Our Frequently Asked Questions

I see many chicken coop plans online and many for free. Why buy yours?

There are several very good reasons to buy SimpleCoops plans instead of the others:

You are not just buying plans, but a comprehensive, 43-page illustrated step by step guide to building a safe and secure home for your chickens. We provide additional information, resources and e-mail support . Don't forget we also include the bonus materials cut-sheet eBook that provides cutting patterns for all of your lumber to ensure you have the least wastage and that your materials costs are as little as possible.

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How should I paint my new Compact Chicken Chalet?

Whatever way you wish! But do paint it. Raw wood will not last well out in the elements and paint primarily protects the wood and secondarily looks great. Feel free to decorate and you can use any exterior grade wood paint. You do not need to paint the interior, but if you do check to make sure the paint you use is non-toxic to chickens.

The painting part of your project is an excellent phase to get other members of your family involved. Kids love to paint and if you remove the window first they can't really mess it up - cut them loose to be as creative as they like!. You can always do the final coat yourself to make it look presentable.

Since you don't need a lot of paint, often you can find free or very cheap paint left over from other peoples' projects. Find your local Habitat For Humanity or FreeCycle.com or equivalent community website and ask if anyone has paint leftovers they don't need. You may be surprised to find how much you can save on paint!

How long will it take to build my Compact Chicken Chalet? Will I need someone to help?

Once you have your materials ready and cut to size (as indicated in the Cutting Diagrams) it should take a solid day to complete the project. Some folks build faster than others, so if you like to enjoy the moment and take your time, then a weekend should be a comfortable timeline for you. Painting can be a quick spray job or a work of art - allow time accordingly :)

Site prep can be quick and simple if on level ground. If your location is uneven or sloping then you'll need more time to set that up (instructions provided). In that case allow additional time. Likewise, if you decide to build a chicken run attached to your Compact Chicken Chalet, allow time for that project. That could be a simple fenced area or an elaborate aviary, depending on your plans and needs, and obviously the time required to build that aspect will vary accordingly.

The Compact Chicken Chalet is designed to be built by one person, but a second set of hands can make the project go faster. For one person you should build the coop on the foundation in the site you intend for it to stay. If you build elsewhere and intend moving it to it's final location (such as if you build in a workshop and then move it to the prepped site) then you'll need an additional set of hands (or more - the more the better) to move it into place.

Can I use recycled materials?

Absolutely! Whether you use new or recycled materials to build, if you follow the easy plans the end result should be pretty much the same - a comfortable, safe and secure home for your flock. In fact many customers, for instance, have use a recycled window for their coop instead of making one as shown in the plans. Recycled decking lumber and roofing materials are also common modifications. Our plans are designed to be easily customized to suit preferences and needs, so most changes are easily accommodated to produce the same great results.

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How do I know my chickens will like and use a Compact Chicken Chalet?

That's a great question, because you don't want to invest so much money, time and effort into a coop your chickens don't want to use. The good news is that chickens love our Compact Chicken Chalet because it was designed from the start for them to love it. They love it because it's safe, secure, cozy, provides high roosting, has the correct size nesting boxes preferred by chickens and has no drafts.

Chickens like to sleep up high and without a coop they like they'll seek out trees and high places in garages and sheds. We designed elevation into the coop and further height inside to provide chickens with the sense of a secure sleeping location they seek.

Chickens need a warm cozy nest to lay in, one that protects them on three sides, makes them feel secure while laying or brooding, but allows enough room to maneuver and turn around in. Our nesting boxes are designed to meet those needs and have proven very popular with hundreds of productive chickens. In the absence of well-designed nesting boxes you'll find eggs laid on the coop floor, or in your garden or shed, or in your straw supply, etc. Hens have to lay their egg, and in the absence of a suitable nesting box they will seek out locations that meet their needs. If they can't find such a location the poor hen will simply lay their egg on the ground. These rogue eggs attract predators and can quickly give otherwise hen-friendly pets and domestic animals a taste for fresh eggs - not good at all. Eventually those stressed-out hens will simply cease laying. Good nesting box design is critical to happy and productive layers.

After ten years of use and sales we have yet to hear from any customer who's hens didn't love their new Compact Chicken Chalet.

How easy is it to clean?

The Compact Chicken Chalet was designed to be easily cleaned. The primary roost is built into a removable tray so that most of the chicken "fertilizer" can be easily removed out of the rear top hatch provided for this purpose. Chickens poop mostly when roosting, so the collection tray is designed to catch most of that to make cleaning out a snap.

Thereafter the main compartment is accessed through a large door that provides clear human-sized access to the floor, with no lip or obstacle to sweeping out old straw and bedding. The nesting boxes can be accessed though the large lower rear door for easy egg collection and cleaning. With a couple of flakes of clean straw to-hand, cleaning out the coop will take about 20-30 minutes.

Don't forget to use that valuable fertilizer your hens provide in your veggie garden, or sell it to local organic farmers. You may be surprised how valuable chicken poop can be !  :)

How secure will my chickens be from predators?

Our Compact Chicken Chalet was designed with predator prevention as a top priority. It is an elevated solid structure with no access for critters once locked up for the night. We recommend tacking wire cloth over the eaves vents and once that's done the coop's pretty much preadator proof.

A few years ago we moved and took our Compact Chicken Chalet and flock of 15 hens with us. The property we moved to already had a pre-manufactured coop and chicken run on-site and we added our old faithful Compact Chicken Chalet to the opposite end of the run. Shortly after we moved in the coops were raided by raccoons and we lost nine hens in the existing coop, but the lucky six in our Compact Chicken Chalet were safe and sound. We built a second Compact Chicken Chalet and rebuilt our flock. Thereafter the raccoons were thwarted and out of luck.

Do I need to insulate my Compact Chicken Chalet?

That depends on your location. The Compact Chicken Chalet is designed to be fully enclosed with venting eaves to eliminate drafts (which can be really bad for chickens), insulate against winter cold and reduce heat build-up in the summer. We're located in the Sierra Nevada mountains in N. California where we can have hot summers and cold winters, and for ten years our Compact Chicken Chalets have kept our chickens safe and sound through all sorts of storms and adverse weather conditions.

In harsher climates you can certainly and easily add household insulation. The interior studs provide excellent pockets to pad with insullation and then cover with an inexpensive material such as hardboard to contain the insullation material and prevent your chickens from pecking at it.

You can also add a heat lamp in the winter and a domestic roof vent if you have hot summers and your coop is not shaded. The Compact Chicken Chalet is designed to have the chickens roost high above the nesting boxes, and there is ample headroom to mount a heat lamp above the roost..

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Do I need to provide water and feed inside the coop?

No, not at all. For mature laying hens they will not need water or feed overnight as long as you maintain clean food and water in the chicken run or yard during the day. The chickens will return to your coop at dusk to sleep and all dash out to the feeder in the morning when you let them out again.

For chicks, however, you need to maintain food and water at all times, night and day. A portable chicken waterer and feeder, available in any chicken supply store, will work well inside the coop.

If, for some reason, you must contain your chickens in the coop during the day, make sure that they at least have water and, if possible, feed. Chickens can dehydrate quickly and must have daily access to clean water.

How many chickens will fit in my Compact Chicken Chalet?

Chickens come in many sizes, but for tyical "average" hen size, such as Rhode Island Reds, the coop will fit 8-10 comfortably. For smaller breeds, such as Silkies, you can keep 10-12 hens without issue. We recommend a second roost bar for a full house of hens so that there's less competition for the prime roosting spaces. 

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Can I keep a mix of different fowl in my Compact Chicken Chalet?

This question has no bearing on the coop design or structure but relates more to what types of fowl get along together in the same yard. 

In our experience we have kept chickens and guinea hens together without issues (as long as they are all guinea hens - guinea cocks are very dominant and will harass your chickens). Guinea hens are terrific guard animals and will sound a loud alarm at any disturbance or threat. They are a great alert to predators trying to get into your chicken enclosure. We know of peafowl kept with chickens, but requiring separate sleeping quarters.

Typically all chicken varieties will get along together. If you intend to keep a rooster for protecting your hens or for producing chicks, try to keep it to one rooster per colony. They tend to fight it out until one establishes themselves at the top of the pecking order.

Check with your local feed store and/or chicken supplier about what species can get along with what. They usually know best.

Can I keep other birds/fowl in a Compact Chicken Chalet?

Absolutely! While the Compact Chicken Chalet was specifically designed for laying hens, it is a suitable accommodation for other fowl such as guinea hens. We have even had customers adapt their Compact Chicken Chalet for peacocks and peahens. You may, of course, have to adjust the size of the entrance hatch to suit your tenants.

If considering the Compact Chicken Chalet for ducks, you may need to lower the height of the coop legs as ducks do not like climbing ramps to enter/exit their enclosures.

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I see other coop plans online for $14.95, can I buy yours for the same price?

No, sorry, we price ours to provide excellent value and the price is in keeping with the additional information, instructions and building support you get with our plans that set them apart from others. We have had many customers buy our plans after having bought and become frustrated with other cheaper plans. They wished they had purchased ours first and saved themselves the additional expense and frustration of the other lesser products. 

That's not to say all other chicken coop plans are poor quality or inferior to ours. We just priced ours to represent great value and provide a good and rewarding experience for the builder. Many many man-hours went into our design, testing and documentation to ensure that the project can be completed by the average DIY-er and produce a successful coop that will keep their hens safe, secure and productive for many years to come.

We believe in our product and the value it represents at it's price.

Can I share my eBooks with others?

No, you cannot print, copy or distribute the eBook files for anyone else. You purchased a single-user license that precludes you from sharing or selling the Compact Chicken Chalet Plans to others.

We trust you will find our plans, manual, illustrated step-by-step instructions and cutting diagrams very useful and well worth the cost. By all means share that knowledge and enthusiasm with others, but encourage them to purchase their own copy of the plans. That's how we maintain our business, continue to innovate and create additional plans, and can support our customers by answering questions and comments.

Can I print a hard copy of my eBook?

Absolutely! You can print a paper copy for yourself to have to-hand. Printing out materials lists and/or cutting diagrams can be very helpful when buying lumber and supplies.

However, you cannot print additional copies for anyone else, nor can you copy and/or distribute the eBook files for anyone else. You purchased a single-user license that precludes you from sharing or selling the Compact Chicken Chalet Plans to others.

We trust you will find our plans, manual, illustrated step-by-step instructions and cutting diagrams very useful and well worth the cost. By all means share that knowledge and enthusiasm with others, but encourage them to purchase their own copy of the plans. That's how we maintain our business, continue to innovate and create additional plans, and can support our customers by answering questions and comments.

Thank you for your business and support - we really do appreciate you.

I downloaded the eBook, now what do I do?

Simply double-click on the downloaded file to unzip it to a suitable location, and then double-click the eBook files.

Chances are your computer has the utility needed to unzip a file to extract the two eBooks, and most recent operating systems have unzipping capabilities baked in to their features. A quick search on a safe and secure downloading site such as CNet's www.download.com will provide you with many free and pay-for applications to unzip the file.

Once unzipped, double-clicking either eBook should open it for reading. They are provided in PDF format which is viewable by many applications. In the unlikely event that you don't already have a PDF viewer, go to www.download.com where a quick search will find you a suitable utility to view your Compact Chicken Chalet eBooks.

How can I buy your Compact Chicken Chalet Plans and Step by Step Building Instructions eBook?

It's easy. Simply click on the "Add To Bag" button beneath the product listing and you'll be taken to our secure online store where you can purchase your eBook via credit card or PayPal account. Once you purchase you'll be instantly e-mailed a link to download your eBook and you're done. You could be planning and building within minutes!

If you'd like to see more about or eBook and some sample pages, simply click on the product image. You can click the "Add to Bag" button at any time to purchase and download the eBook.