note: I did something unconventional when I was framing this so it would be easier to assemble.  I used fence brackets under the framing where the 2x4s attached to the base.  You can see it in the pictures above.  Normally you would just drive a nail in sideways through the 2x4 and base, which I did, but I also fastened the 2x4s to the fence brackets.

If you are actually trying to glean something from this, please, please, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me asking me for clarification on anything that was confusing or any questions you might have. There are NO dumb questions.  Remember I am just a girl who wanted some chickens.  I still don't actually know what I'm doing but it all seems to be turning out just fine.  The only thing holding most of us back is intimidation so don't hesitate, just cut the first board.

I will post more plans on the nesting box, the 4x4 posts and the fort as well as general specs you should know about things like how many nesting boxes you need, how high the roost should be etc.  Stay tuned!

Chicken Coop Fort
Step 1 - Planning
Step 2 - Framing
Step 3 - Burying the Posts


  1. AnonymousMay 17, 2018

    :-( your pictures aren’t loading... have you had this issue before?

  2. Hi Dana, I would like to try to build something similiar to what you did here. You did an amazing job! I would love to see this pics, any chance you can try to reload them.