Saltbox Chicken Coop, Run, and Planter

Keeping chickens has recently benefitted from a huge resurgence. It’s not just a farm thing anymore, many people are choosing to raise chickens for eggs and meat in urban and suburban areas too. Recently I was browsing a major retailer’s website for furniture ideas and saw a beautifully designed coop, run and planter, all-in-one! But with retail prices above $1600 before shipping, it’s not a feasible cost for many. So we decided to put our spin on the idea and build it ourselves! This is the perfect coop for an urban space. At only five feet by five feet, it has a small impact on available space. It’s also lightweight enough to move around the yard so you can fertilize different sections and not risk yard burnout. However you could only support about 2-4 chickens at a time if you keep them penned, but if you allow them yard access you could keep a larger flock. We plan on starting small and allowing them out during the day so long as our dogs leave them alone, but if they don’t we can build a larger run off the gated side should we like to keep more hens.

The inspiration for the coop design comes from the classic Saltbox houses of New England. I spent my childhood in Massachusetts and now the style brings back very fond memories. It’s a very easy shape to build too! About 75% of the “upstairs” consists of the coop, with a small section for a planter box. Over the weekend I set in some pickling cucumber seeds, and will be tacking on some chicken wire to the side once they sprout for a green wall trellis. It’s going to be so pretty!

The front of the coop features an open gate for access as well as ventilation. We also included two dowels for roosting.

As for nest access, the roof hinges to allow you to easily harvest the eggs.

We used scraps from the siding and roof to partition off the boxes.

I’m so excited to start seeing some green in the planter, and of course pick up some hens! First I need to whip up a quick ladder from a spare picket so they can get from the run into the coop.

Now for the tutorial. I’ll warn you, it’s one of my more complicated ones. I did my best to take detailed photos and note my cuts, but it may get a bit confusing. Feel free to leave me any questions in the comments or email me. Here we go!

Supply List:

29 thoughts on “Saltbox Chicken Coop, Run, and Planter

  1. Woww the coop turned out amazing! Bookmarking this page so we can, ahem, copy ya’ll once we get settled into our new house!

    1. That’s what the plans are there for! I’d love to see someone build it. The plans aren’t complete quite yet, I’ll have to edit once I figure out the supply list and gate dimensions, as well as cost. Hopefully it will be done by the time you’re ready for them!

  2. So cute! We’re getting chickens (and turkeys) this year too, but I don’t know how to start small, so we’re getting about a dozen laying hens, plus about 30 broilers. So I miss out on the adorable chicken coop.

    1. Oh my! You’re much braver than I. I’d love to hear how it goes! We’re don’t consume much chicken or eggs, but if it goes well we may up the amount and share with my family and neighbors. What kind of hens and turkeys are you getting?

      1. For our meat chickens we’re getting Freedom Rangers. They’re good at free ranging, and unlike the Cornish Cross, they don’t grow so fast that their legs break (ugh). And for turkeys I’m going to raise a heritage breed, the Bourbon reds. I’m going to raise a variety of chickens for eggs. We’re a family of five and we all eat eggs for breakfast every day, plus I bake from scratch a lot.
        We eat a lot of chicken right now, because it’s the cheapest meat to buy. We’re hoping to phase out grocery store meat completely by buying half a cow, raising chickens and next year a hog.

  3. Are you going to be adding a ramp so that the girls can go in and out of the coop and so you can shut the coop up at night? if not, are you going to fortify the bottom of the chicken run so that predators cannot dig under and get in for a tasty chicken dinner?

    1. Amber, we do have the ramp materials ready, we’re just trying to figure out how to get it to pull up from the outside. We don’t plan to bury anything since the coop is portable and we plan to move it around the yard every few weeks. I’m hoping *fingerscrossed* we can teach our dogs that the chickens are pets, not prey. They are on the, uh, bloodthirsty side and enjoy killing coons and rabbits and other “critters”. They would be excellent protectors if I can convince them not to eat the chickens. We’re going to start with grown hens so they’re less defenseless, and will keep an eye on things until we see if the dogs can handle themselves around them.

  4. What an awesome chicken coop!!! I’m sure this would be a VERY popular item for sale at your next event!

  5. It looks amazing!! you guys did such a great job!! I wish we could have chickens so bad!! if they could only survive the mountain winter – I can’t wait to see how it works for you.

    1. Joy you should look into some cold weather breeds. I’ve read a few books, and there are several that do well in cold climates. Brahmas (which are also good winter layers) could be a good choice, plus they’re supposed to be great with kids! It seems you’ll just need to add a heat bulb in the coop for cold nights and you should be good to go!

  6. Thanks for posting! Will you be posting the plans soon? How much time do you estimate it took to build this coop? Beautiful Job!

    1. Um…these ARE the plans! I’m not very skilled in sketchup so I just do step by step photos. You can see my supply and cut list below the “glamor shots”. It took about a day to build, then another day to staple on the chicken wire (which is now covered in hardware cloth as its sturdier). I need to get an accurate cost estimate, but I’m thinking it was around $250 for everything. The chickens love it though! Now if I could just convince them to start laying…

  7. Thanks Brooke! Our babies come in a couple days and I need to decide if we can start tackiling this or give in and buy one….you guys make it look easy, but I am certain a lot of planning and hard work went into this. Best of luck with the egg laying! 🙂

  8. Love this! I think I’m gonna try it. Do you have photos of how you did the ramp? Thank you!

  9. I built this over the last weekend, one thing I found is 24 Picket/plank isnt enough to to the roof too, you may want to add the number of roof planks.

    1. Ah, thank you Brian! I didn’t keep a sharp count while we were building/buying, so I suppose I missed a few. Sorry for the added trip! I’ll add on a few extras to the supply list

  10. Your Materials list does not include how many 2x4s we need to build this coop. Can you tell me how many you bought?

    1. I’m so sorry I left that out Deidra! It’s been over a year since I’ve built it so I don’t recall, but I can revisit my cut and supply lists and make the fixes necessary. My apologies!

  11. I just finished building my own coop, inspired by yours! Thanks for the detailed build views! I wish I could share the photos in this post, so that everyone could see! I’ll contact you privately.

  12. i realize it has been quite a while since you finished this coop…. any chance you have an updated supply list? :)… i am building a coop this winter to prep for chickens next year and would love to build this one!! love the look…. would eventually would love to build two with a run connecting the two 🙂

    1. Hi Christine,
      I don’t have it updated, since I cannot remember where I was “off”. The good thing is the hardware store takes returns if you buy a few extra pickets! I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

      1. totally understand!!!! i have gotten quite a few pallets and may try and tackle building this with pallet wood….hey you can’t beat free right…. depending on how much blood sweat and tears i shed…. ill try and get some pics to you when finished 🙂

  13. We are looking to build our first chicken coop and love this design? Has it been warm enough for your chickens or have you added in a heat lamp of some sort? Also, does the 25 pickets include the 14 others that are listed in the supplies? Thanks!

    1. So far it’s been fine for us in central Texas. I stapled some burlap on the inside of the upper door to help block the wind a bit, but that’s it. There’s still some ventilation in the summer, and during the cold winter nights I throw an old blanket over the door for added insulation. Otherwise, no losses due to cold or heat. I’m sorry that I can’t clarify on the fence pickets, it’s been a few years since I’ve built it and I cannot recall. I’m thinking it’s closer to 40 fence pickets though, if I were to guess based on the coop. You can always return them if you have extra. Sorry for the added trouble! I should have paid more attention during the build and tutorial

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