How to Build Sliding Door for Your Chicken Coop

If you'd like to build a sliding door for your chicken coop, learn how in this post. This chicken-size sliding door opens and closes from the outside of the coop. It's easy to make this DIY coop door with common materials and tools.

A sliding door in the side of a chicken coop.

How to build a sliding door for your chickens

The shed that houses my chickens is quite old. It serves its purpose, but we recently had to replace the people-size door and there's a leak in the roof that needs to be fixed.

It was also time to replace the pop door that the chickens use to move from the coop to the run. 

The old hinged door opened up to the inside. I wanted to replace it with a sliding door that I can open from the outside of the coop. 

I thought "I can make one..." so I scouted out my pile of reclaimed lumber and found a long 1"x4" that just needed to be cut into pieces, and a piece of 1"x12" to use for the door. 

The 1"x12" was a bit too narrow for the existing opening, so I turned it on its side and cut it to the width I needed.

A trip to the hardware store was needed to buy three screw eyes and a hook to hold the rope when the door is open, but the rest of the materials we had on hand.

I procrastinated a bit about using hubby's power saw to cut the boards, but eventually I had to do it or give up. So I did it. And I survived, and still have all my fingers intact.

A gold-colored buff brahma hen exits the chicken coop via the sliding pop door

Materials and tools you'll need to build this sliding door

To build this sliding door for your chicken coop you'll need the following materials and tools.

  • A 1"x12" board that fits the opening to your coop (or cut an opening to fit the board)
  • Scrap pieces of 1"x4" or 1"x3" to hold the door to the coop
  • 3 screw eyes
  • 1 screw hook
  • Clothesline rope
  • A power drill or screwdriver
  • A saw (I used a circular saw)

How to make the sliding door

Mostly I followed the directions on this YouTube video with a few small changes. 

I cut four pieces of the 1"x4" for the side pieces, and just offset the top pieces about half an inch to form the channel.

I also added a bottom piece that overlaps the door a bit so that raccoons can't get their little fingers underneath and push the door up. In other words, the door, when closed, is lower than this bottom piece.

This photo shows the placement of the screw eye hooks and the clothesline that open and shut the chicken coop sliding door.

The cord - a piece of clothesline - goes from the screw eye in the top of the door, up the outside wall of the coop and through another screw eye, then to a third screw eye on the edge of the coop, and finally down to a hook where I've tied a loop to hold the door open.

That brown cloth on top of the chicken run is shade cloth, by the way. It helps my hens stay cooler in the hot summer.

A woman's hand holding the rope that goes through the screw eye hooks to opens and shuts the coop door.

The door slides up and down along a channel made by screwing a 1"x4" on each side of the door, then attaching another piece of 1"x4" that's offset one inch from the first piece. The cord pulls the door up or lowers it.

Sliding door in the open position.

To close the door, I remove the loop of clothesline from the hook and let the door drop down.

When the door is closed, it sits behind the lighter-colored board on the bottom to thwart raccoons and other small predators. They can't get their "fingers" under the bottom of the door and lift it up.

The sliding chicken coop door in the closed position.

Did the chickens like it?

The chickens hardly noticed their new door, but I'm pretty pleased with the results. It slides easily and is fast to raise or lower. 

Even better, I can open this pop door from the outside and let the hens out, then go inside by way of the people-size door and not worry about them trying to escape as I walk in. That's been a problem lately. 

And if I'm late getting outside to shut their little door, and they've already gone to roost, I can lower the door without going inside and disturbing them. 

My hens have been known to run back outside when disturbed or scared, and I have to wrangle them back inside again. 

One evening I even shut a hen out of the coop unknowingly. Yes, shutting the door from the outside is better. I know for sure that they are all inside!

Buff brahma hen standing below the open coop door, ready to hop inside.

I think Betsy is admiring my work. "Not too bad for a newbie," she says.

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Buff-colored hen standing outside the sliding coop door.


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