Free plans for building a traditional chicken coop are available at BuildEasy and Down East Thunder Farms. Other options include a portable PVC coop from PVCplans.com and a doghouse chicken coop from Mother Earth News.
Chicken coops provide a safe place out of the weather for chickens and offer space for the hens to lay eggs. Most include some type of fence to allow the chickens room to access to a small run.
A chicken coop also protects the chickens from hawks, dogs and other predators. Depending on the size of the coop, it may have a small door to provide access for chickens and a larger one for humans. The large door allows the owner to gather eggs and clean the coop easily. Some plans allow closing the chickens' access door after they roost for additional protection at night.
Before beginning construction of a chicken coop, owners should check with local building authorities. While many urban communities are updating rules concerning urban chickens, some continue to prevent property owners from keeping them inside the city limits. Local building authorities can help residents determine how the rules apply to their specific situation. The authorities also provide information concerning construction code for building the coop and setback requirements from the property line.