How to Construct Chicken Ramps & Doors
Chicken coops, a traditional outbuilding on many farms, provide shelter for the flock of egg-laying chickens. While human-sized doors are provided for access to clean, feed and gather eggs, a small door is commonly included for the poultry to use. The door can serve as a ramp to provide access from the outdoor ground level to the indoor floor level of the chicken coop. Poultry keepers with basic tools and skill find the construction of a ramp and door within their ability.
Frame the planned door between the studs of the interior of the chicken coop. Place a 2-by-4-inch board between two studs at the planed top of the door. Add a 2-by-4-inch board on each side of the planned chicken door.
Drill holes from the inside of the chicken coop at the four corners of the intended door. These holes mark the door opening. Use a straight edge to draw a line from hole to hole on the outside.
Cut along the lines to create a door opening. Hold the blade guard in the up position while inserting the blade into the sheathing wood along the line. Advance the saw to the end of the line and repeat on all sides of the door opening.
Cut a piece of 3/4-inch exterior plywood the same size as the door opening. This will serve as the door.
Attach a 2-inch flat hinge to the bottom of the piece of plywood and the wood threshold of the door opening using the hinge's supplied screws. At this point the door will swing up and down on the hinges and serve as a ramp when in the down position.
Attach 1-by-2-inch pieces of lumber to the inside of the door with 1 1/4-inch screws. These pieces serve as treads to provide the chickens with additional traction as they go up the ramp. Place a tread every four to six inches along the ramp. Place the treads so the ends are at least one inch from the edge of the door on both sides.
Place 1-by-2-inch boards around the interior frame of the door. Place the boards 3/4 of an inch from the outside wall. These boards serve as a door jam or door stop when the door is closed.
Attach a latch to the exterior of the door. Cut a 6-inch long piece of 1-by-2-inch piece of lumber. Attach it about one inch above the center of the chicken door with a 3-inch deck screw through the center. The latch pivots on this screw to hold the chicken door and ramp closed.
- The height of the door, which is also the length of the ramp, can be varied to provide a longer surface for the poultry to move up and down to the chicken coop. Width of the door/ramp can be varied but is commonly about 10 inches.
Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.