The Boris Bally Chicken Coop

By khoffman · Feb 7, 2012 ·
  1. khoffman
    This coop is the product of my overactive imagination and my husband's great sportsmanship-- or shall I say a willingness to design what I imagine-- ha ha! While we had a perfectly good coop Boise, ID, we decided to move (along with our 9 hens) to Portland, OR. (You can ask me how pleasant my car smelled after the trip later!) I wanted to design a coop that would fit well with the industrial modern home we were remodeling -- I also wanted it to be low maintenance for those rainy Portland days.... enter Boris Bally. If you are not familiar with Bally's work, he takes old road signs and makes them into usable household objects like chairs, platters, etc. I really like his work so I decided to obtain some metal road signs and reclaimed windows from the local recycling yard for my coop. The coop is not huge as I believe that hens should be allowed to free range during the day and should only be cooped at night if possible.

    Here's a picture of the front of the coop-- the window is a bathroom window with that kind of textured glass, which is ideal for this project bc you can't see if it's dirty. (HINT-- I knew from my first coop that windows are great until about the 5th week-- they DO get dirty and who wants to spend their days scrubbing noticeable poo off of windows?)

    Inside this door, which lifts UP, there are three next boxes... In all actuality, you don't need three next boxes. Two will do the trick. In fact all of my hens share one, but they have access to three. I am thinking about using the third one for an in-house water-er. The next boxes are filled with shredded paper, which I use instead of straw for nesting material. I like it bc it's free and I can readily compost it when I am finished. I am not overly concerned (although I have been asked by some) if the shredded paper is printed with only vegetable or soy based inks... I am just not that pure or that green -- give me time, PDX-- I will come around maybe! ;--) I also the shredded paper for the bottom of the coop to make cleaning easier. (HINT: poo that sticks to paper or some other material is better than poo that sticks to the floor)

    The side of our coop has a door that opens to the side. We can use this to let the chickens out or to clean the coop out-- the height of the coop makes it super easy to clean out with the flat bottom of a garden hoe-- in (poof) 5 minutes! :)
    The food and other items can be slid underneath for dry keeping, which is key in Portland. The "Entering Ada County" is homage to our hometown. Some people think we should change the "Way One Way" to "Lay One Way"


    The final picture shows the ramp entry / exit that the hens use to get in and out of the coop. I am still rigging up a mechanism to make it so that I can open it from my back patio which is about 20' above-- that would be nice on those cold mornings.(and you guessed it-- I am way to cheap to pay for an auto door opener although I have heard they exist!) All in all, I am very happy with how the coop turned out-- it was VERY cost effective and super fun to build, plus there is really no maintenance.


    As I write this post, my chickens are perched happily in their new home and I am still living at my inlaws' home (see the great lengths chicken lovers are willing to go for their hens!?) This is in part bc the chicken's house was easier to finish than our house-- we are moving into our house soon though! I'll post some more pics of the girls and their nest boxes soon! Hope you had fun reading about our project!

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  1. cblakley0531
    I'm totally loving the road signs!!!
  2. khoffman
    Hi Kim- I got the signs at the local steel recycling business-- they cost about $100 in total which was as cheap or cheaper than siding, esp considering the Portland rain. :)
  3. KimSp8
    love it! where'd you get the signs from?
  4. Vigilanteherbalist
    Very unique and clever design!
  5. judyki2004
    I like it! Very eye catching, would love to see a photo of the interior and of course of the hens!

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