We’ve all been feeling cooped up lately. For some people, this means spending all day tweeting, but at our reuse store, EcoBuilding Bargains, customers have been crowing over materials to build chicken coops! Raising chickens is a great way to get fresh eggs, teach children about where our food comes from, and become involved in the local food movement.

In addition to composting, you can also feed your chickens some table scraps if you find yourself producing an excess of organics waste. These include things like fruits, grains, and vegetables, though nothing moldy or rotten.

If you’re interested in keeping chickens, try building your coop from reclaimed materials! Don’t know where to start? Don’t get your feathers ruffled! Our Customer Solutions Specialist, Khrysti Smyth Barry, also known as “The Chickeness” from Yardbirds Backyard Chickens, has put together a list of some of the most common materials used to build chicken coops:

  1. Hardware cloth: ideally with ½” openings
    1. note:“chicken wire”, “poultry netting”, or any wire fencing with openings larger than ½” are NOT pest or predator proof
  2. Dimensional Lumber: especially 2x4s, 2x3s, 2x2s, 4x4s, and plywood as well as 2x10s or 2x12s to use as a ramp
  3. Siding: T1-11, shingles, or other
  4. Roofing materials: especially asphalt shingles or corrugated plastic panels (plus associated hardware)
  5. Paving stones and/or cinder blocks to raise the frame off the ground a few inches
  6. Windows: likely smaller sizes, or even just use the sash with a DIY frame
  7. Doors: you can use a door cut in half as walls for the coop/house, a full door or screen door for the run, and a flat-sided hollow-core door as the floor of your coop!
  8. Topsoil and/or “play” sand for the run
  9. Miscellaneous hardware: hinges/latches/door pulls, wood or decking screws (2.5”-3”), 1” self-drilling lath screws (to attach the hardware cloth to the framed walls of the run)
  10. Miscellaneous maintenance supplies: paint scrapers (5-in-1s are my favorite coop tool), small rakes and shovels, large dustpans, medium to large plastic trash cans with lids, rolls of drop cloth plastic for winterizing, PVC pipe for DIY feeders/waterers, etc.


Khrysti used a door and reclaimed hardware to build her current coop, including hinges and door latches she bought from EcoBuilding Bargains! She was also able to incorporate reclaimed single pane windows and reclaimed lumber leftover from a neighbor’s construction project.

chicken coop constructed of reclaimed materials

This coop is weatherized for winter!

Get creative with your coop and consider how you can incorporate reclaimed materials! This helps keep useful products out of the landfill and makes your building projects more sustainable and affordable (or as the chickens like to say “cheep!”).

EcoBuilding Bargains has moved to virtual shopping appointments and contact-free pick up! We’re excited to be able to help you find exactly what you need from the comfort and safety of your own home. You can call 413.788.6900 or email EcoBuildingBargains@cetonline.org to set up an appointment today.

This Sunday, April 26th, 2020, Khrysti is hosting a 101 class on Zoom at 3pm EST covering everything you need to know about coop design and placement, care and maintenance, breeds, and more. Register today! For more information on building chicken coops or to get help designing your own, check out Khrysti’s blog or reach out to her though her  website.

Khrysti with her chicken ambassador Dee Dee!