Friday, July 13, 2012

Cool Coops! - Pallet Coop

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by Rebecca Nickols

Once again, I'm amazed at how clever and creative some chicken keepers are when it comes to constructing their coops. I especially appreciate the coops that repurpose and recycle materials. I've about decided that with a little imagination (and some basic building skills) you can make a coop out of about anything!

This week as I was admiring creative coops on Community Chickens' Pinterest board, I came across a unique coop constructed out of recycled wooden pallets! With the permission of the chicken keeper herself, Shannon Duffy, I thought I'd share this coop with the Community Chicken readers!

"Happy Chickens!" Shannon writes. "They finally have a place to call their own." It took about three (half) days to construct the coop, including one rainy day (which prevented taking any photos during that round of work).

The project cost $245, according to Shannon. "It's completely made from pallets and recycled wood from an old building and playground," she notes. The linoleum flooring was given to her by a friend, and the paint was a mis-tint from Lowe's that cost $5. On the inside, she made the perch ladder with material found at her husband's golf course. A door at one end opens for raking the bedding and cleaning ... and egg collecting!

You think it looks too big? Well, Shannon writes, they have four chickens, and two are silkie bantams, "so they have plenty of room and we can add about two more chickens to the flock! We have added the nesting boxes made from milk crates and the food and water. Whatcha' think?"

Shannon, I think everyone would agree: Your coop is awesome! Thanks for sharing it with our community of chicken fanatics.

You can visit Shannon's website at this link:
Helicopter Studios

Click on the link below for previous entries in the "Cool Coops!" series...

Cool Coops!

Do you have a "Cool Coop" you'd like to share? Email me at:

To view what else is happening at our Southwest Missouri property visit: the garden-roof coop

If you enjoy bird-watching (in addition to chicken-watching), I invite you to "like" my facebook page:


  1. When we first moved here 8 years ago my neighbor has been here for over 30 years and has a small farm with chickens, geese, ducks, goats. As the subdivision grew the town made her fence in the chickens and get rid of the rooster. I LOVED going down to see the fowl. Her geese would summer on our pond and I loved them. She passed away 3 years ago and her farm is gone...but wonderful memories...Michelle

  2. If it is mostly reclaimed/recycled, what did you spend your $245 on?

    I find that no matter how much stuff I have lying around or have scrounged, a coop costs at least $150 in random materials.

  3. Wow ~ what a neat coop! I have a few pallets that aren't being used. I might have to try something like this. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

    Utterly Blessed Farm

  4. It looks interesting and something I might be able to do mainly by myself. Do you tarp the open top area in winter? I live in Tenn and it can get rather cold here at times. I would likely use small-hole hardware cloth to cover openings as we have foxes, badgers, raccoons, possums, neighbor's dogs and such to protrect against.

  5. Wonderful idea, I was wondering too, if with a little winterizing if it would keep them warm as well as cool. We live in Up-state NY.

  6. Wooden pallets, recycled or otherwise, are fumigated with methyl bromide, tribromoanisole, and a number of other nasty chemicals to kill insects and preserve the wood from rotten. While they may seem like an attractive solution for inexpensive materials, they are very bad for chickens and people eating their eggs.

    1. Not always true. (HT) stamps indicate Heat treated pallets; and often you can find untreated oak board pallets as well. Certainly there are varieties treated with chemicals, but they're easy to avoid.

  7. Cute but around here the rats and predators would have a ball with all the gaps in the floors and walls. Hope it works for you.

  8. Hi! Thanks for the article and comments! We only have three chickens in there right now.... They are free range and don't actually lay their eggs in there. They sleep on the roost and that's about it. As for the questions about money, we had to buy the concrete blocks for the bottom and 4x6s that set on the blocks to make the base structure. The pallets were used as the wall, floor and door. We also had to purchase all the hardware and the wood for the top along with the chicken wire and the roof. Throw in some pine shavings and food/water containers and voila' you have about 245 bucks. The questions about winterizing....we use a tarp around the top and sometimes (on very cold days) we use a heat lamp inside. We have three dogs that protect the chickens day and night so we have not had any predator problems (knock on wood)!

  9. This is great. I can see that it can be expanded by adding more pallets to make it a little larger to include a roost area. Our chickens are not free range due to foxes and opposums. They do have a large fenced yard to roam in and we are creating a second area for them. Building a coop would be great. We could let them summer in one area and winter in the other. The yard in the main coop in winter is filled with chickweed for them to eat. The other one will be filled with Kudzu and other plants. They love to eat Kudzu believe it or not.

  10. Thanks Shannon for sharing your coop (and for answering a few questions)! Your chickens are lucky to have such a unique and attractive home :)

  11. Rennaissance man, Where did you heaar this? Pallets aren't treated with anything. Only if the were made of pressure treated wood. But the are only made of hardwood usually.

  12. Do you have any plans for this coop, I would like to build it but would need plans? I have a new flock all young hens and they are in a small chicken tractor now. So what I need is how many pallets and how it was put together? Thanks Ellen from Georgia

  13. Oh, please be very very careful with a heat lamp. I understand that every year here are a multitude of losses from fires caused by heat lamps. I would be especially concerned as it is next to the house. (We had a fire yesterday in one of our spanky newly renovated college rental homes. The fire hardly touched the living areas but was started externally and shot up into the attic. The attic above 5 college boys who were all in their individual bedrooms was ready to blow. A neighbor saw the fire when it first started and called 911. The firemen said 5 more minutes and the entire house would have been gone.

    This is fresh, so I would just encourage you to be careful. One lady I talked with on another forum set a small ceramic heater in a metal cage with mesh small enough that the pine shavings can't get through. The chickens can't get at it. And even if it got knocked over it would cut off.

    I live in northern MN. And we can get 30 below. I know of others who never use heat. The birds acclimate. They were created to do so.

    Just MHO!

    1. I agree the chickens don't need the heat and they acclimate very well. They can actually get sick easier with the heat. People feel sorry for them and heat the coops.How quickly they forget to look at the wild birds and they don't even have a coop to go into.They do need a coop that blocks the wind and you have to watch breeds with tall combs.

  14. @ Renaissance -Please post correct and all information....this is what is said about pallets and what you can look for if you pallet is Heat treated or Chemically treated.

    Phytosanitary Compliance

    Due to the International Plant Protection Convention (abbreviated IPPC), most pallets shipped across national borders must be made of materials that are incapable of being a carrier of invasive species of insects and plant diseases. The standards for these pallets are specified in ISPM 15.

    Pallets made of raw, untreated wood are not compliant with ISPM 15. To be compliant the pallets (or other wood packaging material) must meet debarked standards,[12] and must be treated by either of the following means under the supervision of an approved agency:
    Heat treatment The wood must be heated to achieve a minimum core temperature of 56 °C (132.8 °F) for at least 30 minutes. Pallets treated via this method bear the initials HT near the IPPC logo.
    Chemical fumigation The wood must be fumigated with methyl bromide. Pallets treated via this method bear the initials MB near the IPPC logo. From 19 March 2010 the use of Methyl Bromide as an acceptable treatment according to ISPM15 [13] has now been phased out.

    Treated wood pallets must be stamped on two opposite sides indicating either HT for heat treated or MB for methyl bromide treatment.

    Pallets made of non-wood materials such as steel, aluminum, plastic, or engineered wood products, such as plywood, oriented strand board, or corrugated fiberboard do not need IPPC approval, and are considered to be exempt from ISPM 15 regulations.

  15. @ Renaissance - Imported fruit from the grocery store is also treated with Methyl Bromide. So unless you eat all organic you are eating fruit treated with MB.

  16. That's a great idea. Recycle and's live long and prosper but still, it applies here.

  17. Ok, so you say no heat lamps because we feel sorry for them, well frankly I don't see any wild chickens running around MN and it gets to -30 for about 2-3 weeks in winter. Yes I understand they are 'wild' animals but I think that not giving them a little heat in that weather would be mean also


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