A Frame Chicken Coop Tractor

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 06/20/2019 - 11:11
Difficulty
Beginner
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How to build A Frame Chicken Coop - portable and small with built in nesting box and perch. You'll love our easy to follow free plans from Ana-White.com. Builders spend about $100 building this coop.

UPDATE: I have created new, updated plans for this chicken coop here.  

A frame chicken coop
a frame chicken coop inside flipped down door

Scramble made it up the ladder yesterday.

Our girls - French Toast, Sunny, Easy and we hope Scramble is indeed a lady too - have been enjoying this simple, easy to make and portable A Frame style chicken coop for about a month now.

a frame chicken coop plans

Dimensions
a frame chicken coop dimensions
Dimensions are shown above. Suitable for 2-4 Chickens.

Preparation

Shopping List
  • 14 - 2x4s, 8 feet long
  • 1 - sheet 3/4" t1-11
  • 6 total T-Strap hinges
  • 30 feet of 30" wide chicken wire (I used 36" because I couldn't find 30" locally)
  • 2 3/4" exterior self tapping deck screws
  • 1/2" exterior staples for chicken wire
  • scrap plywood piece for floor of upstairs coop and ladder
  • Optional 1x2s for trim out if desired
Cut List
  • 6 - 2x4 @ 64" (Long point measurement, top end cut at 60 degrees off square, bottom end cut at 30 degrees off square)
  • 6 - 2x4 @ 96"
  • 2 - 2x4 @ 64" (Long point measurement, both ends cut at 30 degrees off square)
  • 5 - 2x4 @ 32" (Long point measurement, both ends cut at 30 degrees off square)
  • 4 - pieces t1-11 siding cut into 24" x 48" pieces
  • Optional 1x2 trim
Tools
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Pencil
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill
Circular Saw
Staple Gun
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Instructions

Step 1

Cutting the top angle is going to be a pain - I know - if your miter saw does not cut 60 degree angles. What you will need to do is mark the angles with your square and then cut with a circular saw. Remember, it's 60 degrees off square.

Once you have your rafters cut, then you can simply attach the side support boards. NOTE: I left a 24 1/2" gap for 24" wide t1-11 - you may wish to leave a slightly wider gap for easier access to the upstairs coop - or you can cut your plywood down to fit.

Another trick here is to cover the bottom with chicken wire. These things are always easier done now rather than when you are inside the coop :)

Step 2

Once you have the two walls built, just attach at base with base supports. Then attach tops with countersunk screws.

Step 3

Thes are really going to add a ton of strength to the coop! And make a floor for the upstairs room. Attach from outside with the 2 3/4" exterior screws.

Step 4

Now add the doors. For mine, we used two full doors, but a better idea would be to split the doors into two so accessing the different sections is easier.

NOTE: We trimmed out the doors in 1x3s for added strength and because the hinges we had required it.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Help Improve This Plan

We apologize if there was an error in this plan. Please help us out and report any errors here.

Comments

MTfan

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 10:23

I am in the process of building this a-frame coop and am wondering how to keep the rain from coming into the coop at the top of the doors? HELP PLEASE!

MTfan

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 08:07

I am no stranger to making things. I am more active in the garage than my husband. And yet this A-Frame Coop project was a pain from beginning to end. I do NOT think it should be rated as "Beginner" level.  There are many things left out of the plans that need to be figured out on your own (ie: the floor for the upper level of the coop, ladder, roosting bar, nest box). And then of course there is the water that comes in through the top of the doors. Nobody seems to have a solution for that one. As a matter of fact, after working on this project for over one month, I'm still trying to figure that problem out. 

I would never recommend this coop to anyone. 

jrt

Sun, 09/08/2019 - 10:40

I made this coop about 2 years ago. At the time, I was grateful for Ana providing a free, step-by-step template to build it. I am still grateful to this website for that service; I've built my son's loft bed with a plan from this site. After using this coop design to house a flock of 4 chickens for 2 years, I highly recommend NOT building this coop. Here's my reasons:

1) Though advertised as a "chicken tractor," this design with its numerous 2x4s and thick plywood is far too heavy (> 150 lbs) to mount wheels on a pivot on the bottom. Rolling out the wheels splintered the bottom of the frame when trying this, due to the weight.  Yes, there are "handles" at either end of the coop that two humans can use to lift and shift the coop, but my wife and I found this quite awkward due to the weight.

If you are dedicated to moving the coop, your yard must be especially flat and even to deter predators from sneaking in under gaps between the ground and frame. Your birds will dig from the inside, even as predators dig from the outside After losing 3 birds to predators, I fortified it inside and out with a trench filled with hardware cloth.

2) The A-frame design is compact, which is why I picked it. However, its design makes it difficult to feed and water the chickens, as well as provide grit and shell for their health and digestion. One has to awkwardly lean over and lower in a 30-40 lb water jug, setting it in inside on the floor, on a cinder box (or similar), or suspend it on a heavy-duty chain. I tried several different ways to hang or put in food, water, and nutrients to keep the birds from knocking them over or defecating in them, while still making them easy to swap out. This was particularly challenging in the winter when the water would freeze. Ultimately, I added an exterior run and provide food etc. that way.

3) Chicken use the entire upper compartment as a nesting box. This means that one can't easily reach all the eggs through the egg door, and one has to lower/raise the side door to access the eggs. The A-frame design means one has to awkwardly lean forward into the coop. A rectangular design perpendicular to the ground with smaller compartmentalized nesting boxes would make this process a *lot* easier.

4) The A-frame design makes it difficult to clean up scat, making our chickens vulnerable to worms.

5) The design lacks a roosting bar. There's just not enough room for roosting, ladder, and scat-free food and water and nutrients, plus cleaning.

6) The heavy side doors put too much strain on the small hinges. I've had to move the hinges twice to keep the door from falling off.

7) There's huge leaks on the top of the side doors. I added a metal, W-shaped roofing edge (called a 'valley' at Menards) along the top seam to channel the water off and shield the door seams.

In sum:  You get what you pay for. I'm in the process of building out a new coop and proper run with easier access for feeding, gathering eggs, and cleaning. Ms. White's plan ended up costing ~$200 in 2017 for lumber and hardware. I'm prepared to spend more than double that this time to build it right and keep my investment safe and easier to maintain.