Chris & Olga...

Build a Chicken Coop

Part 1 - The Foundation

The first thing we had to do was select our site. We wanted the chicken coop to get enough sun to keep the chickens happy, but not enough to roast them. We also didn't want it casting a shadow over our garden. This was a spot in our back yard that was not being used to plant vegetables, is on the east side of the yard, and under a tree. It will get afternoon sun and has good drainage so that there will be no standing water near the coop.

After a trip the hardware store, we had the supplies needed to build the foundation. We also scrounged up some mostly used but free wood from family and friends. Since we are going to build a 4' by 8' coop, we bought 18 8" by 16" concrete bricks, and about 5 cubic feet of filler sand (cheaper than playground sand), which cost about $35 total.

The site was full of redwood bark mulch and was not at all level, and had a header board in the way, so we needed to pull out the header board, rake everything up and then level the area out. Since we are going to use filler sand to level out the blocks that make up the foundation, the area didn't need to be perfectly level, but needed to be roughly so. The site has a French drain on it, so I wanted to take advantage of that by gently sloping what will be the inside of the coop towards that drain. There should never be any reason for the inside to be flooded, but in a bad rain storm, we want the water to have an easy way out.

Next I had to measure out and mark what will be the perimeter of the foundation. I used some old surveying flags that we had sitting around. The back of the foundation is 16 inches away from the fence. Although not pictured, I later tied string between the flags to use as a guide when laying the bricks.

I smoothed out an area about 9" wide were the bricks were going to go, then poured out the sand. I wanted the sand to be at least 1" deep so that I had enough material to use to level the bricks. I used a 2x4 and a level to constantly check and make sure that the bricks were level. Especially since we aren't going to attach the coop to the bricks, if the foundation isn't level then the frame is going to wobble. I also made sure that the sand underneath the bricks was level, because uneven sand will cause the bricks to break under the weight of the coop.

After a few hours, the foundation was complete. All of the bricks are level and nicely settled into place. Tomorrow, I'm going to start (and hopefully but doubtfully finish) the framing.

Download the plans for the foundation here: Coming Soon!

Continue on to the framing section: Click here!