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Don’t Buy a Chicken Coop for Sale on Craigslist

Posted by Lexi Montgomery on

Craigslist has it all: from makeup to farm equipment.

For over a decade, they've been the go-to source for reliable and affordable, gently used items. I used to get everything from furniture to jobs on Craigslist. And I even hired the bartenders for my wedding from Craigslist. Heck, I once paid a lady on Craigslist to be our driver for New Year's Eve. 

This one-stop shop is the go-to for many people, still.

Pros of buying on Craigslist:

  • no shipping costs
  • get it same-day or next-day
  • view it in person

I am by no means and anti-Craigslist person. I love that there's a C2C platform that allows you to get things, or get things done, without involving any big companies, government offices, etc. However, it's not the best way to go about getting specific, high priced items like chicken coops. Here's why:

Craigslist is Past its Prime.

Much like MySpace, sites like eBay and Craigslist are past their prime. 

The primary demographic using Criagslist has changed a lot. There's less competition with a lower barrier to entry. What does that mean? Scammers.

You might be on Craigslist, just reaching out to people and checking prices. In an attempt to set an appointment, you might text someone that's posted an ad. Then they send you a message back saying they need to verify that you're real, and you're not trying to scam them.

Before you know it, they've hacked into all your personal accounts through a Craigslist verification text, and you're the victim of fraud. How do I know? This has happened to me on the app twice this year.

It's a pretty creative way to get you to share your personal info, but users will catch on eventually.

As a new homesteader, you might see value in buying a used - and cheaper - coop as opposed to buying a new one. Well, that’s not a good idea and here are a few more reasons why you shouldn’t buy a chicken coop for sale on craigslist:

Your coop may be too small.

A common problem with most chicken coop advertisements, not just on Craigslist, but even on Amazon is that the coop is much smaller than stated in the listing.

I have no idea why because it is so easy to measure the coop, and list those measurements. If the coop has to be shipped, it has to be measured and weighed beforehand. So it doesn't make sense.

However, it’s often the case that the chicken capacity of coops is exaggerated. Typically, you can find an ad that promises enough space for six birds when, in reality, it can comfortably hold three birds.

Then you're left with the decision to either buy another coop or cram your birds into one that's too small, lowering their quality of life.

While it may be physically possible to fit six birds, different birds have different spatial requirements depending on the species, size, and mood of the breed. You may have to work that out before determining the ideal dimensions for your coop.

Poor quality

Aside from the size, the quality of the coop may not be as advertised properly.

Of course, no one is going to say "here's a dirt-cheap coop from China." But you can't make a return if you buy your coop on Craigslist and it doesn't hold up.

Sellers on Craigslist tend to lie about the materials used, knowing that it’ll be late to do anything about it when you finally figure it out.

Often, these coops are made from thin, cheap materials, and look like they’re ready to collapse when shaking them. These do not hold up in a storm, and they're similar to coops you might find in foreign countries. The benefit is that they are cheap to make, so if it's destroyed in a storm they're easy to replace.

With these kinds of coops, the run wires are flimsy and can barely keep predators out. In a nutshell, Craigslist chicken coops (that are homemade) are typically not durable, and you’ll be looking for a new one before you know it.

Poor ventilation

A Craigslist coop may also be poorly designed, given that they aren’t regulated by professional standards.

Poor ventilation is a common flaw, and you may buy a coop that lets in very little fresh air. Sometimes, the issue can be too much ventilation and that becomes a problem as well.

A handmade coop, designed by ordinary, non-expert hands, you may find there are gaps around the coop that also make your chickens vulnerable to predators.

You may not get what you see.

Anyone can make a DIY coop and steal a nice picture from the internet.

This will effectively pull the wool over your eyes, and lead you to think that you're getting something which you're not. Be especially careful if you decide to buy a coop, and it's not fully assembled when you arrive to pick it up.

If they conveniently put your coop in boxes, prior to picking it up, there could be missing or broken pieces.

The coop in the advertisement may look to be of great design and quality, but what you actually get might be another thing altogether. And that’s not the worst part. A return policy doesn’t exist when it comes to sales on Craigslist, so all purchases are final.

You can’t get back your money once a purchase is made. And most likely you'll pay in cash, so there's no disputing the transaction.

You’ll be stuck with whatever you bought, although it might not last more than a couple of weeks.

Buy a chicken coop in-person or hire a pro to make one from scratch.

The best way to buy a chicken coop is from a reputable store, online or in person.

You're going to pay a lot more in person, and you can't read reviews. However, you can examine the quality of the design for yourself and determine whether it fits your needs.

Online advertisements might oversell the product, but there's generally no way around real human reviews. You may not get what you were looking for if you buy your coop used from a third party. Remember, there's a reason why they're selling it!

The good news is, you can approach well-reviewed & trustworthy sellers, and they will almost always have a return policy.

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