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Building Chicken Coops For Dummies [Paperback]

by Todd Brock, David Zook, Ludlow
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 9, 2010 0470598964 978-0470598962 1
As the popularity of urban homesteading and sustainable living increases, it’s no wonder you’re in need of trusted, practical guidance on how to properly house the chickens you’re planning (or have already begun) to keep. Building Chicken Coops For Dummies gives you the information you need to build the most cost-efficient, safe, and easy-on-the-eye enclosures for your backyard flock.

This practical guide gives you easy-to-follow and customizable plans for building the backyard chicken coop that works best for you. You’ll get the basic construction know-how and key information you need to design and build a coop tailored to your flock, whether you live in a small city loft, a suburban backyard, or a small rural farm.

  • Includes detailed material lists, instructions, and schematic plans for building a host of different chicken coops
  • Step-by-step guidance on how to build a coop—or design your own
  • Accessible for every level of reader

Whether you’re just beginning to gain an interest in a back-to-basics lifestyle or looking to add more attractive and efficient coops to your current flock‘s digs, Building Chicken Coops For Dummies gives you everything you need to build a winning coop!

Frequently Bought Together

Building Chicken Coops For Dummies + Raising Chickens For Dummies + Chicken Health For Dummies
Price for all three: $37.14

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Build a safe, attractive, and cost-effective enclosure for your backyard flock

Whether you have a small city loft, a suburban backyard, or a rural farm, this friendly guide gives you easy-to-follow and customizable plans for building a backyard chicken coop. You'll get basic construction know-how and key information to design and build a coop that's easy on the eyes and tailored to your flock.

  • Begin with chicken coop basics — determine the necessary features for your coop, add a few amenities, and choose the right location and size

  • Get set to build your chicken coop — figure out the gear and materials you need and get a crash course on basic carpentry skills

  • Dig into coop construction — prepare your coop's site, create your coop's skeleton, and include walls, doors, windows, and a roof

  • Add finishing touches — construct creature comforts for your flock, put together a run, and plug in with basic electricity

  • Check out all kinds of coops — follow materials lists, cut lists, and schematic drawings for five different chicken coops

Open the book and find:

  • The dirt on essential coop-building tools

  • The carpentry skills you'll need to construct like a pro

  • Tips for prepping the coop site

  • Guidance on adding walls, doors, windows, and a roof

  • Pointers on building roosts, nest boxes, ramps, and runs

  • How to add electricity to your coop

  • Helpful schematic drawings

  • Fun ideas to trick out your coop

Learn to:

  • Choose your coop's best location, size, and style

  • Gather the gear and materials you need to build a coop

  • Construct a coop from the ground up

  • Understand materials lists, cut lists, and illustrated plans

About the Author

Todd Brock: Todd Brock has written, directed, and produced more than 1,000 episodes of television programming. His shows on topics ranging from landscaping to home renovations to gardening have been broadcast nationally on major networks including HGTV, DIY Network, and PBS, and locally in one of the country's Top 10 TV markets.
As a freelance writer, Todd has researched and written about everything from mobsters to Pac-Man, and children’s stories to cheeseburgers. He lives in the Atlanta, Georgia, area with his wife, Debbie, and their two daughters, Sydney and Kendall.

Dave Zook: Dave Zook, his wife, Suz, and their four children, Justin, Jordan, Jenika, and Javon, live on several acres in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He is the founder/owner of Horizon Structures, a manufacturer of pre-built storage sheds, garages, horse barns, and chicken coops.
Dave and his family keep a small fl ock of chickens at home in one of his company's coops. He continues to improve the designs and develop new ones based on customer input as well as his family’s experiences with their own backyard fl ock.
Over the past nine years, Horizon's line of chicken coops has proven to be very popular with chicken fanciers — and their hens — throughout the U.S., with coops now in 48 states!

Rob Ludlow: Rob Ludlow, his wife, Emily, and their two beautiful daughters, Alana and April, are the perfect example of the suburban family with a small fl ock of backyard chickens. Like countless others, what started out as a fun hobby raising a few egg-laying machines has almost turned into an addiction.
Originally, Rob started posting his chicken experiences on his hobby Web site,, but after realizing how much his obsession was growing, he decided to concentrate his efforts into a site devoted completely to the subject. Now Rob owns and manages, the largest and fastest-growing community of chicken enthusiasts in the world.
Rob is also the coauthor of the book Raising Chickens For Dummies.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (August 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470598964
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470598962
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons on Carpentry, 5 Detailed Designs September 10, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For <$20 one gets chapters on where to build, how to build, what materials, lots of info on general carpentry and 5 coop plans. It's written by 1) a do-it-yourself writer, 2)an owner of Horizon structures and 3)the co-author of the excellent companion book, 'Raising Chickens For Dummies".

Building a chicken coop is very personal. I've scanned the internet endlessly. There are tons of plans, a few graciously offered freely, but most you have to pay for the so-called schematics. I know what I want in a 'home': 3 chickens, easy clean, well protected-weather and pest, room for me to go inside the run, easy access to nest, cute appearance. Absolutely must contain slideout drip pans for fast cleanout! That's me.

The 5 plans are at different skill levels and needs:
1)the Minimal Coop- box shaped with single, sloping roof, simple hinged door, ~4'X4'X4', no adjoining run, good it states for 4-5 birds. Price tag ~$200 for building supplies. Easy;
2)the Alpine A-frame- 4'wide X 10'long X ~4'tall,, 2 nest boxes, screened run with door, 2-4 birds, looks cute, ~$300, not too hard, but you do have to cut some simple angles;
3)the Urban Tractor- 3'X6' with peaked roof 5', 2-3 birds, 16 sq.ft. run, tow chains to pull around the yard(put wheels on!), ~$400, looks neat and tidy; will take some work to build but totally doable for a novice like me;
4)the All-in-One(my choice & a similar version pictured on the front cover)- 8'X4'X7'tall, 4-6 birds(I prefer 3-4), one can enter the shelter and the run through short doors 3 1/2- 4' tall, 3 boxes, A real sloping roof(shingle it), ~$750 cost, add wheels and removable drip pan, nice doors, a small window, it'll take a few weekends to make unless you're Joe the Builder.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be a Wise Steward of Your Time and Money April 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My husband and I bought this book and built the largest coop (8x8). One would expect plans this detailed to have correct measurements, but unfortunately this is NOT the case. To spend over $1000 on supplies to find that the plans are wrong is painful. My husband caught most of the errors as we built, and there were MANY! Moreover, the design doesn't function! The door was not only wrong in measurement, but in concept as well, and had to be torn apart and redesigned, wasting valuable time. The hatch door that opens to allow gathering eggs from the outside seemed cool, but was also wrong in both measurements and design concept. We have felt like the brunt of a very bad joke and have realized that we were dummies to trust this author; perhaps there was a double meaning in the title. As for all the great reviews, if we had not actually APPLIED the information and built using the design published, we'd have thought it was a great book, too!
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
I found this book to be extremely helpful!

I have scoured the internet and all the chicken books I could find, looking for a book that told me HOW to build a chicken coop. Finally, I found it! I currently have chickens and a small coop. But I want to build a larger, walk in coop. I checked into the costs to have someone build it for me and was shocked! How hard could it be right? Well, armed with this book, you will be well on your way.

It gives you details on how to build everything from a chicken tractor to an A-frame to a walk in coop like I wanted. It offers all the details for the important components of a coop: roosts, nesting boxes, etc. And walks you through important considerations like: What would make the coop easier for you? What about electricity? Water? Location? All the important aspects we need to think about before making that first lumber cut.

Now, I see a few people felt the book had too much carpentry info. Well I disagree. That is preciously what I love about this book! Remember, it is a book for "Dummies" and that means it covers all the BASICS! Being a novice builder myself, I am happy that this book not only tells me what materials I need, why I need them, how they should be used, but it also tells me exactly HOW TO build the coop. And that for me is golden!

Building Chicken Coops for Dummies is a great book for anyone thinking of constructing a home for their flock. It is thorough, well written and provides the confidence to tackle this project on your own. I highly recommend it.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not All It's Cracked Up to Be August 27, 2011
I thought this book would be great-- I only have a few basic carpentry skills so I would consider myself a "Dummie" when it comes to building chicken coops. We decided to build the Alpine A-Frame, and found the directions to be awful. Pictures weren't clear, measurements were off, and the actual instructions were complicated and unclear and difficult- certainly not fit for a novice builder.
What irritated me was that the whole point was to be easy, obviously easy enough for a "dummie" , and was supposed to take "a few days". Well after about two months we finally have it done, but it wasn't easy. I would not reccomend this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good June 6, 2011
My neighbor was nice enough to give me this book. I built the largest all-in-one. The measurements are correct, but you have to measure twice cut once. I saw a bad review on this coop plan. It does have its failings, but all in all it works really well and is in my yard. The issue with the egg door is the design of the wall not the door. The wall for the door does not give you all the measurements. I checked the door and the wall and it all fit together. I did have to check more things than I wanted. It was really good on the amount of lumber and cut sheet except for the 1x3s. I needed twice as much, but triple to do the trim like I wanted. At the end of the day, the framing was easy, the rafters were hard, the skinning was easy, and it gave me lots of help on how to keep the barn working inside. Had to dock a star for making me think so hard, but everyone who sees the pictures of my coop online are in shock at how great it turned out.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource
As I approached the entire backyard chicken project, research was key in doing it right. I kept searching for one source that would describe, in detail, the construction and... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Busy Mom
4.0 out of 5 stars Building Chicken Coops For Dummies
I choose this rating because it's a good book and I'd recommend it. I would have given it a 5 star if it would have gone into more detail about ventilation and nesting box heights. Read more
Published 1 month ago by michael mcbratney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
This book was excellent. It gives you a very detailed list of materials and how to build the coop. A must have for all chicken owners.
Published 1 month ago by Rachel Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars very informitive
Using plans to build an all in one coop, i will modify the plans to have nestin box external on back of coop.
Published 1 month ago by Nickswoodcraft
5.0 out of 5 stars For the backyard farmer
When I was thinking of starting my own "chicken ranch" I purchased this book to find out more about how to house and protect the birds. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robert J. Heston
4.0 out of 5 stars Let's get started~
I have room on my one acre property and agreeable neighbors. I have a farm friend who will sell me a couple of layers - so let's get building! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Teresa Larsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Good general information on building small structures specifically...
Good place to start if you’re looking for general information. The book includes plans for several coops which is a big plus.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Maybe Dummies Should Not Build Chicken Coops!!
This one is okay for the price. There are other texts available with color photos and many structural styles. It is a good starter reference.
Published 4 months ago by R. Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars How to build a chicken house
Excellent step by step instructions. If you can read, you can build... period. Recommend this book for anyone wanting to do a chicken project.
Published 5 months ago by Steven L. Norris
The book is very informative and an easy read. I would have given it 5 stars had there been a few more plans for coops. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tommy D
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